episode 86: *special episode* shifting channels in the specialty bicycle market

“Not making [the focus of the customers’ experience with the bike] about cost, [but] making it about what’s right for you, what you’re looking for and what you need, changes the purchasing decision quite fundamentally.”

– Ashely Korenblat, Founder of Outerbike

To listen to all episodes in this series, click here

EPISODE PREVIEW:

Part 6: The Event Imperative: Can Outerbike (and Others) Save an Industry?

Sixth in a series on the evolution of channels in the bike market and cycling community, co-presented by Verde Brand Communications + Bicycle Retailer & Industry News

Today, I’m joined by Ashley Korenblat, the founder of OuterBike (and a host of other VERY impressive titles). The first OuterBike was a relatively radical idea: Instead of giving consumers the opportunity to demo a bike in a few circles around the parking lot, bring the bikes to iconic trails the consumer wants to ride.

For the first Outerbike, Ashley called in all sorts of personal favors and connections to get brands to bring their fleets to Moab, Utah, on their way home from Interbike. A decade later, Outerbike has expanded to four incredible riding destinations and is a pilgrimage for thousands of enthusiast cycling consumers.

Over the course of those 10 years,

From the point of OuterBike’s launch to today, consumer research and purchasing practices are completely evolved. Today, it’s a battle for their attention. And because the bike market is comprised of specialty brands and businesses, we don’t compete on price, or even convenience for that matter.

That’s why consumer events are so imperative to the health of the specialty bike business today. The beauty of an effective consumer event is that it taps into the very reasons—the very heart—of what makes the tribe happen, the very passion for the activity itself. In OuterBike’s case, it’s bikes, riding, and trails.

Because the consumer is the center of our universe today, are consumer events the way forward to a prosperous, much larger and inclusive bike market and community? Yes! Consumer events are not only one of the most powerful ways to connect with your consumer, they are a downright a lifeline for the cycling industry.

Ashley has more than proven the concept of this good idea and expanded it into a launch pad for advocacy, for collaboration, for sales, and for a kick-ass and inclusive experience. OuterBike has the dual role of being a leading consumer event in cycling today, but one that’s also tied closely to the trade. You do not want to miss this episode.

GUEST PROFILES:

Ashley Korenblat

Ashley Korenblat is the CEO of Western Spirit, founder of Outerbike, and managing director of Public Lands Solutions

TOPICS COVERED:

Bike industry, consumer events, Moab cycling, Bentonville trails, advocacy, theater of the brand, building emotional connections with consumers, inclusivity

SELECT QUOTES:

“There’s room for lots of different types of consumer events. What we’re focused on is really uniting the bikes, the people and the place.”

“Not making [the focus of the customers’ experience with the bike] about cost, [but] making it about what’s right for you, what you’re looking for and what you need, changes the purchasing decision quite fundamentally.”

“We’re creating a really memorable weekend for them. Even in the early days when we didn’t have it quite right. I remember one guy coming up to me, and he was like I missed lunch two days in a row, I had to wait forty-five minutes for a shuttle, and it was the greatest weekend ever. The memory and experience they have of really, finally being invited to the party.”

“We don’t want to just be for the cool kids. We’re working really hard to make it welcoming and to make it clear that this event is for everyone, no matter what point you are in your cycling journey.”

“We all need land protection. And if we don’t join together, the oil companies that win because they have more lobbyists.”

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