Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
DKemp

Promoting autocross

Recommended Posts

DKemp    2

When I take my kids for walks around the neighbourhood or go to a mall I see all sorts of cars that would be fun at autocross but these cars are never at our events. 

What are the chances of getting some business type cards made up that we could carry a few in our pockets?  Then when we see these cars we could stick one under the wiper. 

The card would just need the website and promote a fun and friendly environment to learn about your car. I know I didn't come to an event for a long time because I assumed it would have a "car show" "clicky" mentality. Boy was I wrong! Everyone has been great and I couldn't be happier. 

Anyway just a thought I had to get more drivers out to the events. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nishanna    9

The best promoter of an event would be to have one inside the city so people can see it first hand. I was a spectator first before I was a driver, all it took was to watch a couple events and go for a ride-along at RRX and I knew I wanted to try it. Business cards won't hurt, but I think they would have minimal impact. TopTier Imports have an autocross thread on their forums every year and they get a ton of traffic so lots of car enthusiasts already know about it, but still don't come out.

I remember all the interest that the RRX and Steinbach events generated... that's definitely the way to get the sport rebooted. It's just become an almost impossible task to find a venue.

Throwback to the first event I spectated :lol:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Beau    91

Good idea. We did exactly what you suggested, last year. We desgined and ordered about 500 business cards, gave them away to a few dozen people to randomly hand out. I don't think many got handed out when it was all said and done. The other unfortunate thing is that our landing page wasn't really great. Basically it just redirected you to the wscc.mb.ca/autoslalom page, which is okay if you're already interested, but not if you haven't heard of autoslalom or have no idea how fun it is. I've said before, videos just don't do our sport justice. 

Anyway, good idea, and I wouldn't mind doing it again, but we need to orgainze our website a bit better for brand new people and also make a better effort to distribute the cards earlier in the year, e.g. in April or May at a few car shows when summer is just getting going.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AEB    4

I think this is a great idea. Recently, I've had a few opportunities to complement drivers on their cars (or wheels), and it would have been great to have a card to pass on to them with some info about autocross. While shopping the other day, I wrote down the webpage address for a new BRZ owner, but again, it would have been better to have pulled out a card and handed it to him. I will certainly take a bunch of cards!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the idea of cards but think it is missing the ability to measure its success.  Perhaps each card could be good for a discount or something.  That way those who get the cards give them back when they come to an event and we can track the effectiveness of the campaign.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Brian Wiebe    3

Dale,

Great suggestion and thanks for resurrecting the "Novice Taxi" topic.  Obviously we need to do more to promote our sport and increase our membership and event entries.

I accept the fact that many of our long-standing members have already "been there/done that" for the umpteenth time, with respect to promoting the sport,  but now it's time for our newest members to inject some enthusiasm into AutoSlalom.

I've got 66 years of life experience but I am social media illiterate, and not sure how to communicate our message to those out there that may be misinformed or unaware of AutoSlalom.  Maybe radio ads? (expensive), TV morning show? (nah, none of our target audience will be awake at that hour).   I'll leave it up to Gen X  or the Millennials to figure out the most effective way to communicate our message.  I've heard of things like Tweeter, Facebutt, YouBoob, and Instagrab, but don't know if those mediums would work.  Don't laugh, I told you I was social media illiterate.

On a more serious note, why don't we get in touch with sport enthusiast groups such as Top Tier and Unrestricted Empire?  I'm sure there are some members of these clubs that would like to strut their stuff and show us guys how its done!

We could consider offering an "AutoSlalom Introduction" event in 2018,  just prior to our first Test & Tune.  We need to entice prospective members and could offer several options, such as:

  • Attend out of curiosity, without bringing a track-ready car, but willing to listen to what AutoSlalom is about and going for a ride-along experience.
  • Attend with a car, meeting safety requirements, and experience the sport first hand on-track with a mentor.
  • Do a head-to-head timed run against a club member and win a free WSSC membership if you beat their time.  The kicker is that the club member has to drive a dilapidated, non-competitive vehicle. Can anyone come up with a 1970's Gremlin, Skoda (or equivalent) vehicle, preferably running on snow tires?  I know this would be a heck of a lot of fun and encourage a lot of participation.

What's the next step?  Continue to post ideas on the Forum as individuals?  Or, is it time to have a meeting of all interested club members and do some brain-storming?

