John Kent, Director of US Partnerships for Let’s Do This, travelled from San Francisco to Denver for the recent Halposium to talk about the changing landscape of event marketing. His talk proved a hit with the audience so we asked him to write us a post about what they DO!
For some reason, tech companies find it hard to explain in plain English what exactly they do. So when Lonnie invited me to his recent event with Hal Sports, it was a great chance to explain it in person. When we were then asked to post here, I jumped at the chance!
So what is Let’s Do This?
We are a marketing platform that race directors pay only when we sell registrations for them.
Here’s what that actually means: race directors list their races with us for no upfront cost. We then market these races through our different channels, and charge a commission on any registration that originates on Let’s Do This. Because race directors bear large fixed costs (venue, equipment, website etc) but small marginal costs per runner (medal, t-shirt, cups etc), each additional registration we send a race goes almost entirely to their bottom line.
A simple way of looking at our platform is as an alternative marketing channel to Facebook. There’s one key similarity: you can measure both cost and return on investment of the marketing through both channels. But it’s worth noting the 2 key differences.
- On Facebook, you pay upfront – that’s a risk! There is no guarantee of returns, and effectiveness varies massively over time.
- Think of the time cost – Facebook becomes more complicated every day, and is a real killer for many race directors with full time jobs. Some can hire additional marketing staff, but that’s not always ideal!
We’ve taken away that risk, and saved race directors time, with our zero-risk model. With this, we have seen some of our partner events grow by up to 25%. We would love to show this sort of value to the Hal Sports partners. We love the way Ryan Dawkins, founder of Mascot Sports, puts it:
“Let’s Do This has carved out a nice niche in the endurance marketing space. They’re great to work with, and their model doesn’t require us to alter our marketing spend; it complements our programmes by adding more fuel to the fire.”
So how do we get to the runners?
Core behind all we do is bringing participants that races would not otherwise have had. So avoiding any marketing crossover is super important to what we do. We therefore focus on what we call “low-intent” traffic.That means we don’t target runners who know exactly which race they want to run. Race directors will get these customers without our help! But we do target runners who know only that they want to run “a half marathon in Colorado next spring” – pretty vague, and open to recommendations! That’s why our homepage has a structured search designed for runners who don’t yet know which event they want to enter, and our landing pages let users find events through an intuitive map view.
We focus on this low-intent traffic for 3 reasons:
- Why would a race director continue to use us if we’re simply sending them the same people who take part in their events year after year!?
- We’ve seen that if our marketing overlaps with the race’s, we are far more likely to lose out. About 80% of runners who find a race through Let’s Do This go and sign up direct on the race’s website. If we’re marketing to the same runners as the race director, we lose out on even more commissions.
- Our aim is to grow the entire industry by hitting those who don’t realize they’ll love it! Those running 3 times a week but not doing races; millennials going to Soul Cycle instead of racing (look it up – $35 a class anyone!?); and of course those folks too intimidated to race because they worry it’s too elite – these are the groups we’re reaching out to.
Finally, a quick word on what we are not:
- We are not a traditional marketing agency
Races pay marketing agencies upfront and work intensively with them to boost brand exposure. In a world of Conversion Rates and Cost Per Acquisition, traditional brand marketing still has a place, even if measuring ROI is often impossible. But it isn’t scalable, and it’s not us.
- We are not a registration service.
Events.com and others have built awesome registration products, which do exactly what the race director needs! We met Steve from Events.com at the Halposium, and completely agree that it’s all about making entry more seamless for the participant – we are working with these guys to make this happen!
It’s been a pleasure working with Lonnie for over six months now, and delivering registrants to his events. We love his style, and are really excited to have the opportunity to be part of this. If you have any questions, or enquiries you’d like to make directly, please feel free to reach out to me directly