My four year old son and I went to the Advanced Auto Parts Monster Jam last week and they reminded me of what it takes to compete when you are not considered a “big player” in your field. I am categorizing the monster truck rally as a sporting/entertainment event, it was on a Saturday night, in a major venue, and they used Ticketmaster. The “big boys” in their field would be the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB. By creating a unique high touch experience and a high risk way to generate emotion from the crowd, the Advanced Auto Parts Monster Jam made me forget that I spent over $5 on a hot dog and $15 for a Hot Wheels version of a monster truck, I don’t want to talk about the tickets!
The showmanship from beginning to end was impressive; the event that caught my attention right away was the USA vs. Mexico team quad racing. I literally laughed out loud and grabbed my belly when they announced it. I knew what they were doing but, I was still shocked by how overt it was, then I thought “this could get ugly”. Arizona is the most aggressive border state in the country when it comes to illegal immigration, recently passing controversial legislature that sparked a national debate. Team Mexico was dressed in all green including their helmets, the USA wore red. There were probably five or six racers from each team and whoever had a team member finish the race first won the heat. Think roller derby only with bigger wheels. I was convinced that we were being set up for a Harlem Globetrotters versus the Washington Generals situation but, to my surprise Team Mexico won. After the race, the on track MC interviewed the leader for Team Mexico, the MC asked questions in English however, every response he got was in Spanish. The Mexican team leader said something in Spanish and raised his hands in the air and the surprisingly well represented Latino crowd erupted, it was great!!! Maybe he said “Muerte a SB1070!” The stunned Americans sat in silence, now anxiously awaiting the rematch that would happen in less than an hour. Now the Americans are emotionally invested in race they didn’t even know was going to take place an hour ago. The Mexicans are on cloud nine because very few things are better than beating America at anything!
Another savvy marketing move is providing access. The on track MC interviewed the Monster Truck Racing champion for the evening. The driver was gracious, appreciative, and did a lot of talking directly to the crowd. After he was awarded his trophy, he grabbed the microphone in order to announce he was going to give the trophy away to the biggest Monster Energy fan he could find. The driver actually went into the crowd, gave the trophy away, and posed for pictures!! No major professional athlete is doing that. If you weren’t lucky enough to catch a driver in the stands, they provided a free autograph session after the event, which was announced several times during the show.
How are you creating value in your line of work? Are you providing an actual experience or emotion that is difficult to duplicate? From my perspective the Advanced Auto Parts Monster Jam can answer yes to these questions with confidence and integrity. We left the event after having a great time, some strong male bonding, and enlightened on how to compete on a Ford budget while racing against a Porsche.