Aneesh Reddy
Oct 18, 2013

The 2013 Singapore Formula (1) for successful retail marketing

Singapore recently celebrated the season of speed and thrill with the annual F1 Grand Prix. What did smart marketers do to capitalise on the madness?

Aneesh Reddy
Aneesh Reddy

For retail marketers, the annual Singapore F1 race is one of the best times of the year. F1 is not just a race between fast cars; it is also a maddening brand rush to pocket retail dollars. Let's examine some of the successful strategies marketers employed this season.

The 107 per cent rule of spot offers

F1 implies more tourists and hence, more shopping. Considering many of the customers are one-time customers, brands are limited by both time and lack of contact details to send out relevant offers. The storefront is the only avenue where the retailer can hope to grab wallet share by instant cross-selling and upselling and urge customers to make high-value purchases in the same visit. This led to stores witnessing increased footfalls through instant customer engagement at the point of sale.

Singapore’s premium lifestyle bar Harry’s had a special F1 offer for racing enthusiasts: Customers who refuelled with Harry’s Premium Lager over the F1 weekend could enjoy reduced rates of $5 per bottle or $25 per bucket.

SMS and direct mailers: The aerofoil of retail marketing

SMS and direct mailers have always been golden keys that help brands unlock the value of their marketing efforts. This year brands promoted their offerings much before the racing season, by using the right marketing channel to send out exciting deals and drive customers in-store to avail of them. Targeted offers such as “Shop for a fixed value within a stipulated time and win free ticket(s) to the Grand Prix final” helped draw in the numbers and boost the marginal revenues.

Online beauty, fashion, and lifestyle blog Sunshine Kelly had an exquisite offer for F1 fans: The purchase of a pair of 2013 F1 Grand Prix tickets came with a chance to win a pair of special passes to the Korean entertainment group BIGBANG’s Meet & Greet session. 

The marketing telemetry of social media

Brands today are aware that their customers hang out on social media, looking for information and offers of interest. With more than 88K facebook fans, almost 10K twitter followers and over 10,000 tweets per hour with #f1 (as of Sep 20, 2013), retailers had a pool of conversations to dive into.

Understanding this perfectly, retailers leveraged the online medium to run campaigns that effectively drove engagement and sales from both new and existing customers. Putting up contest polls on Facebook such as “Who will win this year’s Grand Prix?” or “Vote for Infiniti Red Bull/Scuderia Ferrari and get the official teamwear for free!” brought in more number of likes/shares. Brands also utilised social commerce to take pre-orders of F1 merchandise and give away freebies like zero shipping and autographed racing gear.

Leading sportswear and footwear brand Puma took heavily to social marketing to cash in on the F1 fever. Their Facebook page was full of dope on the 2013 Singapore Grand Prix, contests and events, and information on Puma’s range of sportswear and shoes.

The aerodynamics of referral marketing

A brand’s most powerful marketing engine is its current group of loyal customers. By making select offers such as autographed merchandise, free tickets, photographs with the winning team, etc., retailers gained good publicity for their products and increased brand relevance.

Austrian energy drink maker Red Bull launched an online community of Formula 1 fans to engage interactively with the team during the 2013 Grand Prix. This community featured pictures and videos from fans, exclusive F1 news, and competitions for members.

The gamification pit stop

Racing is synonymous with the young crowd. Not only is this generation obsessed with speed, they are also die hard shoppers of sports merchandise. Retailers lured this group by giving them gamified shopping experiences such as kiosks playing the latest fast track racing games with prizes of F1 trivia, autographed pictures of riders, or tickets to the grand finale.

Infiniti Red Bull rider Mark Webber asked fans to design a new racing helmet for the 2013 Grand Prix. The competition drew in participants in huge numbers and finally one design was selected. The prize for the 17-year old F1 fan who created the design: a personal meeting with Mark to present the new helmet.

This F1 season witnessed not just a mad rush of race adrenalin, but also a surge of innovation in the retail industry. With carefully crafted marketing strategies, retailers have achieved great success in incentivising customers to shop more and spend more on their favourite brands.

Aneesh Reddy is co-founder and CEO of Capillary Technologies.

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