SEMA News—February 2021

The PRI Road Tour: Building Buzz for an Industry

By Chris Kersting

Chris KerstingOne silver lining in the COVID-19 pandemic comes by compelling all of us to innovate, adapt and find new paths to success. In some cases, we can imagine that these new ideas may evolve into practices and tactics for the long haul. Case in point: The PRI Road Tour.

In the absence of the annual Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show this year, thoughts turned to how PRI could still provide a way for the motorsports industry to share ideas and help motorsports industry manufacturers and service providers remain top of mind in the worldwide racing scene. Ultimately, the PRI team launched the PRI Road Tour—an ambitious cross-country campaign to gather and share news and updates from dozens of racing-related businesses. The campaign was an all-out content-creating project that took the PRI team—and a host of other media outlets—directly to manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, race teams and race tracks over a two-month span, finally ending up in California after making stops in nine states in 70 days.

The PRI Road Tour is remarkable for its goal of helping elevate an entire industry, its collaboration with outside media, and its innovative use of social media. The racing world is rich in specialized media outlets, large and small, that reach passionate audiences. By creating content opportunities for freelance writers, TV shows and racing-scene influencers, PRI is investing to create activity that benefits the entire motorsports industry.

Because the PRI Road Tour leverages outside media and a basket of social-media platforms, it has generated an immediate buzz that is reaching a global audience. Content loaded into Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter has gone live within hours and is being viewed by enthusiasts all over the world, providing a burst of energy to the businesses in question.

After the first 30 days, the PRI Road Tour had logged 9,035,610 total impressions and a unique reach of 6,327,255. At press time, Instagram and Facebook have been the strongest performers, and LinkedIn and YouTube have begun to put up excellent results. One example was a 7.3 Godzilla engine video, which logged 42,000 views on YouTube in three weeks.

The PRI Road Tour is still ongoing at the time of this writing, but if social-media analytics remain on the same trajectory, it’s possible that the initiative will have created as many impressions as a Super Bowl ad by the time it concludes.

Also notable is that the PRI Road Tour has been undertaken not to generate revenue but to assist the industry—and a way of life—by returning proceeds from the PRI Trade Show and other operations back to the industry. This kind of initiative is an example of one way that PRI will accomplish its mission as an organization dedicated to helping the racing community succeed and prosper.

Significantly, about 50 of the companies visited are also SEMA-member companies, and many more make products not just for racing but also product lines that reach into other aftermarket segments aimed at a broad range of performance enthusiasts. We think the success of the PRI Road Tour could help SEMA shape future outreach as it serves the broader aftermarket.

Perhaps most significantly, the PRI Road Tour is another clear demonstration of the growing potential social-media platforms offer moving forward—and proof of another way an organization can invest time and energy to lift an entire industry via new online communications tools.

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