Light bulb - Ideas & events

I was recently asked to participant in an upcoming panel at the 2013 Running USA Convention. In response to the request I believe I readily agreed to the proposition before even hearing the topics for discussion. Suppose I’m just honored to say anything at anytime and throw in the fact that people may even listen… I was excited. Eventually I let the conference producer explain that the topic for discussion would be titled “Small Events – Big Ideas.”

Case Study…

This topic certainly hit home for me as I’ve been producing, directing and/or owning events for the past six-years and many of them small to mid-size events. Our operation at Soul Focus Sports is small so even when we grew the San Francisco Giant Race upwards of 14,000 people it was time to move on and let Tri Cal handle the management of the masses.

TIP: Get Creative with Limited Resources

We’re young, nimble and we believe we concoct the type of ideas that can ignite and grow smaller events. So I’ve recently begun to put a few thoughts together in preparation for the conference and one common string that I’ve found between all small events is limited resources. Less runners and less sponsorship means smaller marketing budgets and less staff. In turn, as small event promoters we are forced to get creative to get the word out.

TIP: Get Your Community Amped!

My favorite form of small event promotion is through community partnerships. Utilizing charity partnerships, local businesses, other local races, and even your own participant pool are excellent ways to attain large promotional footprints for free. However, you must empower these organizations with information, copy, one-sheets, and educate them on why your event is important. Take the legwork out of the co-promotion and they are more likely to become your voice in the community.

TIP: Don’t Shy Away from New Opportunities

Lastly, you can utilize the Race Roster tools of affiliate marketing to directly impact these same organizations. Simply provide inform your community partners (especially the charities & small businesses) to sign up for an affiliate account and they receive a unique link to your event. They can then promote your event while making cash back. The combination of grassroots partnerships and Race Rosters affiliate marketing is a big idea for small events.


Brandon Laan

Brandon is a dad, runner, race director and endurance industry specialist. He spends the majority of his time coaching the sales team at Race Roster while co-directing The Rock The Road 10K. He spent his undergraduate days at Western University before fleeing to Hawaii Pacific University for graduate school. He recently pushed his twin girls, Emma and Sydney to a 1:14 half marathon and is a former winner of The GoodLife Toronto Marathon and Silver Medalist at The Canadian Marathon Championships.