Sunday, July 31, 2011
Warning: The following post contains "soul-baring" content. Note that I usually don't post that kind of stuff because:
a) I'm a guy
b) I've worked in advertising for 25 years and have become cynical and jaded (though, in all honesty, how much of that can truly be blamed on my chosen profession is up for debate)
c) I'm pretty sure I sold the last remaining pieces of my soul to the devil the first time I had to write for the National Rifle Association account
d) Erika Napoletano bares her soul with more gusto (and more profanity) on her blog than anyone I've ever seen and I'm afraid she'll come stab me if I venture onto her turf too often.
As you might have noticed, I spend a lot of time on bicycles and, as such, I spend a lot of time worrying about bike tires. I have a love-hate relationship with bike tires in that, I love the feel of a fully inflated bike tire as it grips the road as I lean into a sharp turn at speed and the feel that I can roll forever with just a few pedal strokes. However, I hate the fact that bike tires are so expensive (you can spend more than the price of an automobile tire), considering their size (a cross section of a 700c x 23 road bike tire measures around 3", with about .9" of that in contact with the road) and lifespan (1,000 miles on average if you're lucky).
Given all that, many of my phone conversations with my brother and fellow cyclist Ray (pictured above) revolved around finding deals on good bike tires. One of his favorites was the Fortezza Tri-Comp tire made by Vredestein. My bro liked that tire because, "you can gas 'em up to 145 and go!" For the non-cyclist that means you can inflate them to 145 psi, which make them rock hard and reduces rolling resistance. Ray also liked the fact you could often find these tires on sale for about $25 apiece which made them, in his parlance, "practically free!"
Though he swore by these tires for several years, it was only last summer that I had occasion to try a set, after picking up a pair on sale during a visit to Colorado to see Ray. Not surprisingly, as soon as I put them on and gassed 'em up, I was blown away by their performance. I felt like I could fly on them during sprints and slice through turns on sharpened ice skates...
Sadly, my brother Ray passed away last September, just four months after he was diagnosed with two inoperable brain tumors. And, though I carry many wonderful memories of him, it's when I'm riding my bike, watching my wheels spinning, and doing anything and everything I can to not think about the 100° heat that I think of Ray and his words, "Gas 'em up and go!" While he often said that to describe his enthusiasm for a silly set of bike tires, I've realized it can apply not only to cycling, but in life and advertising as well.
Getting the benefits from nice bike tires you can gas up to 145psi takes a bit of work since, once you decide to spend the money, you still have to install them on the rims, slide in the tube, gas em up and, most importantly, pedal the bike. Coincidentally, advertising your business requires time and effort too and, like a bike tire, it can be costly and seemingly not last very long. But once you get an ad plan ready to roll, be it an email campaign, direct mail piece, social media strategy, public relations, print, TV or radio (and/or some combination of all of the above) you still need to push down on the pedals to get the campaign rolling and keep it rolling. And just as the bike ride you take today will aid your fitness on down the line, the ads you run today will pay off in the future when your customer is ready to buy.
In this year's Tour de France as marketing metaphor post, I wrote, "If you stop pedaling a bicycle, ultimately the bike stops rolling. And if you stop peddling your business, sales stop rolling in." However, just as a bike won't roll very well if there's no air in the tires, your sales won't roll without the right vehicle or vehicles to keep your numbers pumped up. Knowing that you need to advertise is one thing. Actually doing it, and doing it right, is what can make or break your company's success. It may take time but, once you find the advertising venues that are right for your business, don't forget to gas 'em up and go!