|Tough Mudder Claims to Be the Toughest Event on the Planet
By: Cindy Wendland
The race season is beginning in the Midwest. It’s time to register for events and bump up the training. Some people will run 5Ks, others will participate in triathlons and marathons, and yet others will try the Tough Mudder.
The Tough Mudder is an obstacle course where participants are exposed to potentially dangerous situations such as barbed wire, electricity, ice-water swimming, and running through fire. Apparently life is too tame, because that is the appeal of this event.
The founder, a Harvard grad, got bored with his job with the British government chasing terrorists, so he started a company. He felt marathons were terribly organized (and boring!) which created an opportunity for him, so he combined endurance training and a team event. Ask your circle of friends and you may find some who have participated. It is a natural offshoot of all the reality shows that bombard the TV networks. People watch Survivor and want a taste of it for themselves, so they sign up and pay a somewhat hefty entry fee to be subjected to small amounts of torture.
The beauty of the branding is that the founder exploited a niche market and with a $300 website and a $20 Facebook ad created some social chatter. He used $8,000 in advertising for the first event and from there went on generate revenues of over $200 million.
Their brand focuses on experience marketing where people want to share and brag. These experiences create a loyal following and draw more people to the next event. We’ve seen people participate in the Tough Mudder that have never participated in events before. The website is engaging and utilizes a “Tough Enough” quiz to get people involved. They can also send e-cards inviting friends to be teammates.
The Tough Mudder is not for everyone, and they like it that way. If those of you who do like it need a little or a lot of drama to help balance your lives, this is for you. The Tough Mudder is a niche product that has been successfully branded in a short period of time. Kudos!
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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