August 10, 2021 | Case Study
About our client
The Maine Marathon is the largest annual event of the Maine Track Club. In 2016, entering its 26th year, a new race director took over and was eager to update the brand. The event donates over $100,000 to Maine charities each year, and they wanted to increase their charitable giving by boosting race registrations and attracting more partnerships.
Visible Logic updated the brand identity, revamped the website, and used email marketing and social media to achieve a record-breaking increase in signups.
In a world increasingly filled with glitzy half marathons, triathlons, and color runs, the Maine Marathon had been experiencing a decrease in race registrations for the past two years.
The long-time race director and existing volunteer team had focused on executing a great race day experience. Still, they had not prioritized having a professional brand image or actively marketing the event to potential participants. The logo looked dated and didn’t accurately convey the quality of the event.
The website contained a lot of information but was difficult to navigate, and information was not always current. Marketing efforts to potential participants were limited, and communication to registrants missed opportunities to activate their core customers. Social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter were neglected, so potential runners weren’t reminded to sign up for this.
Starting with a survey of the Maine Marathon leadership team, Visible Logic identified several key qualities that made the Maine Marathon appealing and different from other events. Although identified as important to the leadership team, these valuable traits were getting lost in a sea of information when communicated to runners.
Visible Logic helped the Maine Marathon refine its positioning: the race is a volunteer-run event that benefits the community. This clarity helped us to target potential runners with a compelling value proposition. A new logo backed up by a redesigned website, a detailed twice-monthly email strategy, and social media campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram were the mediums chosen to create a cohesive marketing effort.
The goal of the updated logo design was to communicate at a glance that this was a modern event in a beautiful place at arguably the best time of year. One of the most notable things about the Maine Marathon course is the start and finish around Portland’s Back Cove—this was alluded to in the logo and the colors of the fall foliage. The typeface chosen for the event name is reminiscent of classic Maine signs without being old-fashioned or derivative.
The Maine Marathon website was the priority after the completion of the logo. Driving potential runners to the website for more information meant ensuring that information was accurate and easy to access. Visible Logic also refined the registration process on RunSignUp, leading to a dramatic increase in donations to the Maine Marathon’s charity of choice.
Mail on the Mark, Visible Logic’s email marketing platform, was used to promote registration, pre-race events, and special offers to prospective and signed-up runners. A total of 8 e-newsletters reached almost 12,000 people, and notable increases in registration occurred after each was sent.
Tying the content to registration activities, including price increases and event-specific dates, ensured that the emails were of interest to both runners who had already signed up and those who might be thinking about doing so.
We also sent the first-ever “virtual goodie bag” to runners that had coupons and special offers. There was an incredible 70% open rate on that email to 3000+ registered participants.
Visible Logic built out a social media plan and worked with the Maine Marathon to implement it with the active assistance of Maine Marathon volunteers. Visible Logic provided graphics and coordinated timelines to ensure that social media promotion was integrated with other campaigns.
Visible Logic designed and provided design guidance on a wide range of event swag, starting with training shirts on sale several months before the event. Many items were created using the new logo in this first year of a new brand identity, including print ads, signage, items for sale, runner t-shirts, and goodie bags.
Visible Logic has continued to support the race for multiple years, seeing an increase in registration every year. Our strategy helped lead to a record 3,841 registrations for the 2019 race.
- The updated brand was extremely well received by both the Maine Marathon team and the running public. Sales of merchandise were very strong, with many runners purchasing more than one item at the pre-race expo or on race day.
- The e-newsletters had a very high open rate and registration spiked after each one was sent.
- All social media accounts had a notable increase in followers as well.
- In addition, the amount donated by runners to charity increased dramatically.