The Build Cycle Podcast #003 – PressCamp’s Lance Camisasca

Each summer, we (Bikerumor) head to PressCamp for rapid fire, one-on-one meetings with some of the biggest brands in cycling, and then we get to demo the bikes and products on world class trails. The venue lets journalists spend quality time with the people behind the brands and products in a far more intimate setting than the major trade shows, giving all parties a chance to not just get their stories out, but to build relationships. The concept was born by Lance Camisasca and his right hand man, Chad Battistone, after their time working at Interbike, which was once the largest global cycling tradeshow and is still the largest in North America. Now in it’s eighth year, PressCamp has become one of the most important launch events for many brands, but their path has seen them try offshoots with mixed success. For anyone looking to run an event, whether it’s one for media, retailers,brands or consumers, there are a lot of valuable lessons in this podcast!

DISCUSSION TIMELINE:

  • 01:14 – Where did the idea for PressCamp come from? And how did he attract an audience? And who do you want there?
  • 09:50 – Seeds were planted by trying to grow the media presence and interaction at Interbike.
  • 13:40 – How do you create value that supersedes the cost of participation?
  • 18:50 – The process of setting meetings evolves to improve the experience for all.
  • 23:05 – Get support from local businesses and find a way of making that “sponsorship” valuable for them, too.
  • 26:20 – PressCamp gets acquired, which leads to growth for both parties.
  • 30:50 – An experiment in expansion from Press to Dealers didn’t quite work out…
  • 36:15 – …but expanding into Outdoor did.
  • 37:49 – Advice for anyone wanting to start an event.
The PressCamp Team in 2016, with Lance 2nd from right (blue t-shirt) and Chad 3rd from left (black shirt).

POST GAME ANALYSIS:

My key takeaways have to do with attracting the right audience and how to ensure a smooth event. Regarding the audience, make sure everyone coming adds value. And make sure that you’re providing them value that surpasses the cost of participation. With PressCamp, they hand pick the media to ensure the brands that are coming will get the coverage they expect…and that that coverage will reach the audiences they want, whether it’s endemic or not. From the journalist’s standpoint, we want to see important brands on the roster, and those brands should ideally be launching products there. In other words, it should be worth the time and travel. If you’re planning an event, think about what the attendees want to get out of it and then make sure you deliver that 10x.

As for the actual logistics, Lance uses a similar strategy I used to run the BURN 24 Hour Challenge mountain bike race for its first four years. We create checklists that go down the process from each party’s standpoint. What’s a participant going to do when they get there? What is the brand going to do? And what will the staff need to do? Think through the experience from start to finish, write down each step and turn that into a checklist to make sure everything (supplies, people, etc.) is in place to make the process run as smoothly as possible. This reduces headaches and ensures every person working for the event knows exactly what to do and what is expected of them. Lance added the value of setting hard deadlines, go/no-go dates to keep things moving along.

Presscamp is as much about the meetings and riding…
…as it is the social opportunities that allow real working relationships to form.

LINKS & RESOURCES

  • PressCamp – The event, now owned by ECRM, has expanded into Summer, Winter and Outdoor events.

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