Calling all Marketing Gurus
Hi guys and gals!
We all love our Mountain Cycles. I'd love to see the company grow and put bikes under more of my fellow riders, especially the ladies. I was brainstorming a little with John K. about ways to advertise without laying out much of anything in the way of cash. We probably have a pretty good collection of brainpower and resources to draw on from our "real world" careers and experiences. Let's put our heads together a bit.
How can we get the word out about the MC brand? Does anyone have industry connections that might be useful for co-branding. Maybe a print ad for a company that makes mountain bike clothing featuring a rider in their togs on a Fury or something else MC; a group of volunteers to organize group "road rides" or groups to ride around at bike races on our killer mountain bikes with riders decked out in MC jerseys (one of John's great ideas).
Do you marketing geniuses have other ideas that put Mountain Cycle more in the public eye (in a favorable light, of course) without costing mucho $$$? Aside from great ideas, we need to actually do some of these things. Anyone in San Diego want to come out and scare the roadies with me? Just kidding - some of my best friends are roadies.
Take it away, folks!
I've got plenty of ideas about how we can spread the word but co-ordinating everything seems to be the issue.
A logical first step would be the construction of a fanbase street team or brand ambassadors that attend events (as you suggest) on the bikes, wearing the gear, handing out stickers, socks, goodies. It doesn't need to be anything expensive at all but a little goes a long way.
I did chat with John @ Sea Otter & have tossed this idea Kriens way about a dual branded party / fundraiser for IMBA after attending the Freedom Riders premiere and seeing how much they raised for a great cause (as well as increasing brand awareness a significant amount). Everyone likes a party and if you get a beer sponsor (Anderson Valley Brewing Co. spring to mind as a change to New Belgium) then costs can be kept really reasonable, everyone has a great time and everybody wins.
I've got another idea that I'm currently putting into effect for the site but I don't really want to discuss that on the open forum just yet so if you want to drop me an email or a PM we can discuss it further.
Have a great weekend!
I know one of the problems is a perception that MC bikes are outdated for some reason. I have a blast with my San An around Bootleg, but am told regularly by LBS persons that, my bike has been around too long, and it can't possibly handle good or be fun to ride.
That same shop is selling Santa Cruz single pivots...
MC is fighting millions in marketing hype.
I will say this though, MC got quite a cheer when they were mentioned at the St. Patties day race. It was during the awards ceremony that, that happened.
I also talked to people that got their start in downhill racing, on San An Classics years ago and they are still fond of MC.
One person at the race and one since, have told me they wish they had never gotten rid of their San Ans.
They need more public reviews.
Mountain Biking UK is doing some reviews, so that should help.
A US rag should do a review or two.
A few freebies at events would be nice.
Communist Party Member Since 1917.
Is there also a perception that Mountain Cycle is not "high end" enough? Some geek at an LBS told me they didn't carry many "lower end" frames when I asked him about new Shockwave and Fury frames. He didn't win the tact award that day with me.
Is my totally custom rig, which costs more than I like to think about with all the bits and pieces, "low end"? Is this an isolated thing, or do people really think Mountain Cycles are cheaper/lesser than other comparable bikes?
I'm curious, is the "geek" kind of young?
Originally Posted by brishette
The younger they are, the more likely they will start spouting ad hype.
The comments I've heard, are based on a perception of "lesser" I think.
I think the Fury is very comparable to a Santa Cruz Heckler.
I don't downhill, so I can't comment on the Shockwave and what it compares to.
The DHS is a bit tall, but I love mine for riding over obstacles at Bootleg.
The DHS is also very reliable.
Despite the age of the design, the San An Classic is better than something like a Jamis Dakar XLT. I know, I owned one of those turds...
The irony is that, I bought my "Classic" as a temporary bike to replace my Dakar. I've never thought seriously of replacing it since.
I've had a chance to ride enough different all mountain designs, that I can honestly say, some are better than the Classic in some ways, usually only one way, but not usually as an overall bike.
That despite the age of the original design.
Older riders have more respect for MC I've noticed. They've been around longer and know how many things MC brought to the table. Disc brakes are one of those things.
One of the first frames, that could truly be free ridden, is another.
Communist Party Member Since 1917.
I'm not sure it's an image problem with MC as much as it is a nostalgia problem. Riders of a 'certain age' will remember MC and the San Andy for being unique - I still remember the excitement we all felt at my old LBS when one of our customers came in with a Moho she'd purchased elsehwere - it was a Mountain Cycle!
Now there are companies like Trek, Specialized, Marin, Giant etc all churning out 10's of thousands of reliable long travel platforms for under $1500 all up and sponsoring all the cool guys & girls you see in the videos and persuading everyone a suspension platform needs to change every year to be worthwhile.
MC can't be expected to compete with that kind of marketing or development budget - nor should they be expected to.
