Using motorsports marketing techniques to promote your sponsors brand

Companies pay big money for the opportunity to have their name splashed over anything and everything a race team has. So what does a sponsor get for their money? In a simplified view, the company gets introduced to a race team’s tribe. I say race team because I think we are entering a time where team members are contributing to the team’s brand, and the tribe that follows them, as much as the driver does.

In big time NASCAR racing, the identity of the crew chief and some other key crew members, can contribute to the total brand of the team. No longer are they hidden behind the drivers own brand. They themselves are building their own brand and their own tribe. This can be greatly beneficial to the sponsor. This simply means a bigger tribe to promote their products.

Sponsor responsibility

So what is the team’s responsibility to the sponsor? It just isn’t enough for the name of the sponsor to be splashed on everything a team owns. That is why it is so important that a sponsors brand match a team brand. The team’s followers need to identify with what the sponsor is trying to sell. There are still many high profile sponsors that are happy with the old traditional name splash and the interview name dropping, but are they really getting their money’s worth? There is an old saying in the advertising; “Only half of the advertising actually works, the problem is finding out which half.” With consumers having more choices than ever over the products they buy, a company’s marketing must target their potential customers much more precisely.

Mass media marketing

In traditional advertising campaigns, marketing companies used methods similar to carpet bombing. Before cable TV, a large portion of the population could be reached just by buying advertising time on the big three networks. Now with cable TV and the two hundred channels available, it just isn’t cost prohibitive to buy enough advertising on enough channels to carpet bomb like before. So now their advertising dollars need to precisely target their potential customers. In tough times this can mean a much higher return on investment for the advertising company.

The really cool part of this is that if a race team’s brand match a company’s brand, this could be the perfectly pin pointed marketing a company is looking for. This means more money entering the racing world. Like I said in previous blog posts, race car drivers and now race teams are perfect tribe builders.

Building a tribe

Well, now that a sponsor has been aligned with a team and a deal has been struck, what responsibilities does the team have to the sponsor? The team needs to introduce the sponsor to their tribe and help spread the sponsor’s message as far and wide as possible. With the internet, it is easier than ever for a driver to help spread the word. With a blog, a driver can talk about the sponsoring company and new product they have coming out or useful information about the company. On a Facebook fan page, a driver can build a group of fans that can be interacted with. The way Facebook works, it has the potential to show an actual number of followers a team has as their fans. The same with Twitter, it actually tracks the number of people following the team. These numbers can be shown to the sponsoring company as metrics of the race team’s brand. I think, in the future, businesses will start to demand a way to measure the effectiveness of their sponsorship. The race teams who are proactive and start delivering metrics now will be the ones most attractive to sponsors.

Race teams need to really search out companies that align with their brand. Racing can be an actual form of viable marketing for a company, it just may take some creative positioning by a team to make sponsor see it.

Til next time,

Kevin