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The Rise of Digital: Why Endurance Events Should Use a Virtual Goody Bag

There have been a slew of interesting articles and research published recently regarding the incredible growth and transformation of online marketing. Event Directors of endurance events are beginning to react to the rise of digital by not only promoting their events online but also incorporating digital opportunities for their sponsors.

According to Forrester Research, people now spend more time on the Internet than any other media except TV. The team at Virtual Race Bags believes that endurance athletes spend even more time on the Internet than the average American because they i) are highly educated, ii) often have high disposable income and iii) tend to be digitally savvy.

It is therefore no surprise that Forrester also projects online advertising spending to grow 17% annually for the next five years. By 2016, spending online will represent 35% of all advertising. Given our personal daily involvement with the Internet, this growth in online advertising is no surprise. What may be surprising, however, is the growth in display advertising.

Google recently published a survey on the effectiveness of banner ads. They found that the average click thru rate (CTR) was a paltry 0.1%. This means that for every 1,000 people to see a banner ad, only ONE person clicks on the ad. So why the continued growth in “display” advertising? Enter Google again with “attribution.”

In a research report published earlier this year, Forrester indicated that nearly half of all ecommerce sales came after consumers interacted with two or more marketing touch points. Just a few weeks ago, Internet Retailer reported that Google had enhanced its Google Analytics platform to include the full digital path a shopper takes before completing a purchase, which is called attribution. This means marketers can now see all of the ads that influenced a shopper preceding a sale.

The aggressive growth of Internet usage and the increased visibility for marketers of the entire life cycle of a consumer’s purchase have encouraged even Consumer Packaged Goods companies (CPG) to significantly increase their spend online. A recent article in Direct Marketing News indicates that CPG companies, which spend billions on marketing every year, are aggressively moving into digital in order to keep up with the growth in ecommerce.

So why is all of this important to endurance events? After all, the Event Director’s “product” takes place in the “real world!” Events need sponsors (and their sponsorship dollars) to produce a quality event and the key to growing sponsorship dollars is to provide them with a measurable return on their investment. Providing an interactive component to the event will significantly improve the ability of the sponsors and advertisers to engage with your participants.

Some events have attempted to fill this interactive need by creating an in-house “virtual goodie bag” on their website or via email, but these efforts rarely deliver for sponsors because they i) do not offer rich media, ii) provide little-to-no performance tracking and iii) are poorly designed.

A dedicated virtual goodie bag platform, like Virtual Race Bags, will enable Event Directors to offer a robust, cutting-edge online offering, which can easily be monetized by providing existing sponsors a new value-added component to the sponsorship package and by appealing to new sponsors and advertisers that have traditionally not been active with endurance events.

The digital goodie bag platform of Virtual Race Bags can even help Event Directors drive participant engagement with expo vendors and race-day sponsors through a variety of creative programs. Sponsors get the added benefit of capturing performance and demographic metrics that result from these unique opportunities.

Some of our clients worry about the time commitment required to execute a quality virtual goodie bag program. Utilizing a dedicated third party platform, like Virtual Race Bags, will actually create time for thinly staffed teams because we manage the entire creative process from beginning to end.

Lastly, a virtual goodie bag will facilitate the endurance industry’s efforts to produce events that are more “green” by eliminating paper waste from traditional goodie bags and, where appropriate, even the bag itself!

If you are an Event Director, you should view a virtual goodie bag as you view online registration, a critical component that will soon become part of every event in the country. Therefore, choose your partner your wisely!

To learn more about the industry leading virtual goodie bag platform from Virtual Race Bags, please contact us today for a live demo.

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