Chapter 2

The New Rules of Marketing and PR

Gerard Vroomen will tell you that he is an engineer, not a marketer. He will tell you that the company he cofounded, Cervélo Cycles,1 does not have any marketing experts. But Vroomen is wrong. Why? Because he is obsessed with the buyers of his competition bikes and with the engineering-driven product he offers them. He's focused his company to help his customers win races—and they do. In the 2005 Tour de France, David Zabriskie rode the fastest time trial in the race's history on a Cervélo P3C at an average speed of 54.676 kph (33.954 mph). The winner of the 2008 Tour de France, Carlos Sastre, did so on a Cervélo. And at the Beijing Olympics, Cervélo bikes were ridden by more than 40 athletes, resulting in three gold, five silver, and two bronze medals. Vroomen also excels at using the web to tell cycling enthusiasts compelling stories, to educate them, to engage them in conversation, and to entertain them. Because he uses web content in interesting ways and sells a bunch of bikes in the process, Vroomen is a terrific marketer.

The Cervélo site works extremely well because it includes perfect content for visitors who are ready to buy a bike and also for people who are just browsing. The content is valuable and authentic compared to the marketing messages that appear on so many other sites. On the Cervélo site, enthusiasts find detailed information about each model, bikes that can cost $3,000 to more than $5,000. An online museum showcases ...

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