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Hi guys, I’m Mitch and I reside in Australia and have been following rally in a spectator/media capacity (youtube.com/user/supersideways) for nearly a decade. I was wondering how you guys in USA and Canada market your rallies to both competitors and to the general public. In my state, rallying is becoming very quiet with very few drivers committing to the state series and little to almost no spectators outside the ‘rallying family’ and I was looking to change this. In 2011, the series is moving back to five rounds.
Here are some statistics from the past few years for the series in question.

2008: 5 ran the full series (5 rounds)
2009: 8 ran the full series (4 rounds)
2010: 11 ran the full series (4 rounds)

Average Entries (excluding interstate competitors):
2008: 12.4
2009: 19
2010: 20

In reality, there are 40 cars in the state which are ‘ready to rally’ and estimated to be another 40 cars hiding in sheds which haven’t moved in a while! The rallies are run as one day events on Saturdays using roadbook (we don’t have Jemba in Australia).

Another issue is the fact that we have Targa Tasmania and another two tarmac rallies which seems to have taken a few competitors away from the series (the series is totally gravel to save costs of bigger brakes, tarmac suspension etc.). Although it costs $6000 to $8000 (AUD) to do Targa Tasmania and only $350 to do a gravel rally in the series, there still is a struggle for numbers.

I had a good look in the forums and there wasn’t much on marketing of rallies, so to pose the question to the organisers… “How do you market your rally to potential competitors and make them really excited to come out and drive?” and “How do you advertise the rally in the region you’re in to gain the interest of the public on a budget?”

Your comments and ideas are most welcome as they can be used for other rallies up your way!

Cheers, Mitch
 

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Mitch,

I am not sure where to begin, this is such a broad topic. This will not be exhaustive, and I only know the insides of one rally, and I have only been on the committee for a relatively short time. I am only a communications coordinator, but I do live in the community where my local rally is held.

Current threads with "marketing components": http://www.specialstage.com/forums/showthread.php?t=42725 and http://www.specialstage.com/forums/showthread.php?t=42739 and http://www.specialstage.com/forums/showthread.php?t=42040 -- just to point out a few, then you will see that there is a fair amount of discussion and disagreement regarding almost any aspect of "marketing" rally - and yourself (as a competitor).

That being said, RA/Subaru/DC/Ford have tried to use the "star power" and demographics of Travis Pastrana, Ken Block and Dave Mirra to build a fan base and future competitors (I guess). They have also used the X-Games.

I wish that I could say that we CONSISTENTLY focus on competitor recruitment. Our rally can draw on millions of folks for competitors and fans since we are about 5 hours drive from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York City, Washington-DC, Baltimore, Buffalo, Cleveland, etc. When we have focused on the issue, it has been typically about decreasing entry fee -- but that doesn't seem to tie in with your problem. We have done some things to differentiate our rally experience from others:

1.) We had a somewhat famous stream crossing -- or infamous depending upon the competitor, lol. We lost it to environmental concerns a couple of years ago.

2.) Parade of flags for competitors nationality.

3.) One day "marathon"/day & night format -- changed recently due to spectator alcohol abuse issues; daytime only now.

4.) Charity TSD Rally for fans

5.) Late night "Breakfast" for competitors and workers - before we lost the night stages...

Close ties with our local media... It helps that our newspaper editor is the Chief of Controls!:D

Hope some of this helps.
 

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We had a somewhat famous stream crossing -- or infamous depending upon the competitor, lol. We lost it to environmental concerns a couple of years ago.
I have the dubious honour of being the very last competitive car through that water crossing. And of being the only car to not make it all the way across under our own power at that event.

Simon
Rallye Driver
USUK Racing
 

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I have the dubious honour of being the very last competitive car through that water crossing. And of being the only car to not make it all the way across under our own power at that event.

Simon
Rallye Driver
USUK Racing
Sorry to cause the flashback, Simon.:eek: For what it's worth the Subaru Splash "Yank Team" really enjoyed its work -- and many a team, over the years, needed a helping hand...
 

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Hell. no! I love those flashbacks. Best adventure I'd had in decades! I had volunteered at STPR the previous year and promised myself that, if ever I became a real rally driver (ha, like that would happen!), I would run STPR one day. A couple of people said it might take a few attempts for a new team to finish the event and we very nearly didn't that first year. Someone had the brilliant idea to put the flying finish in the middle of the river so sheer momentum alone got us across the finish line. The intake had ingested some water but the air bypass valve did its job and kept the water from entering the engine. Engine was still running - good news. Bad news was the air bypass valve wasn't letting enough air in for me to drive out the other side. Cue the Yank Team. Many thanks. What fun. We went on to finish that event and each STPR for the next 3 years.

I'm still astonished and feel incredibly fortunate that a middle aged software developer like me could participate in this sport. Having one of my sons in the silly seat for these exploits is a super bonus.

Simon
Rallye Driver
USUK Racing
 

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Hi guys, I’m Mitch and I reside in Australia and have been following rally in a spectator/media capacity (youtube.com/user/supersideways) for nearly a decade. I was wondering how you guys in USA and Canada market your rallies to both competitors and to the general public. In my state, rallying is becoming very quiet with very few drivers committing to the state series and little to almost no spectators outside the ‘rallying family’ and I was looking to change this. In 2011, the series is moving back to five rounds.
Here are some statistics from the past few years for the series in question.

2008: 5 ran the full series (5 rounds)
2009: 8 ran the full series (4 rounds)
2010: 11 ran the full series (4 rounds)

Average Entries (excluding interstate competitors):
2008: 12.4
2009: 19
2010: 20

In reality, there are 40 cars in the state which are ‘ready to rally’ and estimated to be another 40 cars hiding in sheds which haven’t moved in a while! The rallies are run as one day events on Saturdays using roadbook (we don’t have Jemba in Australia).

Another issue is the fact that we have Targa Tasmania and another two tarmac rallies which seems to have taken a few competitors away from the series (the series is totally gravel to save costs of bigger brakes, tarmac suspension etc.). Although it costs $6000 to $8000 (AUD) to do Targa Tasmania and only $350 to do a gravel rally in the series, there still is a struggle for numbers.

I had a good look in the forums and there wasn’t much on marketing of rallies, so to pose the question to the organisers… “How do you market your rally to potential competitors and make them really excited to come out and drive?” and “How do you advertise the rally in the region you’re in to gain the interest of the public on a budget?”

Your comments and ideas are most welcome as they can be used for other rallies up your way!

Cheers, Mitch
Mitch

The first thing you have to do is figure out who you are marketing to and why. Just randomly advertising the events may be counter productive in that you may get hundreds of fans coming out to watch without the rally getting any real benefit.That just increases the number of marshals you need.

If you want to increase the sponsorship potential for competitors then what you really need is TV coverage or, failing that, internet coverage.

If you want to increase the number of people involved in the sport then you need a cheap and welcoming entry level type of event to let people give it a try. My local rally club uses rallyX (North American-style) and navigational rallies to give new people a chance to get involved without needing anything more than their daily driver. Many of the people who come out to these events will move to become either workers or competitors at stage rallies.

If you're trying to get past rally competitors or Targa competitors involved you will need to: a) keep in touch with them; and b) give them some incentive. Just throwing ideas out - perhaps a separate class for Targa-prepped cars - Targa rules for car prep would apply, they just need to get gravel tires.
 
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