4 Melbourne Cup Marketing Tactics for Small Businesses

  • You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in a more cheerful mood this side of Christmas than at the Melbourne Cup 2019.
  • Sweepstakes can be a good way for local bars to stir up interest and generate a little extra income, though it's not limited to customers.
  • Whatever your nature of business, by decorating your premises you can attract customers and tourists for whom you may be helping form lasting memories.

With Melbourne Cup Day rapidly approaching as part of the 2019 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, opportunities are ripe for small businesses to capitalize on what is a public holiday in Melbourne and parts of the wider Victoria area. It isn’t called the Race that Stops a Nation for nothing; put in the extra work while other places may be closed and you could give your business a vital advantage.

The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s most famous annual Thoroughbred horse race. It is a 3200-metre race for three-year-olds and over, conducted by the Victoria Racing Club on the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria as part of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival. It is the richest “two-mile” handicap in the world, and one of the richest turf races. The event starts at 3pm on the first Tuesday in November and is known locally as “the race that stops a nation”.

This is a sporting celebration unlike any other in Australia, and it only comes around once a year. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in a more cheerful mood this side of Christmas than at the Melbourne Cup 2019, so here are four useful marketing tactics for small businesses to bear in mind for taking full advantage of the day itself:

1. Betting odds and sweepstakes

Due to the sheer publicity of major sporting events, everyone likes to have a punt on potential winners; even those who wouldn’t otherwise dream of gambling. Betting on Melbourne Cup horses is as popular as you’d expect.

Whether they’re just picking a random number or name to take a chance on, or thinking more seriously about how they can big, customers and employees are likely to take a keen interest in betting odds.

In addition, sweepstakes can be a good way for local bars to stir up interest and generate a little extra income, though it’s not limited to customers. These also represent a popular way to boost team morale in an office environment.

2. Themed dishes and/or drinks

A big one for bars and restaurants. Regular customers will enjoy this for sure, but tourists, in particular, will absolutely love the sense of communal fun created by themed beverages and meals.

Psychologically they’re also more likely to splash out a little more to try something they wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to enjoy.

Even if it’s little more than a simple modification of an otherwise common drink or meal, this can help give the impression of it being a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience.

The Melbourne Cup has a long tradition, with the first race held in 1861. It was originally over two miles (3.219 km) but was shortened to 3,200 metres (1.988 mi) in 1972 when Australia adopted the metric system. This reduced the distance by 18.688 metres (61.312 ft), and Rain Lover’s 1968 race record of 3:19.1 was accordingly adjusted to 3:17.9. The present record holder is the 1990 winner Kingston Rule with a time of 3:16.3.

3. Decorations

It may seem obvious, but customers of all kinds like to feel part of the celebration and enjoy a cultivation of atmosphere surrounding it. Whatever your nature of business, by decorating your premises you can attract customers and tourists for whom you may be helping form lasting memories, not only of the Melbourne Cup but of the surrounding community as well.

This could be as simple as advertising the event itself, including the Melbourne Cup start time and other basic but essential information. Plus, make it distinctive enough so that when they’re telling friends and family about their Melbourne Cup Day experience, they’re likely to mention your name. It could lead to more consistent business in future.

4. Focus on History

People generally love a history lesson from unlikely sources. Whatever your nature of business, you can attract customers by going the extra mile to offer them some historical context of the event or of Melbourne itself.

It isn’t difficult to get someone on a small team to spend an afternoon doing a bit of research, think of how it links back to the work you do, and produce flyers or some other interesting form of communication that can attract people subconsciously to your business… All by using the context of the Melbourne Cup and its rich, varied history as the initial hook.

The Final Thoughts

Of course, there are plenty of other ideas we’re sure you could come up with to market your business effectively during the Melbourne Cup. These are just a small glimpse of the potential for increased profits and awareness during a yearly sporting event. Grasp the opportunity – but most importantly, try to enjoy the occasion at the same time!

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Tatiana Higgins

Tatiana is a passionate content creator. She spends times reading books, exploring the world and finding inspiration to become a better version of herself. 


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