Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Virtual Race Bag

Hiya! I've done several races where you now get a "virtual race bag". I think the idea is great. Sponsors have a chance to get word out about their product, service or organization while being "environmentally friendly" and they probably save a bit on printing and materials. While the idea is great, the execution is usually lacking.

The main issue is the failure to provide anything of use to the recipient. I recall getting some race bags with goodies such as cold paks, biofreeze, water bottles and other potentially useful items. I would still like to get those items and I guess, if a sponsor is so inclined, they can still give these items out at the registration / shirt pick-up area. It goes beyond just the physical stuff. The issue is that the ads in the virtual race bags are usually almost worthless.

Upcoming race information is useful, certain notifications about services are ok, but if you want my attention and get me to come into your business, just give out some friggin' good coupons.

A good coupon is not 5% off one particular brand of ponytail holders at a running store. Give me something, anything, to get me in the door. How 'bout 10 - 20% off a regular priced item. If needed, put some restrictions on it, but give me some incentive to walk into your business - I and many other runners just might do it. Businesses, you're still going to make money and you might get someone to come into your store that otherwise wouldn't. If they buy one sale thing, it is very possible they'll need some GU, Sport Beans, socks or some other items which you make good margins on. I want to shop locally instead of at a chain store or online. Please give me some reason to do so!

The other thing that I don't like is when restaurants do a similar thing. I don't need a copy of your menu. If I'm a customer, I know it and if I'm not, seeing your menu alone isn't the best way to make me one. Buy one get one free, free appetizer on race day, percentage off - something like that. Most runners are local - get them to try your product and if it is good, they'll come back even without a discount.

Maybe the entire point of this post is that I'm cheap and like free stuff. While that may be is true, I think I'm pretty much on target here. Retailers sponsor things many times because they are good neighbors and part of the community, but I'm guessing that more often than not, they see it as another method of advertising. My thought is, if you're gonna do it, do it right.

What do you think of the virtual race bags? Good? Bad? Indifferent?

1 comment:

  1. I like it in theory, so I don't have to throw so much crap away, but I agree with your issues. Noodles & Co consistently puts in buy 1 get 1 coupons (I've seen them in at least 2 race "bags" so far). But from the store perspective, I understand why they don't want to. They're sent out in a mass email and could be forwarded to anybody and/or you could print off as many as you want. FYI, that noodles coupon in the shamrock & roll bag expires 4/30/12. So use it a lot before then :)