15 February 2010

NASCAR's Worst/Best Case Scenario

You would think that Atlanta Motor Speedway would have no trouble filling its stands for NASCAR events. Deep in the heart of racing country and one of the sport's largest population centers, the track has nonetheless had some well-documented struggles with paid attendance. And on the heels of a surprising (and considerable) bad year overall for the sport, one would forgive you for being less than optimistic about the possibilities of a sold out Kobalt Tools 500 on March 7.

Atlanta Motor Speedway had to do something to inject some life into their event -- get people talking and inspire them to make the trip out to the track. Driver Jamie McMurray (and a bunch of potholes) made that happen for them by making an old promotion remarkable.

Several years ago, the track's promoters tried to leverage the crowds and timing of racing's most popular event by offering a limited number of tickets to their event at the price of the car number that wins the Daytona 500 (standard tickets are $89). They knew that millions of NASCAR fans would be glued to their televisions for the Daytona 500 (20 million viewers tuned in for the 2006 event), and another 200,000 or so would be in attendance. Two years ago, Ryan Newman (#12) saved fans a ton of money by winning the event. Last year, Matt Kenseth (#17) was pretty helpful with his win as well.

But yesterday, Jamie McMurray inspired me, decidedly NOT a NASCAR fan, to think about the Kobalt 500. McMurray pulled out a surprise win at the "Super Bowl of NASCAR" in his Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet...car number 1.

Credit unions often talk about the "worst case scenario" when they come up with a new promotion. Usually, these discussions center around the idea that if their promotion is too successful "it will cost X." This is a necessary discussion, don't get me wrong. But what is the cost of being bland? Unremarkable?

Atlanta Motor Speedway realized their promotion's "worst case scenario" yesterday. With 2,000 tickets now available for their race at $1 each, the track will make $32,000 less on these seats than they did last year.

But we're talking about them. Had any other car won, we wouldn't be. This, in my mind, was the promotion's "best case scenario".

Is your credit union afraid of success? To me, "safe" bets with your marketing budget cost a lot more than "worst case scenarios."

1 comment:

Mikal said...

Great post Matt. Can't wait to meet you at the GAC.

Sports marketing loves taking risks to reach high rewards. Last year the Milwaukee Brewers were attacked for their "WE WIN, YOU WIN" promotion. The sports marketing journals said it was a "lose, lose" promotion.

The premise of the promotion was for every Brewers win in the first month of the season select games in the next month would be discounted by that amount.

If the Brewers were doing good then why discount the tickets? If they did bad this promotion only create more awareness. Luckily, the promotion went on to reach the best case scenario with the brewers getting 12 wins and the tickets being half-off.

Taking a risk for your membership is always a win/win scenario. Ask Cubs fan how not winning has brought them a stronger love for their team. The marketing director for the Brewers believed even if they did not have a winning month that the promotion still showed the core followers that they believe in the team and the fans.

How often do we show our membership we believe in them?