Soul Focus Sports Uses SMS To Get Runners To The Starting Line

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Learn how Soul Focus pulled off a one-of a kind event in New York City thanks to the organizational power of text messages.

The motto at Soul Focus Sports, a California-based athletic events marketing group, is “We plan, we activate, we celebrate.” For the founder of Soul, J.T. Service, 10 years in business is certainly something worth celebrating.

When Soul Focus began a decade ago, J.T. and his team had a vision to work as sports agents and athletic event planners. But as any entrepreneur knows, even the best-laid plans can change.

Today, Soul has evolved into the full-fledged athletic marketing consultancy—complete with a portfolio of events hosted around the country for many major sporting brands.

As the events industry has evolved, so too has J.T.’s approach to customer communication. In need of an efficient event-planning add on, Soul Focus arrived at SimpleTexting for a communication facelift 10-year anniversary worthy.

Why Texting For Events?

J.T. and his team took notice as more of their clients came to them with experiential marketing requests. When it comes to events, it’s important for people to experience everything the brand has to offer. To do this, Soul Focus builds a personal report with attendees.

Traditionally, email was the main channel they used to share invites and information. Last month, when Under Armour asked Soul Focus to put on a five-mile race with four different starting lines throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, they decided to take the leap and give texting a try.

Congrats Meghan! You’re confirmed for the Under Armour HOVR Challenge-NYC on 9/26. Updates including your start line location, finish location and post-race party details will be sent via text in the coming week. Visit for more info.

How Soul Used Texting Throughout Their Event


Race participants had the option to subscribe to text messages during the registration process. A checkbox on the registration form asked for their consent to send SMS messages leading up to the event.

“I believe we got 100% of the people on our email list receiving texts for the race,” reflects J.T. “And maybe 1% unsubscribed during the lead up to the event which was great!”

J.T. attributes this success to their conversational tone and respectful frequency of updates. They only contacted participants 1-2 times per week in the month leading up to race day, always careful to share fresh and useful information each time.

Race Day

Months of event prep can boil down to a few hours of chaos for an event planner. For the Soul team, texting helped them to keep all the participants in check and on track for a smooth run.

“We were sitting back doing customer service from the SimpleTexting platform 5 minutes before the event if someone couldn’t find a start location. And you’re able to provide a message immediately which is so cool.”

Being able to easily troubleshoot from the field resulted in sidestepping a lot of participant confusion and event staff frustration. J.T. noticed that people seemed to be a lot more comfortable just texting in quick questions for clarification that perhaps they wouldn’t or couldn’t ask if they had to send an email or pick up the phone.

MMS was also an essential tool for the team. They shared images both leading up to and at the event.

#UAHOVR Challenge-NYC Reminders: – Check-in by 6:30pm – Challenge starts at 7p. 4.6 miles from each start line, but might not be the fastest way. – Bring ID, credit card & metro card. – Afterparty at Draught 55. Take the tram from RI to Manhattan. Run hard and have fun. Let’s go.

Post Event

During the post-event evaluation, J.T. and his marketing director used SimpleTexting’s built-in analytics to assess click-through, unsubscribe, and delivery rates.

They were also able to collect additional feedback from racers.

“Even something like a text saying, ‘Hey this was an awesome event,’ was something we received that we wouldn’t necessarily get if it wasn’t so easy for someone to just pull out their phone and text it to us.”

Great run, cant wait till the next one! Would u guys happen to have any more half zip pull over in a size small. Thanks for everything!
Glad you enjoyed the event. We’ll check inventory and let you know!

Integrating SMS With Future Soul Focus Events

Still feeling that runners high from their first SMS-enabled race, J.T. and his team look ahead for more ways to incorporate texting into their marketing plans.

They hope to scale up to using SMS with their proprietary events of 3-5K participants, and their marketing team already has some ideas for ways to use texting as a tool to attract new participants and advertise their events.

For J.T. it’s all about making sure their participants feel heard and events stay positive experiences for all.

If there’s anyone who will cheer from the sidelines for J.T. and his incredible team at Soul Focus, it’s us at SimpleTexting. Be sure to give them a follow on instagram if you want to be inspired by a team of people who embody all things great about fitness and event planning.

And a special shout out to the Under Armour team for their innovative spirit and willingness to give text marketing a try! We’re glad you trusted us to help you create cutting edge experiences for cutting edge athletes!

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