Sponsorships, especially in motorsports, have changed a lot over the past few years. The time when a primary sponsor of a team, car or driver remained the same over the course of an entire season has come and gone.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still a few brands out there holding strong with season-long primary sponsorships like DHL, FedEx and Lowes, but for the most part, teams are usually switching up sponsors on a race-by-race basis.
Motorsports is still a very attractive marketplace for brands to invest in. It’s full of brand-loyal consumers, thrilling events and unlimited exposure opportunities, but becoming a sponsor in motorsports only allows a brand to scratch the surface of those benefits if they don’t have the right plan in place.
So, how can a brand make sure it’s squeezing all the juice out of their investment? Let’s walk through the steps to make sure you’re covering your bases.
Making the announcement
The deal with the race team is complete, the press release has gone out, the car has been unveiled and you now have a bag of goodies to use at the racetrack. Step one is complete, so what’s next?
Well, most race teams have partnership managers assigned to your brand that will help deliver upon your contractual sponsorship “goodies”. They are your motorsports lifeline and keep what assets the team has guaranteed you in order. They are also your race day guides that will get your group from point A for pace car rides, to point B for meet & greets with their drivers and potentially victory lane after the checkered flag. So, what happens before you get to point A? Now, that’s a question that not a lot brands are asking themselves.
Establishing sponsorship KPIs
Although race teams do a fantastic job executing their sponsorship deliverables, it’s still a lot of work for individuals on the brand side to maximize a sponsorship. Internally, the lead on the brand side is usually tasked with developing some way of tracking their success of the sponsorship. This could be done through event KPIs like exposure value or through other measurables such as website traffic. Either way, there needs to be defined way to say “yes, this sponsorship was a success” or “no, this did not achieve the results we were hoping for”.
Activating your sponsorship
Once your measurables are set, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to activate the sponsorship. “Activate” is a term thrown around so much in the marketing world and usually the sponsorship lead doesn’t even know what it means. Well, it means use the assets or “goodies” in way that benefits your brand. Whether it’s a hospitality where you invite your top buyers and entertain them at the racetrack or a display where you showcase your products, both are considered some sort of activation.
Alright, you decided that you are going to activate this sponsorship by bringing your top buyers to the racetrack for a day of fun and entertainment in hopes of getting more business from them. The race team’s partnership managers are ready to take your group around on race day, so that’s covered, but you still have a lot of planning to do.
Managing the details
Flights, hotels and transportation to and from the track all has to be planned out so that your guests have the VIP experience you expect them to have. Also, you should put together a complete itinerary so your guests know exactly what to expect when they arrive, what to wear, the weather forecast, etc. Well, that’s on you or your team and you may not have all the time in the world because you have to do your actual job too. That’s where third-party support agencies come in.
Getting the support you need
Third-party support agencies will help you cut through the clutter, connect the dots, put out the fires and make sure everything is in order so you can focus on the important things like entertaining the buyers. Sounds great, right? It can be if it’s budgeted for when you’re initially preparing to step into a sponsorship. Asking yourself, do we have the bandwidth to make this successful internally or do we need to ask for some outside help will give you some peace of mind and save you from a lot of restless nights.
Not all sponsorships are so complex that you will be left banging your head against the wall trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together, but if they are, then you may want to consider some help.
CHARGE has decades of sponsorship execution and fulfillment experience and we would be happy to help make sure everyone wins with your sponsorship. Get started by downloading our eBook on trends in experiential marketing.