January 29, 2010
The organisers of the Hever Castle Triathlon successfully used text messaging as part of their communications strategy to keep competitors informed about race details and results. In addition, the mobile channel filled the gap between online and traditional promotions by providing a direct means of marketing to participants.
The Hever Castle Triathlon was managed by Telemark Productions and held on Sunday, 27 September 2009. The sports event attracted some 1,300 participants to the historic setting of Hever Castle in Kent (in southeast England), the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. This family orientated sports event included social and competitive races and catered for both novice and seasoned triathletes.
Telemark, a marketing and events management company that organises large corporate and public sports events, has found through prior experience that running a successful triathlon requires several key elements to support the promotion and organisation of a sports event; not least of which is an integrated event communications strategy that includes the mobile channel.
For the Hever Castle Triathlon, Telemark created marketing exposure for the event via industry-based online media, in triathlon focused print media, through guerrilla marketing, leafleting and signage in the surrounding areas, as well as building awareness through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Alongside these traditional and digital promotional strategies, Telemark partnered with BulkSMS.com to deliver text messages for the Hever Castle Triathlon. BulkSMS.com's Web to SMS messaging platform allowed for application-to-person messaging and was used to engage directly with competitors. Texts were delivered to competitors' mobile phones and provided time critical event logistics information and post-event communications.
The mobile channel played a key role in extending the event organiser's ability to interact with race participants and went far in the professional running of the triathlon by Telemark. According to Tristan King commercial manager of Telemark, "We found that between online advertising and the website, the BulkSMS.com messaging solution filled in the gaps in our marketing and communications strategy."
Telemark relied on text messaging to communicate to competitors in real time as weather conditions or race information changed. In one instance, due to the UK mail strike, Telemark were not able to send out race packs by post and used text messaging to point competitors to a new web page with all the relevant race details.
The primary use of text messaging for the Hever Castle Triathlon was the sending out of personalised race specific communications to competitors. Competitors received the following text messages: a post-registration welcome and confirmation of a place in the triathlon; information about what race they were in and the race start time; a reminder about the race with a weather forecast and a good luck message; and on competing the race, congratulations and notification of when race results were to be posted on the triathlon's website.
Competitors responded positively to receiving text messages with race information. According to one triathlete, "It was great receiving a text message telling me of my race time. It was very professional."
In addition, Telemark deployed a mobile marketing campaign to competitors promoting the up-selling of triathlon-related products and services as well as providing information about the next triathlon and how to register for that event.
"Telemark chose BulkSMS.com to provide text messaging services for the Hever Castle Triathlon as its software and product capability met our requirements, were easy to use, and provided an effective way to communicate with competitors," said King.
In particular, BulkSMS.com's online messaging service allowed Telemark to use this web-based application when out of the office. It also allowed the event organising team to easily create and sort groups of contacts as well as save and archive text messages for later use.
According to King, "As we become more sophisticated in our marketing and communications, BulkSMS's text messaging services will remain a key direct marketing tool for sports events."