Over the weekend, I had the privilege of watching my husband, Carl Bowser, win his fifth feature of the year and, with it, clinch his second track championship at Lernerville Speedway.
We heard a lot of the generous and kind feedback you’d expect, but a particular comment struck me. One person told me that when you’re sitting down with potential sponsors, and they’re comparing you to another driver, it’s essential to have as many of these accomplishments and titles, worth money or prestige, on your résumé as you can.
While I don’t disagree that great on-track performance helps you to stand out, I doubt that in today’s world most of us are competing against each other for sponsorship.
We’re not toilet paper – you can’t just substitute one of us for another.
And that’s where the value of the sponsorship comes in – it’s differentiating us from one another and providing something that another competitor can’t.
And when I say ‘competitor’, I don’t necessarily mean another car on the track. I’m referring to the other ways that companies can spend their money to generate sales, whether that’s a billboard, a ski trip for their best clients or a radio advertisement.
When talking about racing sponsorship – which is different than the ever-elusive ride, no doubt – you’re most likely competing off the track. You’re showing your value on social media, via your website, in person and via your network of friends of colleagues.
You’re likely competing on a playing field that most of us don’t know that much about. And that’s why every little bit of knowledge about what your potential marketing partner wants counts.
While there are a few people with businesses that will always sponsor someone in racing, those people are becoming few and far between.
So it’s important to ask yourself as a racer, as a track or event promoter, as a retailer or manufacturer – who am I competing with?
And how can I use that knowledge to do it better?
P.S. If you didn’t see my recent ramblings on social media, I had an accident at the track over the weekend that left me – luckily – with only some bruises and a concussion. Good thing I keep a few posts in my back pocket, eh? In light of that, I’d like to point you towards an old post where you’ll find a checklist for the information your team might need in case of an emergency at the track here.