(Source: Savage Chickens)

By Hans Ebert
Chairman and CEO
Fast Track Global and WE-Enhance Inc

Is horse racing being effectively marketed? Or is it being marketed at all? What do you think?

There are no easy answers as it’s bogged down with so many other hurdles before arriving at what is being incorrectly called “marketing” when, in actuality, it’s tepid promotional work.


(Source: Spear Marketing)

Some have asked why horse racing is dismissed by many as a mugs game, but why equestrian events are all class and, as has been pointed out by some, as being the only event in the Olympics where males and females compete on an equal level.


(Source: Olympic Equestrian Fans)

Can horse racing ever become an Olympics event and why does racing only become “respectable” when one wears top hat and tails and the Queen waves to the mugs/crowds?

Well, it’s all about perception, isn’t it and the perception of horse racing must change.


(The Hindu)

One can look at the surge in popularity of basketball as an example of great promotional work and marketing for turning the sport into a multi billion dollar business with sponsors throwing money at it and with television rights and merchandising adding to the coffers of the NBA and changing the per ception for largely young black kids.

Sure, the sport had giants of the game like Magic Johnson, white boy Larry Bird and the brilliance of the charismatic Michael Jordan.


(Source: Funny Or Die)

There was also astute marketing which brought in hip sponsors like Nike and Adidas to the game along with the Hollywood crowd and then married the sport and the players with the Hip Hop community and music.


(Source: IMGUR)

With Jack Nicholson sitting in the front row of every Lakers game and today, Jay-Z having bought into basketball, it’s a glamor sport. The Kardashashians and the Obamas being fans of the teams and the players haven’t hurt the game. Who are the celebrity fans of horse racing?


(Source: O Chair Ball)

Also look how International the sport has become and how effectively it’s been marketed and promoted in China led by David Stern and his NBA team and certainly helped by the success of Yao Ming- on and off centre court.

To think that a two decades ago, Chinese consumers wouldn’t even buy music by a Black artist. Today, look at the popularity of Lebron James and other NBA players.


(Source: Yao Mingmania)


(Source: Times of Malta)

It has been very focused promotional work- relentless and savvy and which captured the mood of the times.


(Source: China Daily)

Refusing to change with the times is where the marketing of racing gets the wobbles: For some reason, many in marketing at racing clubs are somewhat weak hires- no superstars, but where average will do- and who are reactive more than proactive and which leads to short-term plans and knee-jerk reactions.


(Source: Account Ancy Age)

It’s much like those hired in many music companies and ad agencies where armies of people focus on a priority release by an artist or a client’s major campaign for three months, respectively, think their job is done and can then go about the rest of the year being busy looking busy until somewhere along the line the shit hits the fan, the jig’s up and artists or clients leave the building together with Elvis.


(Source: Matthew Childers)

Same at many racing clubs where everyone and their puppies go barking mad about a Spring or Summer or Autumn festival or major Cup day after which they are content to make it up with bibs and bobs and run around like headless chickens. It might look good, but it leads nowhere. It’s just high anxiety.


(Source: Eating Sleeping And All That)

It’s also lazy, hazy Nat King Cole marketing. But marketing is not the sole reason for this problem.

Much of the blame lies in the hiring process which means the Human Resource person or people- and with many having their own agendas in the hiring process- to which I ask, what makes someone a GOOD HR person and what exactly are THEIR qualifications?


(Source: Cartoon Stock)

Looking at racing clubs, especially those in Oz, what you have is an Old Boys Club with limited membership.


(Source: Cartoon Stock)

What this means is a never-ending game of musical chairs on an Executive level with a couple of puppet masters pulling the strings and putting their chosen puppets in control of other clubs and ivory towers and made to follow Old School agendas.

For these agendas to work, sycophantic Human Resources people are hired to do their bidding and which leads to weak hires and The Peter Principle aka The Not So Great Principle.


(Source: Cartoon Stock)

Does marketing really matter to them or is it too insignificant a subject to be concerned about and a process that is too long-term to bother about?

What IS this “marketing” anyway and what does it have to do with horse racing and punting? Everything.


(Source: Hqwall)

And so, racing is allowed to carry on in the same old ways with the same old people communicating with the same old people. As the great Steve Jobs proved, age is a frame of mind -and what racing needs is new-fashioned thinking no matter how young or old one is.


(Source: Digital Trends)

Some of the oldest thinking has come young minds with no ack of Mentos to guide them. They’re just thrown into the deep end and sink.


(Source: Rita Keller)

The wheel was broke a long time ago, but no one stopped to fix it and which has led to a few cosmetic changes- a DJ, some ‘live’ music and thinking this will mean newbies coming through the turnstiles. They will- but not on any regular basis.

This is where the HKJC are lengths ahead with its Happy Wednesday brand and which brings in around 16,000 people EVERY Wednesday and a REGULAR turnover of close to HK$1 BILLION.


(Source: HKJC)

This Happy Wednesday brand is evolving. It has to as consumers demand change whereas the gaming world holds a buffet of choices.

As in The Art Of War, know your enemy and these days, there are so many after the same consumer dollar in th at rapid ds the current and next generation of those which every industry needs to keep their businesses afloat in this DIY world.


(Source: Tumblr)

Racing clubs can learn much from the decline of music companies: No one can take anything for granted and consumers can smell arrogance and fear and also fake attempts at wooing them.

It’s a turn off and just one mistake means losing them forever. And with social media at their fingertips, no longer is any publicity good publicity.


(Source: Madison Who’s Who)

Bottom line: In 2013, why is there only ONE powerful woman in the global racing world- Gai Waterhouse?


(Source: Punters)

Is there some invisible glass ceiling which prevents females from going furt her? Who ARE the powerful female execs in racing? Are there any and, if not, why not?


(Source: The Star)

Where are the real game changers in horse racing- across the board- including the racing media mafia which is still made up of the same old same olds communicating with each other these days thinking they have entered some Brave New World as they are finally on twitter and and Instagram. Forget Instagram.


(Source: Flickr)

Where are the business partnerships with other brands after the same consumer market?

More than anything else, racing clubs cannot afford to be dysfunctional and with warring internal factions and politics hurting teamwork.


(Souce: Boag World)

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and it’s time now to cut off these links which only “help” to create a petty, bitchy and demotivating atmosphere in the process and acute paranoia.


(Source: Jai English Blog)

Perhaps with these weak links and hurdles cleared, there will be a clear path towards creating a healthy and far more creative environment and which will attract the next generation of race-goers for all the right reasons along with sponsors as partners and with whom new revenue streams can be built.


(Source: Look To Give)

It’s happening in Hong Kong, Singapore is trying though bogged down by the Thug Factor, Japan is happy being very Japanese, the UK is slowly getting it whereas Oz is still looking for real leadership and with the current mob simply not up to standard.

The bloke below? A game changer? Puhleeeze!


(Source: SMH)