Helping Marketing Partners Achieve Goals Starts with Knowing What They Are.

When you’re pitching a sponsor or creating a proposal for a potential marketing partner, you can exponentially increase the odds of moving forward in the process if you know what that company’s goals are and how you can help achieve them. But how do you get that information? All businesses want to increase their bottom line. That’s the obvious. Most companies want to do that by selling more products or services. But pitching on the ‘I can expose your product to more eyeballs’ line is way too general for most companies to take seriously. They might want to sell more of their products or services via social media, which often has a lower cost of customer acquisition, or they might want to sell more of their products to their existing customers, or find new customers, or sell higher-priced products, etc. The more specific you can get in solving a problem, need or desire, the more chance you have at the decision-maker finding a fit with your solution. (Bonus: the pricing matters less when you’re providing a clear solution to an expensive or difficult problem.) What other problems might companies want to solve? Saving money on products or services they utilize adds as much to their bottom line as selling more products. If you can help them do that, you’re providing value. Providing access to a marketplace – say, getting their product on the shelves of an auto parts store chain or having them picked up in a catalog – can provide direct value. Brand-building activities like a positive role in the community, access to an influencer’s network, emphasizing product use or...

Race Track Marketing: Think Mindset, Not Demographics

When I worked in the advertising agency business, one of the first things we would do when starting a marketing, advertising or social media campaign was try to determine our ‘ideal customer’. In fact, if you and I have ever worked together – on race track marketing or otherwise – I’ve probably walked you through an exercise to help determine who your ideal client or customer is. Whether you’re selling sponsorship, in which case your marketing partner is your client, or selling event tickets you have to be able to address the customer’s needs, wants or problems in order to offer them a solution, i.e. your product or service. In order to do that, you need to know who you’re marketing to. That is your ideal customer.  Traditionally, that ideal customer profile is created around a set of demographics which might include age, gender, location, income level, race, religion, marital status, etc. This is a set of facts that we used to employ to figure out what type of person is most likely to buy Widget X or hire Service Provider Y. For example, for an expensive laundry detergent we might traditionally have targeted moms within the ages of 38-45 who had a household income of more than $100,000 because they were the most likely to be able to spend the extra money on clothing care. If you want to think about it in terms of racing, how many times have you heard that our short track racing fan base is aging? Or that we’re a blue-collar sport? Or that a family of four has to be able to afford the concession bill if they’re...

How to Find Time for Sponsorship

When working with clients, answering questions in our free sponsorship success group, fielding emails or talking to racers at events, one of the biggest barriers teams feel in finding sponsorship is: “I don’t have enough time.” It’s a legit concern, but it’s a claim that we make probably every day. Think about the conversations you’re having over the holiday season. When someone mentions what they’re up to or their goals for the next year, we’ve all said we don’t have time for things that we legitimately want to do. It might be finding sponsors for the 2017 season. It might be starting a side business or working out or cooking home-cooked meals or taking the kids to a trampoline park. (<- That’s what you do with children, right? ‘Trampolines’ seems accurate.) We’ve never been – or felt – busier. There’s never enough time. But here’s the hard truth: if you don’t have time to find sponsorship, you don’t have time to have marketing partners because you don’t have time to serve them.  Sad, but true. So, let’s not be that person. Let’s find the time to recognize partners that would be a good fit, connect with them, show them the value and then activate that partnership. Let’s find the time to invest in building our marketing programs, so we can take our racing to the next level. Let’s find the time to pursue wins off the track, just like we do on the track. Which leads me to my tips on how to ‘find’ or ‘make’ time, both now, during the busiest time of the year, and in the future: 1. Put it on your schedule. ...

The Truth About All of Those Stickers

Ever see a truck driving down the highway with a back windshield full of decals? From K&N to Monster Energy, he’s got all his adrenaline-related needs covered. Like this:  Now, how many times have you thought to yourself: how did that guy get so many sponsors??! NO? So why do we do the same with other race cars? I have talked to so, so many racers who are discouraged when they look around the pits and see other race cars with tons of decals – specifically manufacturers decals – on them. They assume that those manufacturers are giving cash or product to their competition, even though they may have pitched them on a partnership and been turned down or offered a discount. But the truth is: many racers treat their race cars like they treat their F150’s – as a set of wheels to decorate. Many race cars sport decals for businesses, ideas or personalities purely because they like or support that entity.  For example, anyone spot Trump ads on race cars this season? We did! And the only one that I know of that got paid for that advertisement was the Bruce Williams/Roger Crockett outfit at the 2015 Knoxville Nationals. (You can read a full breakdown of that partnership here.) They also sport decals for businesses that might give them a discount on products they buy, or in-kind product sponsorship and/or services. And don’t get me wrong: there’s value in all of that. But don’t get the impression that everyone who has a decal on their car is getting paid cold, hard cash for the privilege of exposure to...

The Power of Small Wins

Big wins. They are what we all live for, right? Being crowned King Kristin (hmm, Roger, can we chat?) at Eldora Speedway’s Kings Royal or the Knoxville Nationals Champion might top your list. Or maybe you’re aiming higher, for a points championship in Formula One or NASCAR. But most of us aren’t just one step away from our IndyCar points trophies. That might be where our dream started, but it’s not going to happen tomorrow, or this year, and we’re mostly okay with that. Why? As long as we don’t quit, we’re still working towards our dreams. But what about those days – or months – when you’re losing motivation? When those big wins are too far apart? When you feel like you’re not making any progress? When you question what you’re doing altogether?  Over the past few weeks, I’ve released just shy of 20,000 words in the Build Your Racing Brand Challenge. It’s been a bigger undertaking than I imagined, mostly because I can’t stop typing everything I think will help you in your quest to build a brand. (Didn’t join at the beginning of the month? Don’t worry – you can still start from Day 1 of the FREE challenge right on over here. There are tons of social media goodies in there, along with mindset hacks (<-just realized I don’t care for that word, thankyouverymuch) and sponsorship insights.) It’s also the middle of summer – the busiest time of the year for us in terms of schedule because we’re racing and so are all of our clients – and I have been up to my eyeballs in...

How to Build a Racing Website for Less than $100

As a racer, you might not think of your website as a critical piece of your program. But to me, your website is to your online brand what your hauler is to your on-track performance: it’s the hub of the action in the pits. If it’s effective, it holds your tools, spare parts and support crew/materials in a layout that’s designed for racing. The more effective your hauler – the more it contains in a better layout – the better job it enables you to do on the track. Your hauler doesn’t make or break your on-track performance. But without it, your job would be a heck of a lot harder. Your website serves the same function when it comes to your ability to grow an audience and support your team financially with sponsorship marketing and merchandise sales, for example. Yes, you can serve marketing partners without one. And yes, you can sell apparel and build a fan base without one. But it’s less effective – you’ll have to work harder for lesser results. (Why? When fans want to purchase your apparel but can’t make it to the pits at the track where you’re selling your t-shirts that one night, they go to your website to purchase. When marketing partners do their research on the driver that just pitched them, or they found on a social media channel, they’ll go to your website to see if you’re legit and represent yourself well. When at track announcer needs bio information, when a media member needs results, and when a fan wants to find out more about you, they’ll all go to your website.)...