After just completing the 2016 Sani2c I've had a bit of time to reflect on this year's ride, ignoring all the aches and pains of three days in the saddle. I look in awe at what the organisers have put together over the last 12 years which includes unwavering dedication and focus that brands, marketers, sales teams and media people should identify with and relate back to their own areas of expertise.
Across all the various divisions that came together to create the end product of the Sani2c, all are totally focused on one shared vision; to give participants the ride of their life.
This manifests itself into a number of areas from race registration to the accommodation, food preparation and much more. The event comes together through collaboration and the cohesion between the community of landowners, farmers, local villagers, family and friends to ensure an experience seldom seen or experience these days. They are all too aware that the better the experience for the riders, the more likely that the event will be spoken about for months after. The riders themselves become the real advocates for the race, not the race itself. This holds true in any business as it stands to reason that the better the experience by your customers the better your business will do.
Also, the ride would be nothing without the unwavering support of the existing riders as well as all the new riders that have managed to get into the race. Although the event takes place in May, entries for the following year open in June and all the riders that have done the event before are given first option to renew. For most of us it's not even a discussion about renewal, it's about where we're going to find the money to participate. In August the entries are opened to the public and there is a mad dash to secure a place. I stand to be corrected but these additional entries are filled up within the day. Bringing it back to marketing terms, your existing customers need to remain a core focus for your business and others will jump at the opportunity to work with you.
Although in plain terms this is just another MTB Race, it means so much more to the community the race applies to. For me it's summed up best in its Mission Statement:
- To responsibly organise a multi-day, paired mountain bike event that attracts the interest of both local and international competitors. We aim to bring the challenge of this multi-disciplined event within reasonable reach of all levels of athlete.
- Through associated sponsorship and media interest, we aim to promote employment through tourism and conservation of this area for the benefit of its people and the event. By co-involvement of the local communities, we strive towards creating jobs where local worthy organisations are paid by the event to provide services to the event and thereby raise funds for the organisation. The event will strive to educate upskill and develop innovative ways to create opportunities for previously unemployed local residents along the route.
This speaks volumes to the organisation as a whole and what they are trying to achieve. To put it into context, in 2005 when the race first started R325K was paid out to the various beneficiaries. In 2015 R8.3M was paid out to the relevant parties excluding additional money spent around tourism, accommodation and job creation. So although the race in its purest form is simply a MTB event it’s a whole lot more. Often as a business we lose sight of what is important and how people around us can benefit from a simple gesture and focus.
I know I have gone the long way around to explain some simple facts but the three key take outs that I want you to remember are:
- Ensure your consumers/customers have the best possible experience they can with your brand. This takes continuous work and refinement.
- Look after your existing customer base but never become complacent.
- There is a bigger picture than just your profit margin, look after your staff, benefit others and the growth you set your selves will come.
Just some additional facts around the race…
- 11 000km are travelled by the organisers setting up the route each year.
- 225 000 litres of hot water is provided for the riders over the event.
- 20 schools and 8 other organisations are beneficiaries of the race.
- 6000 man days are spent preparing the route each year.
- The riders consume 1000 loaves of banana bread, 2.4 tons of potatoes, 400kg of rice, 1 200 dozen eggs, 20 000 cups of tea, 160kg of rusks, 2000 litres of milk.