Thanks for taking the time to read my drivel.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Corey    73

One perception I've heard is that WSCC is too serious in regards to car classing. Would an 'open' class help? In discussing participation with others at Nationals, I heard that many clubs have a class that has three restrictions:

1. Min 200 treadwear street tires. No race tires. 

2. Be based a series production car. No tube-frame cars like Chris' Lotus clone or my Formula car. 

3. Be registered for street use. 

That sounds pretty good as a catch-all class for street cars. It doesn't have to be serious, and you can literally drive anything that's street legal. 

Sure, the WSCC has some competitors that take it seriously, but at its heart we all just enjoy driving cars quickly and laughing with friends. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
evolv    6
On 9/14/2017 at 9:02 AM, Corey said:

One perception I've heard is that WSCC is too serious in regards to car classing. Would an 'open' class help? In discussing participation with others at Nationals, I heard that many clubs have a class that has three restrictions:

1. Min 200 treadwear street tires. No race tires. 

2. Be based a series production car. No tube-frame cars like Chris' Lotus clone or my Formula car. 

3. Be registered for street use. 

That sounds pretty good as a catch-all class for street cars. It doesn't have to be serious, and you can literally drive anything that's street legal. 

Sure, the WSCC has some competitors that take it seriously, but at its heart we all just enjoy driving cars quickly and laughing with friends. 

I like where you're going with this...  I see many clubs state side have two classes.

  1. Pro Class - A voluntary class usually populated by drivers that consistently finish at the top of the leader board.  These drivers usually show up for most if not all events.
    1st and 2nd place trophy only  PAX determined.
     
  2. Open Class - For those that come out to have some fun, are new at the sport or just want to compete against other drivers with similar skill sets.   Trophies in accordance with the number of drivers with a minimum number of qualifying events.  PAX factor.

    note: Novice Class rolled into open class (we have seen the odd Novice driver do very well in their first year).

 

When I was state side this year they gave out shirts, ball caps and decals which was a nice touch, something we use to do!  Maybe something we could use as promotional bait for an open class.  This is where the Novice drivers can get recognized.  Nothing says promo more than an eager Novice wearing a WSCC Autocross T-shirt and bragging to all their friends.

I also wonder (and I'm going to get slammed for this one) do we have too many events?  18 events + 2 schools + 2 test and tune + a club event (what ever that was).  wow 23 events in a 21 week summer!  Maybe its watering down the entry levels. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Beau    91

Some great ideas here. I like them all. Let's combine them all to Make Autocross Great Again! :P

How about this: we come up with a design (reuse much of the last one - Rob should have a file saved and it won't require a ton of additional work that way) and print 500 cards. Distribute them to members who can give them to anyone with a cool car or anyone they know who's interested in racing. The card has a link to a webpage and also acts as a coupon for first timers to try for half price or whatever. In addition, next year we can have an open T&T event where it's less structured and more of a "come try the sport" like what Brian suggested. I like the idea of capturing the "my car isn't ready yet" crowd and simply offering them ridealongs with some veterans or other guys with cool cars.

In terms of event management, it's nothing really that new, but in terms of how we sell this event (Marketing) we should really make it all about the first timer's experience.

 

E.g.

Got a cool car? Great! Come try it on a race track! No pressure - no timing or scoring for this event. Just have fun.

No car? No problem! Come get a free ride along and feel the rush of a racecar on track. (incl. pictures of some cool cars)

Interested in racing this year, but not srs bzns? Try our new open class - run what you brung. Any street car can compete for fun in this class.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Beau    91

Regarding novice class being too serious and/or not having a catch-all "RAW" aka "NYC" class. I have a lot to say on this, so pack a lunch before you start reading. ;)

I am starting to think maybe we should have an open class again. Not sure what to call it. Maybe it's the open class, maybe "RAW" class (sounds cool), maybe "fun" or "casual" class (non-competitive environment, no pressure to perform). Either way, it's a catch all with pax=1, so basically it's AM, but in a separate Div as far as registration and timing & scoring goes.

