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...

How to Be Sponsor-Able

Most of the questions that I get about sponsorship center around the outbound portion of forging a relationship: How do I find a potential sponsor? Who do I talk in the company about sponsorship? What should I put in my proposal? How many times should I reach out? Should I mock-up my car with their logos so they can see what they’re getting? What should I charge for ‘x’ size logo? But I’ve found that racers, and tracks, who have the most success with finding and keeping marketing partners are looking at it from a different angle and asking this question: What will make my team sponsor-able?  But we’re all sponsor-able, right? I’m able to deposit that check, I know it! It’s not so much about being able to accept or accommodate sponsorship. It’s about building a property that’s worthy of sponsorship. And I don’t mean worthy in a moral sense. I’m talking about building value into your brand, and then finding a marketing partner that will exchange value (i.e. money, product, access to resources, etc.) for what you provide. I’m talking about making it easy for potential marketing companies to find you, understand the value of what you offer and build a relationship with you. So, how do you do that? For me, it all comes back to branding. I got an email from a racer a few weeks ago with questions about sponsorship. He had a professional signature line on his email with a link to his website (*high fives*). But when I opened that website…I was even more impressed with his branding! His website had clear imagery, consistent colors and...

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...

Why ‘Only Winners Get Sponsored’ is a Myth

Having worked at a speed shop for a few years, I can’t tell you how many conversations I had about sponsorship. They generally went one of two ways: either the person was asking for sponsorship or a discount, or the person was lamenting that it was impossible to get sponsorship because they didn’t win. I hear this myth a lot from racers who have mindset blocks around selling sponsorship: how can I sell sponsorship when I don’t win races?  Or, we hear this: It’s easy to sell sponsorship when you’re a dominant, winning team.  Equating wins to sponsorship dollars at most levels of racing is harkening back to the old days of racing, where most of the attention or exposure for the driver (and their sponsors) happened at the track. And the winning driver was the one who got the most attention. That’s not the case anymore. We have countless opportunities each day to reach the people who sit in the grandstands and potentially listen to your victory lane speech. As a property, we can: Put out a tweet or post. Respond to a message. Send an email newsletter. Snap a story. Sign an autograph at an appearance. Say hello at an industry event. Have our apparel worn at a fan’s workplace. Be featured in an article. Be a guest on a podcast or radio show. Be researched on our website. All of these modes of communication – whether they’re things that we’re in control of or not – allow for marketing partners to have a far greater and deeper reach than a victory lane speech over a loudspeaker at a race track. They...

The 10 Most Common Reasons Companies Buy Sponsorship

It’s the first quarter of the year, and the last few weeks for me have had a lot of focus on working on sponsorship deals for various properties. One common mistake that I see teams, tracks and event promoters make when pitching potential marketing partners is focusing on only one aspect of sponsorship: exposure to an audience. When I talk about slapping a logo on a car and turning circles (or nailing up a sign), this is what I’m talking about.  Yes, ‘exposure’ is still an important part of sponsorship. But if it is the focus of your partnership, you’re only going to make it work with a few major tweaks. And I still believe, even with those tweaks, if it’s the only focus of your pitch you’re going to be in trouble. As in zero dollars trouble. Why? Because exposure is generally free or cheap these days with social media, guerilla and word-of-mouth marketing and the ability for companies to build their own audiences on a variety of platforms. In effect, purely reaching a certain number of people is going to be significantly cheaper by using other means than sponsoring your race car or track. And it’s going to be easier to explain and show ROI to a manager or company owner than trying to quantify the number of people who saw your race car or trailer. If a company can, say, reach 2,500 people in a very specific audience through Facebook ads for $100 (which you can if you’re good at it), is it economical for them to spend the same or more for them to reach 2,500 people...

Most Popular Articles of 2016

Thank you for reading the DirtyMouth blog this year! No surprises – my most popular blog posts of the year were about SPONSORSHIP – and mostly where I shared some hard data or hard truths. Positive, tangible advice is still probably the most popular theme of my blog, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. So if you missed any – enjoy! xo, Kristin The Sponsorship Sales Cycle and Your Proposal – Wondering where your proposal fits into the sponsorship sales process? When and how you should submit it? This is the one for you. Do Social Media Policies Help or Hurt? – The question heard ’round the Internet this year. Should tracks limit social media use at the track? Should they have a say in what racers post? How should a business handle social? It’s all here. If we ever wonder if what we do matters… – This is a very personal post from the days after Bryan Clauson’s passing. If you think what you do – racing or otherwise – doesn’t affect others, I’m happy to say that you’re wrong. We are all contributing to someone’s life with what we do. I hope each and every one of you knows that. Selling Experiences with Ralph Sheheen – Thoughts from National Speed Sport News’ own Ralph Sheheen on selling experience and my take how they can benefit short tracks, racers and racing businesses. The Cold, Hard Math of Sponsor Acquisition – One of my personal favorites because of the nerdiness, this one lays out for you exactly how to reach your sponsorship numbers. How many emails or phone calls do you have to make to...