On vacation I polished off a new business book, Meatball Sundae. In it the author speaks of the power of the customer in the Internet world, and the power of marketing in the new economy.
Well it appears two customers have decided to do something.
Jessica Chapel (of Railbird) and Dana Byerly (Green But Game) have seemingly joined forces to create the Self Appointed Fan Committee. This website offers customers a voice, and a place to have that voice heard. They are collecting rants, praise and anything else about the issues of the day in racing. I have read these two women and some of their writings. I would not put it past them to make a difference. Racing and horseman execs might want to get themselves ready to read some solutions and I think they’d be wise to pay attention. Paying attention to customers in the new economy is paramount to a company’s success. It is a 2008 Internet truism.
Another world wide web truism is that if you are mentioned in an often quoted story, you can get some serious web traffic. People try very hard to get mentioned, and some succeed, but to catch fire you do need more than a mention. You need to be very lucky.
I think Jessica and Dana got lucky today.
Paul Moran – an influential racing journalist – not only mentioned their new website:The evolution of a nontraditional, essentially digital racing media has spawned the Self-appointed Fan Committee (a link to which is in the blogroll on the left rail), which was launched on Tuesday by two prominent bloggers -- Jessica Chapel, publisher of Railbird Media, and Dana Byerly, publisher of Green But Game.
….. he spoke of the disenfranchised player and blogosphere:
The blog movement in racing was spawned among fans and horseplayers, not products of the mainstream or trade media, whose entry into this particular arena is a relatively new, differently focused development and, in the main, remains so. Grassroots movements tend to either wither in frustration or gain momentum and the development of the Self-appointed Fan Committee is evidence of the latter.
A savvy executive would make this forum a daily read. (Unfortunately, that sentence is grossly optimistic.)
Eventually, the disenfranchised organize.
Make no mistake, the rank-and-file racing fan and horseplayer -- the person who walks through the general admission or clubhouse gate and brings the money that pays every purse and every salary -- is disenfranchised.
Horseplayers, in fact, rank low on the list of priorities at NYRA. Horseplayers, in fact, are regarded openly by at least one executive with contempt .... and then delivered a knockout:
.... and then delivered a knockout:
On the night before the Belmont Stakes, while he was extolling the brilliance that resulted in the construction of a large wooden desk in the Belmont Park clubhouse lobby, it was suggested to a high-ranking NYRA executive that the organization has lost sight of the core audience.
What, he asked, was the core audience?
“ ------ the horseplayers,” he said, employing a widely used euphemism for copulation.
That’s where you stand in New York.
I have seen this ‘unnamed’ racing exec quote in several forms today – on blogs, at chat sites, and no doubt it will be filtered out more tomorrow. It'll be a gift that keeps on giving to Jessica and Dana.
It’s interesting to me and I have to laugh. Companies out there kill to have something viral in nature. They hire PR firms to come up with things like this. They pay good money to find interesting ways to get mentioned. Often times, I would argue most times, it is simply serendipitous.
Good luck ladies. I hope your luck continues.
Haven’t heard of the cable guy? Well here he is on Youtube. Check the number of views. Yep, over a million. In the new economy, this stuff is out there, and it is powerful. In the words of Seth Godin, author of Meatball Sundae:"Your customers now control your brand."
Smart companies pay attention, the ones that don't go broke. I sincerely hope racing is the former.