There is one big drawback to doing this, again. When we moved away from RAW/NYC a few years ago, it was because it was a big problem for registration and for season scoring. RAW was the biggest group IIRC, and to be honest to the sport, we had to try to keep them together, so you ended up with all the casual guys and first timers in one group. That causes a lot of problems with volunteer workers, as well as trying to keep each Heat balanced. It seemd to me at the time that it was just a lazy way out: "I dunno what class I'm in, so I'll just pick RAW." With everyone in RAW, the competitive divisions were left with like 2-3 competitors in each div, meaning there was only 1 trophy per div. That kinda sucked for those guys. We wanted to keep all those RAW guys racing, but nudge them toward participating in real classes so as to encourage competition and fill out the trophy divisions. In retrospect it might have driven a few guys away from the sport altogether. :( 

So after seeing this thing come full circle, seeing where we are now with lower overall attendance and perhaps a barrier to entry ("I dunno what class I'm in so I'll just stay home instead"), maybe it's better for the club as a whole to move back to the old way, encourage and promote a RAW class, and just deal with the fact that some guys don't want to be in a competitive division. IF the tradeoff is more racers, but less competition, then it's probably the right move.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
evolv    6

Beau is definitely on track with promotion, but in addition to cards and word of mouth I keep thinking about where we compete.  Location, Location, Location: St. Andrews isn't the greatest spot or even a nice piece of pavement.  Events at RRX we're better attended and I believe the location had a major part in that.  I don't exactly remember the RRX being a great piece of pavement, especially with that nasty bump between the east and north sections.

I would be willing to seek out a new location or two, knock on a few doors, make a few calls, see where it goes,  Of course I would not proceed without the executives blessing and go ahead.  You know how to get a hold of me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shawn    36

I have a bunch of random things to say about the ideas in this thread but I will try to be brief. First of all, I appreciate everyone taking the time to read though this thread and provide some really good feedback.

The only negative thing I have to say is about the video. I do think it is a great video, but if I were a new person that has never done this before and thinking that maybe I wanted to give it a try, I think this might scare me off. There are a lot of cars spinning and losing control in that video. It is more of a blooper reel than a promotional piece. Having been in the sport for 12 years (on and off) I like it a lot but not sure it should be the face of autoslalom.

I like the idea of a casual event to start off the season but we need something throughout the season too. I was thinking about if we could do something at the end of an event for the people that want to try it or experience it in a non-competition setting (i.e. no timing running). The issues with this are tech inspections, insurance and training. A tech inspection would be needed if we are putting any car on course. We could assist the driver in doing this but to make sure that we are covered, the driver ultimately is signing off that his/her car is safe and meets tech. I believe that we would still have to charge the participant a daily membership fee at a minimum so that our insurance is valid (I will have to confirm this). The other issue is that if this is their first time, they probably have never been on a course walk or know how to ready the course...this could be very dangerous. This maybe be tied in with the suggestion of the "taxi" where a veteran drives the course at a crawl to explain the course before riding shotgun with them on some runs (1 run at a lower speed then 2 more at "race" speed). At this point have we lost them because it isn't just show up and drive? 

I like the idea of having a more casual class but implementing it has it's challenges as Beau pointed out. One aspect of that is how do you keep it casual and yet try to draw the drivers in and get them to want to participate more. It's like being a parent...how do you get them to care, to want to do more, to really engage? Maybe this is the face of autoslalom going forward in Manitoba. Maybe people do just want to have some sort of experience and call it done. I wish we had the connections to really understand this.

Location. I agree that we need a better spot but so far nothing is really available. We keep coming back to RRX and if someone wants to try to get back in there to find out what the surface is like, when we could get it and how much it would cost that's great. Yes we need to figure out who should be doing that, at one point Beau offered his help in the venue procurment. I had a talk with A woman from Manitoba Hydro regarding the lot across from Ikea that Cirque uses. Cirque has a 3 year leas on the site for the summer months and I was told to try again in 2020. I then asked about September and October and the comment beack was "Ohhhh.................I thought you wanted it for the summer months". I explained that we have a Regional Event in September annually and we are looking to attract more people from across Canada for the event. When I asked about using it this year it was a flat out no. She then suggested I submit a proposal for their consideration. I took this as a "please just go away" but I intend to get something submitted but I won't be holding my breath.

We do have the ability to spend some money on venue development. We have a proposal with St Andrews Airport regarding how this would work if we dumped $25,000 into the site but will it make it any more attractive to new comers or appease the veterans? We could also consider spending some/all of that money out at Gimli and have more events out there. But if people are unwilling to make it to St Andrews then Gimli is an even worse proposition.

Regarding Gimli, I have a different idea for next year. I would like to run an event very much like how we did this year but then once road racing is done, we would setup a course on the race track like in previous years and run a second event. You could run either or both if you wanted. They would probably attract some different people and could be a pretty big event for us. I would also like to one a month out there.

