Combining Passion and Experience to Create an Innovative Business
Are YOU entrepreneurial? Find out on this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur, featuring special guest Cat Macleod.
Cat has 40 years of motorcycle riding experience across 20 different countries, degrees in international business, marketing video production and am MBA. He’s got 15 years experience in the motorcycle industry and 10 years in the travel industry.
Six years ago, he started Leod Escapes, which offered authentic motorcycle sport tours in California. He knew that there was a demand for motorcycle tours, but he also knew what he was doing wasn’t unique, so he set out to change that.
According to Cat, if you’re going to be an entrepreneur, then you need to be entrepreneurial. I agree COMPLETELY!
“You have to operate differently,” Cat said. “You can’t imitate. You have to innovate.”
Think about that for a second. You can’t imitate, you have to innovate. Figure out what makes you different – or what you can do to stand out from competitors. For Cat, there were about four or five major players and dozens of small ones in the motorcycle tour industry.
Although Cat knew he needed to offer something different from the standard state-side motorcycle tour, he wasn’t sure what.
He took a trip to Germany and found his answer: International tours that included stops at world-famous motorcycle race tracks.
The first tour consisted of a visit to the Italian Alps with eight Americans. He knew then that he was doing something no one else had really done before.
He just had to figure out how to get more people on board. Cat began advertising his tours the same way other tour operators were advertising – something he admits wasn’t very entrepreneurial.
“We looked at what the big guys were doing and thought, ‘oh, we should do that too,’” Cat said.
He advertised in magazines, display ads online, at motorcycle shows and on motorcycle industry websites. Cat said the motorcycle shows and print advertising works – but they weren’t efficient. They weren’t reaching enough of their target audience.
Cat said it took several expensive years to figure out that doing what other tour operators did wasn’t going to work because he was trying to reach a different market.
Now, Cat combines video skills with some pretty sophisticated targeting on social media. He only runs print ads in magazines the company has a close relationship with and instead of going to motorcycle shows, the team goes to motorcycle track days to market stuff there. He said you have to “go where the fish are.”
That’s why it’s SO important to know your target audience and where they hang out! Go where the fish are!
He said the company has done really well on Facebook. According to Cat, Facebook is “incredibly powerful beast” and you have to feed it. He narrowed his target audience down based on zip codes and income. Soon, they narrowed it down further by how far away people were from a race track and how many people in the area hold a passport. He’d generate what zips codes are going to have the highest density of his target audience and used that knowledge to advertise.
Cat says soon, the company will be getting into Youtube. Good idea, Cat! We’re working on that too!
Different methods for different audiences
Cat’s world travels have also taught him a few things about how people of different countries react to different types of advertising. Americans, for example, have been conditioned to react to messages of fear and scarcity – like the product is going to run out soon and you better get it now.
This approach doesn’t necessarily work on German consumers though. In that country, people want to do business with someone who’s been in business for a long time. They want to see that you’re reliable, rather than that the product is going to be sold out soon.
He said the majority of his clients are from the US and Canada because he knows who to market to them. But he said he’s developing an understanding of the Australian marketplace as well and is seeing more and more customers from down under.
Cat said his advice to entrepreneurs would be to be aware that markets are COMPLETELY different and will often react differently to the same message.
Want more advice from Cat? Listen to the episode above and don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify – Google Play – Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.
To learn more about Cat, visit his website.
More from UpMyInfluence
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