His 25% share of the vote gives us (as marketers) a real lesson; one that I think racing should pay heed to.
He did what other businesses have done to grow this century in our compartmentalized, target marketing world - he targeted a niche, and expanded. By staking out ground with evangelicals, speaking their language, and adding a new narrative of addressing the need to expand the manufacturing job base (something neither party or any candidate has spoken about), he built a social conservative coalition. He didn't need or try to be everything to everyone, he just tried to be something to someone.
That coalition drove his vote, and he is now squarely on the national stage.
The other party tries to do this at times with their fringe candidates - sometimes you wonder if some democratic hopefuls sleep with a Marx-Engels dictionary to win primaries in left wing activist places like D.C. - but no one has been near as effective as Santorum. He proves it can be done.
Santorum didn't need a mass market to grow his brand; he just needed a slice of it.
Clearly we often hear racing needs that mass market. We need TV. We need to be on cereal boxes to compete with the "Dodgers and the Lakers". We need to be on ESPN, on billboards on the expressway.
I say phooey.
It is estimated (in Buzzmarketing by Mark Hughes) that it can take six years and $60 million to mass market brand or re-brand, with no guarantee of it being successful. We are not the Dodgers and the Lakers, nor are we Proctor and Gamble.
Racing needs to stop worrying about competing with industries, games, or products we have no shot to beat. We need to target a niche and expand.
As we wrote here in one of the most popular blog pieces (in terms of web-hits) we've written:
- I think the time has come for a repositioning of racing. Marketing to the mass-market is a concept that should be shelved. I believe the NTRA and others should work on an industry wide marketing program that filters from the top, all the way down to each track and organization. It will have one simple message: Horse racing is a game ....... and you will have the time of your life playing it.
In 2012, it works.
The Meadowlands opens Friday with almost 200 entries. Is this sustainable? One can hope so. By eliminating some questionable trainers, and inviting everyone to come race and have a shot, it has to help handles. If you love harness racing, start handicapping and bet this meet.
I got a picture sent to me from Cape Breton Island, where a couple of the yearlings are being trained down. It's a different world out this way, where harness racing (and life) is slow. And it's quite beautiful.
From the Eclipse ballots I see, it seems the logical choice will win HOY in the US - Havre de Grace. Sometimes we really over-think things, or try and look contrarian, but not this time.
Claire Novak goes A to Z in racing in 2011.
Dk in Trot, on simo signals, marketing and more.
Rapid Redux goes for another win today.
Yonkers scraps 1 1/16th mile racing and goes back to a mile.
Just a note via email - the new wagering menu at the M includes some races with $1 minimum superfectas (something that larger bankrolled players love). I don't know if there is a carryover provision or not, but I would hope so, since early on some may carry and it could build some super good excitement race to race.
Enjoy your day everyone!