A day before thousands of Trek retailers’ eyes widened, I walked into the expo hall and balanced a 10.25lb Émonda road bike on my index finger with a stunned chuckle. Trek’s yearly retailer gathering and product release taught me that it’s not just the engineering department going above and beyond. Here are four things I learned at Trek World that Retailer Marketers should note:
Page 2 in your Tour de France glossary: a peloton is a pack of riders – they draft behind each other to save precious energy while the entire group moves along at top speed. When a team is operating optimally like this, everyone benefits. Same result in small business. If your sales staff understands every aspect of the product they sell, they’re pulling their weight. If an owner miscalculates a monthly budget or a bike tech can’t quickly true a wheel, things get rocky quickly. Trek offers their retailers a myriad of tools within the Trek University program to become product “Ninjas” or masters of small business operations. Taking this up to a brand level, when retailers have fantastic skills and tools, they can accomplish tasks confidently. Well-run businesses anchor the Trek peloton.
Every “Social Media 2.0” seminar was packed; standing-room-only packed. The returning speaker, Patrick Scwerdtfeger, delivered evolving insight into trends across digital marketing. After the session I spoke with several retailers from different backgrounds and learned that even the best know they can do more in the online space if they had the time. Some still lack basic understanding of internet lingo, trends, and best practices. My takeaway? If a brand wants all their retailers promoting them on Twitter during their local event, for example, they need to offer incentives to some and coaching to others. When the brand is a generous teacher, retailers are quick to return the good will.
There were two moments during the keynote address where the volume of the applause was highest. The first was during the final seconds of Fabian Cancellara sprinting flat-out to a wild three-peat victory at the Tour of Flanders. [Take a breath after watching that.] The second was as the awards for Retailers of The Year were given out. Is it just the nature of cyclists to unselfishly support each other? Maybe. But I believe there’s a deeper understanding among this tight knit family – one that readily acknowledges hard work, be it on asphalt or an office desk. When given a challenge, cyclists push to be the best. I’ve seen this drive carried through to digital marketing. Trek retailers using Promoboxx are presented with a scoreboard showing how potent their businesses’ social media efforts are in comparison to their peers. Ask my teammates – they’re constantly looking for tips on how to improve their standing.
Trek is spearheading a campaign called People For Bikes that aims to increase political advocacy for bike-friendly road and trail programs across the United States. While selling more bikes is an obvious goal, challenging retailers to work towards making America a safer and more active cycling country benefits everyone. By leveraging a local retailer’s social media following to earn new signatures, new volunteers, and new riders, Trek is showing that hashtag activism can still be #credible.