However, I think one of the main problems is that people aren't really aware that MC are back and for those that are aware they've kind of lost their unique spot in the marketplace. The MBUK review will help (assuming they can get past the fact it's not a Specialized - I'm not hopeful) in so far as getting the word out again but there are a couple of things that I think need to be addressed soon:
1) The Shockwave won a World Championship in 2007 making MC of the smallest brands to have done so in recent times. Something needs to be made of this!
2) MC no longer have a unique product or take on the MTB market - these days nearly everyone makes a hardcore hardtail, 'play' bike, long travel trail / AM bike and a big hit rig. I know it's not easy to expand a bike range but with a larger range or far more unique / niche bikes you attract more attention and potential riders to the brand. 29er? 69er? 650b? MTB touring? Belt drive? Rohloff? These are just some of the niches that are ripe for exploration.
The direct selling model is a great idea for offering increased value to the customer but I still believe that for a brand like MC which isn't budget (by any stretch of the imagination) like On-One or can sell on reputation alone like some of the boutique brands that it's very difficult to persuade someone to purchase something as sizeable and personal as a bike without handling it first. Even if that's just looking over the welding (which is fantastic, by the way) in a store. A dealer network may not be easy to build (especially given the amount of stock that would require at the beginning of a season) but it will serve to increase brand awareness (nothing does that better than floor space) and legitimise the brand in the eyes of the consumer.
I agree with everything being said here...
I think the best way to spread the word is to keep riding your MC.
Let me start by saying there are "really" no other MC bikes in my area, So I have people stopping me often to ask questions. This is great because just by having people ask the questions means they are at least semi interested LOL
I do my best to answer their questions, and will let people try my bike if they want.
One problem is The 2 questions I get asked most often is...
(1) "I heard they went out of business" This one is easy to answer and I try to pass along the new contact info.
(2) "I heard they crack" UGH!!! This one is usually asked by older riders who have heard all the nightmares about the Sin, and takes a little longer to answer. I try to explain the Kinesis fiasco and inform them that the other models have a much better reliability record
So to make a long story short, I think the best way to spread the word (for free ) is to.. Be friendly,ride your bike,learn as much as you can about the history of the brand, (good and bad) and tell anyone who shows interest as much as you can.
Or you could just put Mountain Cycle stickers on every trailhead sign you see.. JUST KIDDING!!!!!!!!
Ha! He was probably between 21 and 25, which is young to an oldie like me at the ripe age of 32
I wanted my San An the first time I saw it. I looked at all the bike mags and narrowed it down my other manufacturer options to Foes, Chumba, and Intense - so cost wasn't a real issue for this purchase.
When I learned that the San An was the first of its kind and was still around (with improvements like the stable platform shock), I was decided. I had the bike built in 2006 with a 2005 frame - one of the last, I hear.
These are great ideas and feedback!
LOL Your reason for buying the San An is basically the same as why most of us own Mountain Cycle's. "Well us old people anyway"
Originally Posted by brishette
I can still remember the first time I saw a San Andreas ad in a mountain bike magazine in the early 90's.
There was nothing else like it at the time and there still isn't!!!!
So far, I'm like the "other" Eric. I agree with everything being said.
Maybe some people from S. California should come out to Bootleg Canyon, and help me change the "BC" on the mountain to "MC".
On second thought, the FAA won't like that too much...
Contrary to popular Boulder City myth, the BC is an aviation marker for light aircraft pilots, indicating they are approaching Boulder City, not an abbreviation for Bootleg Canyon.
I had a feeling, that Geek Man was kind of young.
Communist Party Member Since 1917.
Originally Posted by mcrumble69
I still have a magazine from WAY back in the day (mid 90's) that has a book mark on a San An advertisement. I had written down my build kit & costs on the book mark... It only took another 6 years to buy it It was love at first sight
LMAO It's been about 17 years for me and I still don't have a San An..
Originally Posted by MC9.5
One of these days
I have a ton of ideas, and although you all don't want to hear it, the first is to bury the San An. It is a great bike, but it's run its course. As long as they still insist on producing it there will always be the perception of nostalgia/dated-ness tied to the company (and rightly so). Also, the frames made in 2009 are essentially the same as the ones shown in my 2005 catalog (maybe older than that), except for the Battery. Time for exciting/new/fresh or they simply won't be relevant. It will take more than just groups riding around in a bunch of downhill jerseys to change perceptions/get new riders, but hey I'm all for any means to get the word out. Since the beginnings of mountain biking there have been niches carved out, and MC is simply targeting one, DH (say what you will, anyone who I've EVER talked to who's heard of MC says "they make DH bikes right?"). There are so many more out there for MC to carve out a name for themselves.
But like ride559 said, the nostalgia is part of the problem. Younger/new riders just don't care about that stuff.
Also, it's hard for me to advertise MC by riding my bike because they no longer make an XC bike and XC riders/racers are not interested in DH. Why they got out of XC and Cross is beyond me.
Mountain Cycle Zen
Mountain Cycle Moho STS