After many years with a previous distributor, Continental Tyres moved their Australian bicycle tyre distribution to TMO Sports in November 2017.
Continental also updated their mountain bike tyre range about 12 months ago. Continental has been a very strong road tyre brand here for many years, but TMO Sports was finding it tough to gain mountain bike tyre traction with dealers who already stocked other well established MTB tyre brands.
“To get away from the old run of tyres and to make sure people new how well the new tyres worked we thought it would be the best way to get genuine feedback from normal customers,” explained National Sales and Marketing Manager Alex Kingston.
“We wanted to connect with the guy that goes out on the weekend and has fun. Not necessarily a guy who works in a bike shop or a pro racer who gets everything for free.”
To reach these end users, TMO Sports built a campaign around Instagram and Facebook. They planned to give away 60 pairs of tyres in return for social media engagement.
“We had a month long sign up campaign and those interested had to tell us a bit about themselves and their cycling,” Alex continued. “It wasn’t a competition, but it was a selection process. We had a huge amount of responses. We paid Flow Media do a bunch of social media posts and put it in their EDM (electronic direct mail). We also paid for Instagram and Facebook boosting of posts. In terms of Instagram, we reached about 15,000 people through the campaign.
“It was a big job to look through all the responses. We selected people who had good social media profile, plenty of people following them and were putting up lots of good photos.
The people we selected got a pair of MTB tyres of their choice. Continental have two ranges, the Pure Grip and Black Chilli are the premium tyres, made in Germany.
Pretty much everyone picked the German made tyres! (These retail for around $110 to $120 per tyre.)
“We also let them have up to two more pairs of tyres that they could purchase over the next 12 months at a discount rate so that they could buy a pair for their riding buddy, partner, for when they wear out their free pair or whatever.”
This application process ran through July and TMO Sports sent the first sets of tyres out from 15th August. So now that three months have passed, how well has this campaign worked?
“It’s tricky to monitor the media we’re getting,” Alex conceded. “We asked them to tag us and to write a short review of the tyres, and also to send us a couple of photos directly.
We also gave them the correct relevant hashtags for Continental, Continental Australia, Conti Test Krew – so we could see what they were posting.
“We’re getting about a dozen posts a week with us being tagged in some form or another. We’ve been sent heaps of photos, which is really cool, because it’s not just one photo of one rider on one track that we’ve spend a fortune on. It’s genuine end user responses to the tyres. They guys who have got them are genuinely happy to give some feedback.
“They’ve followed us, we’ve followed them back so we can see them come through our feed and then retagged them when they’ve forgotten to tag us.
“We launched Continental Bike Tyres Australia, which is our local Instagram, this January with no-one. We’re consistently growing. We’re now at 425 followers, which isn’t huge, but without this campaign, we might still be at 50-odd. We have another 352 followers on Facebook.
“It was a reasonable amount of work to get the campaign started and pick the 60 people. It was a bit more work than we expected to pick them because there were so many good applications. We picked people from all around Australia. I didn’t want to have everyone riding Manly Dam in Sydney, so we’ve got people in NT, WA, Tassie. Some of them had around 500 followers. A couple had 1,500 and a couple had even more. Six degrees of separation is the theory behind this. If I’m a mountain biker, I might not know those guys but ‘I know people who know people how know that guy.’
“And a bunch of them travel as well so last week we got photos from Derby when a group went down to Tassie. There are a few guys riding the South East Queensland Enduro Series and one of our guys just won his age category. All of that is good for credibility, which is what we want to build to increase our sales of Continental mountain bike tyres.
“Stores who have not stocked our product in the past have said, ‘Why would I stock your product when no-one asks about it?’ But now we’ve had customers walking into stores who don’t stock our product saying, ‘I’ve heard about Continental Tyres. Do you have any?’
So hopefully the store will think, ‘Maybe we should look into this.’ And then talk with us about an appropriate range to stock. That side of it is slow.
Alex concluded that it’s still too early to say if their new marketing strategy has been a complete success.
“It’s going to take a while,” he predicted. “We signed these guys up for a 12 month cycle. Sometime next year we’ll decide if we do something similar again.”
To see more of this campaign via social media links:
Visit Continental Bike Tyres Australia on Instagram
#ContiTestKrew #GetTheGrip #PureGrip #BlackChili