The historic Newmarket Racecourse – known as ‘The Home of Horseracing’ – has 39 race days and three major festivals each year, with its Moët and Chandon July Festival one of its most prestigious meets. We were brought on board to support the three-day festival in 2019.
Using ticket sales profiles, we identified that racegoers were prepared to travel for race meets but there was a disconnect with local audiences, who didn’t see the experience as a regular, fun day out.
Further interrogation highlighted that the reason behind this was a series of perception issues and misconceptions.
Our main aims were therefore to:
Ticket sale profiles helped us identify that there was an issue with attracting the local population. Racegoers were prepared to travel further if it was for special occasion, but there was a gap in sales from those within a 40-mile radius for a general day out.
Audience insight was at the heart of our campaign. From further research, we discovered there were many misconceptions around a day at the races and a lack of awareness when it came to the variety of experiences on offer, for a wide range of groups.
Many consumers in the UK view racing as an expensive, adults-only event for special occasions, with some inexperienced race goers finding it intimidating as they don’t understand betting and racing. In recent years it has also gained a reputation for examples of behaviour that would put some people off attending.
The opportunity for us was to convince infrequent visitors to attend on a more regular basis and establish a ‘day at the races’ on the radar of new audiences by owning the space of the ‘friendly racecourse’, highlighting accessibility, affordability and fun as key to not only the July Festival, but all of Newmarket’s events.
Understanding that consumers are more likely to be influenced by their peers, as opposed to more traditional and direct advertising, we decided to progress with an influencer outreach campaign. Micro-influencers were key to our strategy, as we had specific demographics we wanted to target.
As we wanted to increase awareness of the races locally, we selected influencers that were within a certain radius from the racecourse. We audited them carefully, checking not only that they had a significant following, but also how engaged their followers were.
It was also very important to have a wide variety in the types of influencers we worked with, to raise awareness that the races are accessible to many groups. This ranged from mummy bloggers to promote the event as an affordable family day out, to young couples to highlight smaller, younger groups can also enjoy the experience.
Each day of the festival had a theme, and although we were always promoting a day out at the races, the audience focus was different.
For example, Thursday’s focus was Ladies Day, an opportunity to dress to impress, so naturally we targeted fashion-focused influencers to appeal to a wider demographic of females and couples in the area. We wanted to push the family-fun day out element on the Saturday, so we approached mummy and family bloggers.
We asked our micro-influencers and bloggers to do the following:
Although we wanted our influencers to post across all social media platforms - Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - Instagram was our main focus, as it’s predominately a channel that influences audiences to want to do something as part of their lifestyle.
As a result of our campaign, digital and social content was created by our influencers that challenged misconceptions and promoted the benefits of a day at the races amongst a wide range of groups, in the local area.
We generated the following: