A novel product, well-positioned business plan and a clear ability to "think big" — that's what convinced Sir Richard Branson — chairman and founder of Virgin and judge of Yahoo Search Marketing's Think Big contest — to declare StairCycle Innovations the winner.
Craig Ridenhour is a cardiovascular ultrasound specialist and the CEO of the Phoenix-based company, which developed a first-of-its-kind cycle that marries the body motion of a stair-climber with a recreational bike. The result is essentially an exercise vehicle — climb and roll your way to work or around town. You can even use it for an indoor workout.
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"I was impressed by the entries we received, many describing truly innovative products and sound business practices," said Branson. "At the end of the day, StairCycle Innovations and Craig Ridenhour caught my attention for their inventive product and entrepreneurial spirit."
Ridenhour and his company pedaled past nearly 8,000 contestants and as winner, he's been assigned a Yahoo Search Marketing advisory team to help the company develop a customized, online marketing campaign, which will include sponsored search, contextual ads and graphical ads.
He also receives 10 million free ad impressions across the entire Yahoo network, which, according to Ted Meisel, president of Yahoo Search Marketing, will "help StairCycle Innovations build brand and category awareness by reaching a vast consumer audience, all the while taking its sales to the next level."
"I spent seven years developing the StairCycle to offer people a new and fun way to stay fit, but never had the resources to effectively market it," said Ridenhour." Richard Branson support and having access to Yahoo's team of experts is a dream come true for me. With their help, I'm learning how to use online advertising and search marketing to take my business into the big time."
Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com
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