The Tour of America’s Dairyland (ToAD) has been around since 2009, and since the early days, has established itself as the largest multi-day cycling series in the United States. ToAD serves multiple audiences with both warmth and professionalism, providing a world-class experience to anyone with whom they interact.
An important audience for ToAD’s leadership is their literal audience – their massive crowds of spectators. This audience is so important, as they bring palpable energy to the events, which has been specifically noted and praised by racers nationwide. The spectators, when engaged, are generally active in supporting the sponsors of each race and/or the overall series, providing a solid ROI for such sponsors, and a tangible benefit that can be offered to potential sponsors.
Because of my prior involvement in the ToAD series and the local active community, I identified an opportunity to activate this audience, fill information gaps, build excitement, and connect spectators with the race organization, sponsors, and host cities. To have a face-to-face, personable, energetic squad on site for pro races has provided a fun and effective means to connect and activate, and is a concept that no other race series is doing.
The ToAD Ambassadors are true representatives of the race, and are not sponsored by a specific brand, maintaining a top level authenticity and approachability. The Ambassadors are chosen based on their personality, outgoingness, and committment to representing not just ToAD, but Southeastern Wisconsin’s cycling community with the utmost positivity. They relay information to educate spectators and get them invested in the sport, they offer trivia about criterium cycling, ToAD participants, and host cities, they get swag into the hands of spectators, and they are present to answer questions that spectators may have. Finally, they simply thank spectators for taking the time to come out and support the races, which is a simple thing that goes a long way to building these vital brand relationships.
This program was initiated in 2017, and has grown in participation and momentum each year since. In its third year (2019) both sponsor and spectator awareness has increased, and Ambassadors report that the crowds have come to know and expect them to be part of the experience.
Role: I own this program from beginning to end: ideation, development, team and program management
Client: Tour of America’s Dairyland
Impact: In its third year, the Ambassador program is becoming recognizable and expected by spectators, and has gained traction with sponsors who rely on their presence for giveaways and information.
“I had the great pleasure of working alongside Megan on the Ambassador Program for the Tour of America’s Dairyland. She demonstrated leadership through her ability to articulate a vision and rally the team to deliver upon it. Megan is highly organized and a strong communicator. She kept the team motivated and provided critical support up to and throughout the 11-day event. We were very fortunate to have Megan at the helm.”
Erin P. Ninmer, Former Marketing Director, Tour of America’s Dairyland