RaceNation is a platform for event organisers to manage registration, participation and fundraising in mass participation sporting events. They’ve been tenants at our centre in Falmer since 2016 and have become a valued part of our community – even hiring two graduate members of our Catalyst Team in full-time roles along the way! Director Will Golder has overseen the technology start-up’s steady growth over the past few years, but 2020 has brought a fresh challenge for the business, as it has done for many in the events sector…

The Challenge: As lockdown began in late March 2020, we called our members for a chat, to understand better how the unprecedented circumstances of the pandemic were affecting their business. During our call with Will, he told us about the upheaval faced by RaceNation’s clients, with all sporting events cancelled until further notice, and little likelihood of mass participation events like marathons and bike rides being able to restart soon, without significant changes to their format. Will explained that the business needed to understand more about their customers’ plans to adapt in light of these significant challenges.

Our Solution: Market Research and Insight Advisor Anne-Fay Townsend, and Research Co-ordinator Eleanor Clapp developed three surveys for RaceNation’s user base, designed to gather specific feedback from event organisers, participants and charities. Our research team also built upon RaceNation’s CRM lists with other relevant contacts sourced through desk-based research, and oversaw the distribution of the survey to as wide an audience as possible.

The insights gleaned from this research project would inform the company’s sales and marketing strategy in two ways; informing the rapid development of new products and services in response to the crisis, and providing the basis for a PR campaign that would showcase the depth of RaceNation’s awareness and understanding of their customers’ needs. The Sussex Innovation researchers carried out the work of analysing the data to draw out headline insights for the campaign.

The Outcome: The survey had a fantastic response, and was completed by more than 2,700 people. The headline findings were reported in industry-leading publications including Third Sector magazine and Sport Business – key titles for some of RaceNation’s biggest potential clients.

“We were delighted to work with Anne-Fay and Eleanor to produce an industry survey during lockdown. The survey served multiple purposes for us – not only helping to inform some pending business and key product decisions, but also informing our whole industry as to the status, mindset and impact caused by recent events. We were extremely pleased with the way the team took the time to understand our industry and the terminology in depth, producing a detailed survey that really felt like it came from us.” – Will Golder, director, RaceNation

What’s Next? The team are looking forward to working with RaceNation on future research projects when traditional mass participation sports events resume, with a view to positioning the business as thought leaders in the industry.

Are you looking to conduct an agile market research project for publicity or to better understand your customer base? Or can we help with anything else, from sales and marketing to business models, investor readiness to bookkeeping? Get in touch here.

Race Nation design and deliver technology solutions for mass-participation sports events such as marathons, triathlons and bike rides.