The Rise of the Experiential Consumer

As Running USA 2013: The Industry Conference wraps up this week, Dave Alberga, ACTIVE’s Executive Chairman, shares with us a few thoughts on how he see’s the endurance industry growing and evolving, and how ACTIVE is evolving with it.

The participant landscape is changing and we are witnessing what I like to call the rise of the experiential consumer.

We live in the “Go Pro” era where everyone wants to be a hero in their own movie—more and more money is being spent in search of experiences that can serve as the backdrop for that movie.

Whether it’s the Spokane Hoopfest or the surge of play in adult sport and social clubs or the hyper-social Mob eventsexperience is the new luxury.

If you had told me a year ago that a 5K series would capture the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of participants by throwing colored corn starch on them as they ran, I would have said that you were crazy….and I would have been wrong.

We need to think differently to grow. Endurance events are not in a “start up” phase anymore. Even in the more traditional endurance categories like running, we see experiential consumers fueling growth. Cause-related participation has gone way up, the average marathon time has risen by 30% over the past 10 years, and women have gone from representing less than 20% of half marathon fields in 2000 to almost 60% in 2012.

To embrace this shifting landscape of event and participant needs, we’re encouraging event directors to look for ways to build a quality experience not just for the athlete, but for their family and friends who support and travel with them. When you turn your event into a social experience for everyone, you’ll organically get more involvement and growth.

Learn specific ways in which to create this social atmosphere on our endurance blog.  However you decide to do it, the most important thing to remember is to make your event an experience to remember, and make it social.

I wish you the best of luck in 2013 and look forward to seeing you again at Running USA 2014!