The Amazing Business Race The final leg: Was it all worth it?

Previous blog entries

April 22, 2014:
The final ocean crossing out of New York

April 22, 2014:
Man goes overboard mid-Pacific

March 21, 2014:
China bound and back to the cold

February 7, 2014:
Out of Oz and Singapore-bound

December 18, 2013:
PRAXES makes landfall in the Australian market

November 15, 2013:
Out of Africa and into the dreaded southern ocean

October 25, 2013:
Sailing down to Rio, getting down to business

September 20, 2013:
Can a small company in a niche market, go global?

July 18, 2014

Dear CanadExport,

We are now back in England for race end and Canadian skipper Eric Holden has won the Clipper Round the World Race! It has indeed been an amazing year-long journey and Eric wasn't the only winner. Our sponsorship of the race, not to mention the help of the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, is giving us a huge leg up moving forward.

Looking back, it's clear that PRAXES has grown quite a bit over the last year, in more ways than one. After answering over 100 emergency medical calls from all 12 yachts over the last 11 months, and from every corner of the globe, we were always able to respond within five minutes. Clipper race managers reported an improved standard of care for crew, and our service reduced expensive in-port hospital visits. Dealing with medical incidents in real time also helps to reduce the risk of medevacs.

It's key to remember that even though we provide a global service, we are still a small company with a niche service and limited awareness in our target business sectors — a common challenge for Canadian companies. Our goal was to dramatically raise awareness of our company even though we have a modest annual marketing budget.

So what happened? Well, our sponsorship involved the provision of our services to the Clipper Round the World Race on a complimentary basis. We wanted to increase awareness but also gain at least three times our investment in potential future business. In fact, this exposure has led directly to new and significant partnerships, some of which have already begun. At this point, we are confident our investment will yield three times the sponsorship cost in new business. Also, ongoing exposure to the race's audience of 1.5-billion people will likely reap downstream benefits if we chose to continue as a sponsor.

But sponsorship as a marketing strategy is a team effort, just as sailing is. Trade Commissioners around the world assisted by opening doors and making introductions to key potential partners. In some cases, Trade Commissioners in market are assisting PRAXES by pursuing specific partnership opportunities. In fact, Jamaica is a good example. The TCS team in Kingston has already set up conference calls and is prepared to assist with partnership meetings.

The Clipper marketing team has been active all year assisting with news releases, arranging interviews, sending tweets on our behalf, getting quotes from skippers and surveying crew.

Media in Canada and the U.K. have been interested in our story and we have seen media placement in over a dozen publications. Our public relations agency in Canada has coordinated with Canadian media and with the U.K. based Clipper marketing team, so some 25 people have helped us share our story over the last year.

Photo credit: Clipper Round the World Race

What's next?

We will continue to use the relationship with Clipper to meet with fellow sponsors, leverage their customers and markets, pursue global marine clients via partners we have met over the last year, and of course, continue to work with the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service to explore these new markets. They are everywhere we do business!

We hope our experience was at least somewhat instructive for your readers. We will be sure to stay in touch. Maybe we will be back for the 2016/17 race!

Yours aye,

John Hockin
Vice-president, Marketing, PRAXES Medical Group

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