Here at Wunderkind, we could not be more proud to welcome USA Cycling to the family. CEO Rob DeMartini joined us for an exciting chat about the Olympics, how the organization’s mission is changing and why Wunderkind is set to play a vital role in helping USA Cycling pedal towards future success.
From Olympians to hobby cyclists, USA Cycling is dedicated to championing the sport and its amazing athletes. Founded in 1920, the foundation currently counts over 100,000 members and supports top athletes like Jennifer Valente, the first woman to win Olympic gold for Team USA in track cycling at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Their mission has always been to get pro athletes to do as well as they can—but the organization is now looking to embrace amateur cyclists who are out to have fun with the sport at their own pace. Let’s dive into how USA Cycling supports US athletes at every level and how the brand is navigating this exciting period of transformation.
How Does USA Cycling Support Olympic Athletes?
Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA Cycling is the national governing body for bicycle racing in the United States. The organization provides Olympic and other professional athletes with the training, opportunities, and support needed to thrive in a competitive space. They also have a strong focus on spearheading future champions and nurturing youth athletes—who are, after all, the Olympic winners of tomorrow.
USA Cycling has a solid track record of supporting athletes on their journey to win Olympic gold medals. But they estimate that they need $2.5m in funding for every gold medal they bring home—while being considerably more reliant on private donations than rival nations such as the Dutch and the British, who receive generous state funding. The organization is seeking to increase its funding opportunities in order to compete with these cycling powerhouses. For the first time ever, USA Cycling is also looking to expand their programming and support to amateur cyclists, as well as under-represented communities across the United States.
How Is USA Cycling Transforming?
The brand is currently undergoing an exciting transformational journey with a deeper focus on building a community and appealing to people from diverse backgrounds.
Traditionally, USA Cycling was a compliance product. Similar to how a license is mandatory to drive a car or go hunting, you need to be a member of USA Cycling to compete in cycling races. Every year, USA Cycling sanctions around 2500 regional races and conducts over 20 national championships. It also oversees the Olympic selection process for the cycling sports of road, mountain, track, and BMX.
However, USA Cycling aims to go beyond racing. Their new brand mission aims to build a community every neighborhood cycling enthusiast is proud to be a part of.
CEO Rob DeMartini outlined their new initiative called “We Champion” which aims to make every cyclist feel welcome and encourage young people from disadvantaged or less traditional backgrounds to take up the sport.
What are the Challenges Facing USA Cycling?
There are around 250,000 racers who participate in both sanctioned and unsanctioned races in the US, which limits USA Cycling’s target audience and funding opportunities. By contrast, over 7 million people identify as “cyclists” and love to ride, if not competitively.
The organization is hoping to appeal more to everyday cyclists and aims to turn 15% of those 7 million into members and donors.
In the words of Rob DeMartini, “we’re about more than racing. Even if you’re not into racing, we still want you in the club. If getting on a bike and having fun with your friends and family is part of what you do, you should know who we are.”
A key challenge will be finding the right messaging to appeal to this broader target audience—especially in times where consumers expect highly relevant, personalized communication and brands only have one opportunity to make a good first impression.
How is Wunderkind Supporting USA Cycling’s Future Goals?
As part of its journey from mandatory product to loyal community, the brand needs to nurture a deeper connection with its customers. The transition forces them to know their customer better so they can engage new customers more effectively and tailor their communication.
These days, consumers have zero tolerance for irrelevant marketing messages or spray-and-pray offers. Increasing conversion rates on the website with more powerful, personalized messaging is a key priority as the organization prepares for the upcoming Paris and LA Olympics in 3 and 7 years’ time respectively.
Wunderkind will play a vital role in empowering the brand to identify and understand its customers better. The main goals of the partnership with Wunderkind are to grow the membership base and capitalize on the success USA Cycling had during the Olympics. Currently, Wunderkind is running initiatives to reengage with website visitors who have not yet become a member and reduce membership abandonment with personalized email communication.
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