When I first started at Performance Racing Industry magazine over two decades ago, there was a speech I often had to give to explain what PRI was. As I introduced myself in a phone conversation or at a race as being with Performance Racing Industry, chances were very good back then that silence would follow. We were new. We were small. We were just getting started. My first PRI Trade Show was the one held in Nashville in 1990, when 400 companies exhibited in 600 booths. The magazine’s frequency was upgraded that year from 6 times per year to 12. I would explain that we were not a race fan magazine or, really, a race tech magazine. We were a trade magazine—a business-to-business magazine for the racing industry. We were all about the business side of the sport.
At some point, I began using the metaphor of the racing market as a pie. I would tell people, “A lot of racing businesses view their objective as growing their share of the market by taking it away from another racing business. That’s certainly one way to make your slice of the pie bigger. At PRI, our ultimate goal is to make your slice of the pie bigger by helping to make the entire pie bigger.” I would say that the racing industry as a whole is in competition with other industries for discretionary dollars. If you take our target customer, there are a lot of other industries trying to convince him to buy a bass boat or a motorcoach or travel packages or hunting gear or a Harley Davidson and on and on. PRI would do everything we could to help bring the racing industry together to compete as a whole, as an industry, with these other industries by gathering information to help racing businesses sell more, be more efficient and make more money. It was our goal to do what we could to strengthen the industry. In this way, we would help to grow the pie. It’s the healthiest way for individual businesses in an industry to expand.
And as I explained the concept of growing the pie, I regularly got a very positive response. “Yes, we need to do this,” was the enthusiastic essence of how industry folks felt about the concept of growing the pie as one of the best ways to grow their individual businesses. There was almost a sense of relief sometimes as someone considered that, yes, indeed, this is a very positive way to grow sales.
When it came time to my Publisher’s Page for the April issue, I had been thinking about how the economic downturn put so much pressure on companies to focus on their slice of the market, and the reality that sales growth meant taking business away from another racing company. We’ve got some years now after the economic crash, and as a stronger sense of stability returns, it’s a good idea to think again of the size of the market as another powerful opportunity to grow sales. More fans. Increased car counts. A renewed effort—vigorous and creative—to navigate racing into the mainstream as one of life’s most thrilling pursuits. I know these are goals on everyone’s minds these days, but I thought I would also note it here. For everyone’s slice of the pie to grow, let’s grow the pie. Together.