Regarding the number of event, perhaps it was too much but we also talked about leaving October open for the possibility to run some fun events if there was enough interest. That said, if we had an idea that we could get a good turnout of new people, that would be a great time to try to get them hooked and interested in the next season. But I digress...next year I will probably cut some events.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Corey    73

We need to connect with the UE crew.  They seem like cool folk: https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/our-communities/souwester/Passion-for-car-culture-fuelling-community-426548021.html  Not brand snobs.  Eager car lovers.  Many won't want to try racing, but some will.  

I'm with Shawn about the Mr. Woo's awesome year-end video.  Everyone I've shown those too weren't really interested.  They're funny for those of us that were involved, but they're a bit confusing for those that weren't.  

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Brian Wiebe    3

I agree with Corey's comments.  What better way to tap into the local car enthusiast scene than making contact with Unrestricted Empire and see if we can spread the word about AutoSlalom at St. Andrews.

As far as the video suggestion, it's a great compilation/montage of what shenanigans go on during events throughout the year, but probably not the best promotional tool. Sorry Jim. 

I'm wondering if it would be possible to produce a video specifically for attracting newcomers to the sport. The video would need the obligatory in-car shots, but should also provide the accompanying shots of the car as seen by the spectator.  A typical 5-cone slalom would suffice.  I would love to see a staged shot of a slalom being run directly at the camera.

Then, to emphasize the casual and fun aspect of the event, we could do some video of the pits and casual conversation between friendly competitors.  Make sure we get shots of the variety of vehicles that can participate, everything from the "Flyin' Banana" to "not your grandfather's Buick".

Timing is against us right now, with only two events remaining ... but with a decent turnout at events #17 & 18, a little sun, and some commitment, we could get it done!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rjames    3

I understand there were many events with lower numbers, but with the number events we had it does give more "chances" for new people to come out rather than giving them the excuse of having to fit it into their busy schedule. It's a bit of a catch 22, less events means less opportunities to come out but more events means we are spread thin on course work and it can be less entertaining/exciting (but more time for fun runs ). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shawn    36

Regarding low turnouts it really affects our profitability. Especially in that I had to negotiate a deal with our food vendors to compensate for low numbers. This weekend is another $250 to compensate for the lack of attendees. I like having the hot dog guys come out and I think it is a plus for our competitors but it has been cutting into our revenue which is only half of what we estimated for the year. But this is the deal we made so that we didn't upset everyone when we blindside them saying no food is coming today.

Do we consider next year doing without a food vendor and everyone has to brown-bag it? Would that turn people off/away? Do we buy ourselves a BBQ and get someone to run it for the lunch break. We could pre-order of food on the registration website so that we could be prepared for the lunch rush.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rjames    3

That's an idea i'm sure we could either find someone, or have someone volunteer from each run group to cook someone from group B to start and someone from A to take over or help to allow the driver from B to prep? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Corey    73

That's unsanitary use of a food prep surface. 

I vote to let people fend for themselves. Not that different from most people's work, other than the lack of fridges. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim Eh.    150

Just a note: There is no food vendors at ice racing ... ever. Everyone either bags it, does there own cook out or hikes it to the nearest facility. Part of running a winter event.

Oh and I was going to raise a question about how she warms the hotdogs but I thought better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MRS Joe    76

I'd like to throw this into the mix:

Team challenge events  - run one or a few of these over the year.

Could use a random draw from a hat where you team up with someone and your combined pax time is the standing time. Interesting note if someone dnf's that matching # run is dnf for everyone else on the team. 

We would do groups of three, or create rules to mandate that only one driver can have been to nats, one must be a rookie... etc to even the field.

Just a thought to spice things up. May make things for fun and push for barriers that may seem to be there to be broken/knocked down. 

Shaun- I like the idea of the double event. Could be good but the autox exec has to be on it to run two events in a day. Itd be hard but cool if feasible. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Corey    73

I've been reading that thread on the sandbox too. Very neat stuff out there! But everything hinges on software so we're not manually inputting stuff into a spreadsheet to see who won. 

What appealed to me was more runs (6 or 8) as a base, then if your team does well then you can get a lot more in the head-to-head elimination rounds. Some announcing could make it really exciting. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TRDTurko    32
13 hours ago, Corey said:

I've been reading that thread on the sandbox too. Very neat stuff out there! But everything hinges on software so we're not manually inputting stuff into a spreadsheet to see who won. 

What appealed to me was more runs (6 or 8) as a base, then if your team does well then you can get a lot more in the head-to-head elimination rounds. Some announcing could make it really exciting. 

Where was this sandbox thread mentioned? did I miss something or was something deleted that would have made sense of this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×