As we reach the end of June, we have found ourselves wrapping up our work for the Tilley Endurables Falmouth Classics annual sailing regatta for another year, and what an event it has been! After being approached by the Falmouth Classics Association following the 2015 event, we have worked hard to support this wonderful celebration of maritime heritage, and it’s fantastic to see how far the festival has come.
Attendance at the Classics festival began to decline from its peak during the nineties. In 2013 the format was completely overhauled, and the event is now growing year on year. We began with a rebuild of the Classics website, lead by the array of beautiful sailing photography available from previous events. We designed the site to deliver a clear, straightforward user experience that would provide all the information a participant or visitor might need. We also restructured the online entry system to ensure that making an application was as easy as possible, and created an export option for clear recording and reporting of data.
After a great event in 2016, we made careful decisions about what marketing areas we could really focus on to deliver an even better level of support this year, especially as 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of the Classics. We began promoting the event before Christmas with an updated website and a considered schedule of social media activity on both Facebook and Twitter. We produced regular press releases and liaised with editors who needed images, as well as working with the Falmouth Classics Association to design and send out their monthly newsletter to subscribers and participants.
We offer both digital and print services, so were able to handle the complete creation of the 40 page glossy programme, from full design and layout, to printing hundreds of copies for distribution amongst the participants and around Falmouth. Part of our support package also involved finding sponsors and advertisers for the event. Fastnet Marketing was able to bring title sponsor Tilley Endurables, and partner sponsors Taylor Wimpey and NFU Mutual on board, in addition to building long term relationships with several media outlets, who became media partners. Overall, once our commission was deducted, we raised over £8,500 in sponsorship and advertising revenue for the event.
As we came closer to the event it became clear that we were on track for an outstanding year, with higher entry numbers and a fantastic weekend of sunshine forecast. Our close work with the local press resulted in the steady release of news in the run-up to the event, culminating in front page features in the Falmouth Packet and West Briton. There was also a four page pullout guide in the West Briton and multiple-page roundups in both newspapers, alongside a wonderful gallery of event images. Local TV and radio stations sent reporters along to cover the event and interview participants, and a journalist from Classic Boat magazine spent the weekend in Falmouth in order cover the regatta in the next edition.
With the whole weekend bathed in glorious Cornish sunshine, an improved schedule of on-the-water and shoreside events, and our targeted marketing strategy, the 30th anniversary of the Tilley Endurables Falmouth Classics has seen an outstanding numbers of entries, exceeding the previous year. There have been increased levels of engagement across social media, and a fantastic level of support from the press, so we are already looking ahead to what is sure to be an even bigger event in next year.