The 2011 edition of the Tour de France is in its final week. No matter if you are a cycling fan or not, Le Tour continues to fascinate millions of people around the globe. Few people appreciate that it is actually one of the three largest sporting events in the world (behind the Olympics and the football world cup). Fewer people know why we get to watch this interesting show every year.


A highly creative marketing effort – The TdF

A certain Henri Desgrange brought the Tour alive in 1903. He had a big problem: His sports newspaper L’Auto was facing heavy competition from a different publication called Le Velo. Desgrange developed several ideas and finally came up with his master plan: A heroic stage race across France. The Tour de France was basically a clever marketing tactic. And it worked: Le Velo ceased to exist just one year after the initial Tour. Monsieur Desgrange literally thought outside the box to achieve his goal. It would have been easy to rely on traditional marketing techniques. But he took a calculated risk and dared to look for ideas outside the normal area. (Btw, his other really smart idea was the introduction of the yellow jersey in 1919. The jersey made it easier to follow the race and also created more competition. Brilliant.)


Henri Desgrange and his signature idea

When is the last time you have thought outside the box? It so easy to get stuck in the grind of our daily lives. We produce the same reports over and over again. We look at the same data points over and over again. We march through the annual budget every single year despite us feeling that this does not make sense. When it comes to projects, we always apply the same change management techniques. Why don’t we change that today? Let’s think yellow! Let’s create a new report that provides a radically new perspective of our business. Let’s dream up a slick new budgeting template. Let’s surprise our users today. Business Analytics software is highly flexible and we have the ability to obtain fresh views and to do something radically different. We sometimes need to let go an leave the path of least resistance. Playing it safe all the time won’t make us successful. Let’s develop the basis for a big success. Let’s go for yellow!

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”, Herman Melville