Business Blog: May 2015

As William Fox-Pitt celebrated a second victory at Badminton Horse Trials yesterday, several hundred exhibitors started packing away their wares after 4 days busy retail trade at Equestrianism’s best attended event. By any standards, Badminton is a  hugely successful marketplace.

Yet why is it that Eventing has not been able to follow other sports in creating a b2b opportunity? After all, there is so much opportunity.

The sport is populated by an affluent demographic of land, property and rural business owners generally living in the countryside and building their entertainment around the horse. This is a market that plenty of businesses aspire to reach: accountants, tax advisers, consultancies, lawyers, land agents & surveyors. The list is considerable.

Farmers, land owners and rural businesses are hungry for information or market intelligence that can improve their trading conditions, and the combination of work and leisure time is a tried and tested method for event managers to win support for what can otherwise be fairly dry material. And Eventing’s great strength is its appeal to both genders; Mister can attend a seminar on farm values, whilst his partner can go shopping (or vice versa).

Some time back, I helped create a seminar for veterinarians, hosted by a pharmaceutical company. The business sold in a market leading product range to veterinary surgeries all over the UK and Ireland. To launch a new product, it created a seminar, with an independent panel of international experts, recruited for their knowledge of the issue. Vets were invited to attend, and to stay for a televised feature of the important Open meeting at Cheltenham, retitled to highlight the product name. Over 600 veterinarians attended the seminar and races, and the credibility of the product and company, and the range of use for the product, were all enhanced as a result among a key target audience.

In such a milieu as Eventing, where so many consumers are engaged in the sport, and hungry for information, why is this opportunity being missed by feed companies explaining superior nutritional regimes, pharmaceutical companies looking to target consumers or the trade, wholesalers looking to launch new products to the retail trade, or professional firms looking to talk to land managers? Indeed, given the leading two 3 day events in the UK are sponsored by 4WD manufacturers, why not use this opportunity to bring together dealers?

Eventing should be as much about b2b as b2c. There’s no shortage of business being done. Let’s do more and build bridges between the sport and business.

Alec Lochore