Earlier this month, I attended a really fun event outside in Forest Park in St. Louis called (aptly named) “Boxing In The Park”, which was put on by the gym I workout and box at.
The funny thing is, I never thought the event would provide such an amazing example of smarter, faster, cheaper marketing.
This was a new concept in St. Louis, as the last outdoor boxing event was held in Forest Park was at the World’s Fair in 1908. And, with everything new, it can be hard to market and promote it. But, the guys did an amazing job and the event was a success. The experience was great, the crowd was packed, and the fights were entertaining.
Being an observant marketer, I couldn’t help but notice the huge amount of amateur media being created at the event. And sure, there were professional photographers and videographers, but I’m talking about the fans.
Everywhere you looked:
- People were snapping photos on everything from professional cameras to cell phone cameras.
- People were videotaping their friend in a fight or their favorite boxer using whatever they had on them, ranging from pro cameras to little flip cameras to cell phones (check out the awesome YouTube knockout video in the main event).
- Bloggers were interviewing fighters with notepads, scurrying to get the best quotes.
Contrast that with other sporting events (and we have all been there). Normally, the event tries their very best to LIMIT this activity. Media is considered sacred and should only be created by those licensed to do it. In fact, I was at another boxing event in St. Louis and a kid was taping a fight using his cell phone. Within ten seconds, people came out to him and started questioning him like he was terrorist. What was he taping? Where was he putting it? Was he filming or taking photos? Geez.
But, here is the thing, allowing people to create their own media in this new era where EVERYONE can be a producer, photographer, or their own media source is one of the BEST and MOST AMAZING things you can possibly do from a business and marketing perspective.
Well for one thing, and this was brought up by Matt Brown a good friend and my trainer at Sweat/P4P Gym, people take ownership of their media. They love to show friends and family. They are proud of it. “I got the big knockdown on camera!” or “Check out this punch I got on tape!” This kind of pride is of course marketing. People are seeing the event and asking questions, “Where was it again?” and “Is there going to be another one?”
Second, in this social web and media age, there are plenty of places to post and share fan-created media. Facebook, YouTube, other video sharing sites, Twitter, Flickr, etc. The list is endless. This means an event that lasted just a few hours is extended for days, months, heck even years…because the Internet doesn’t have an expiration date. New people find out about it after-the-fact and perhaps attend the next one.
Matt Brown told me that this was a conscious decision and if they didn’t allow for it, “We would lose 90% of the post-event marketing.”
The best thing is this media creation helps everyone:
- The promoters win because there is media spread everywhere from the event. Amazing marketing. Next year this can be shown to potential fans, sponsors, etc.
- The media creators win because they get to share their cool creations.
- The boxers win because they are also promoted (hopefully for a knockout…as opposed to BEING knocked out…but you know what I mean).
Think about that for a second. Even just a few years ago this was ridiculous. You would hold an event. Maybe snap a few photos for the local paper. Hopefully people had a good time and told some friends via pony express or over drinks. And that was about it.
These amateur media makers PAID to attend the event, created their own media, and shared it with the world. If that isn’t social media, then I don’t know what is.
The question is: How can YOU lose control of media and enable others to create and spread it like wildfire?