Adam Marjoram shares his story of his last minute scramble to find a replacement sponsor
So what do you do when your main sponsor decides to change direction with their marketing spend at the last minute? Well, that’s exactly what happened to Super2 racer Adam Marjoram, so Rhys sat down with him to get the inside story.
In this episode of The InSyde Line, Rhys talks to Adam about his long relationship with Auto One that stretched back to his time in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge and V8 Utes and also the steps that he went through to bring his new deal with Penrite together so that he could continue to race in the Dunlop Super2 Series in 2019.
Adam shares his unique insight into the hard work involved, often over several years, to forge the relationships and resilience to bring together sponsorship deals, particularly at the last minute. Locking in his drive for this year just five days before the season-opening Adelaide 500.
Rhys Vandersyde: I wanted to have a quick chat to you about your sponsorship position. Obviously you had a big change during this off-season, which wasn’t necessarily your choice.
Adam Marjoram: No. [laughs]
RV: Yeah, I just wanted to run through with you… your relationship with Auto One, and obviously your situation now running Penrite sponsorship this year.
AM: Yeah, absolutely, big shake up for me. Obviously enjoying my whole racing career with Auto One.
Very, very thankful, y’know, they picked me up when I was racing Porsches, an Auto One Porsche. Started out very, very small – a couple of bottles of chain lube and I was racing go-karts.
Then a little bit more as I got into cars. And they ran a V8 Utes programme back in 2011 and 2012, and y’know, Warren Luff, Tim Blanchard, Jason Bargwanna, all these names we knew…
RV: And some young bloke popped up.
AM: [laughs] And then some guy who didn’t know what he was doing, probably still doesn’t, got a call up to steer at Barbagallo and it all kind of spiralled from there.
They were looking for a driver at the time for the year after, and they had a couple of other people, like George Miedecke… I think Warren Luff was actually in the frame as well, because his supercars career was kind of… well, he didn’t know where he was placed. And me – they opted to choose me which was a bit of a surprise and is a bit of a change in direction for what I was doing in Porches, I really loved that kind of route.
RV: Well the Porsche has a very good, well-defined feeder category system, whereas at the time, Utes probably didn’t have such a worn path to getting to the top.
AM: Correct. And in a driving style sense, well, it didn’t. But in a sponsorship sense it did. The value that Auto One got out of that was astronomical. It was affordable racing, Auto One perfect target market was the V8 series followers – it resonated well with everybody and all happy days.
Then obviously we enjoyed that, we went through Erebus, we started Dunlop series, Super2 series, moved across to Image Racing, everything’s looking really good… y’know all that.
And then, y’know, like all things, good things have to come to an end [laughs] – but to my surprise at the end of last year, at Newcastle, Auto One decided to get out of motorsport completely, and that meant rally programmes, that meant supercars – everything.
RV: Which happens in business – commercial changes happen behind the scenes that you’ve got no control over, so…
AM: It does. And look, it’s not always because of you. And that was the hardest thing to take, is that obviously I’ve been an ambassador for them for such a long time, and y’know, you cut my veins it was red, white and blue.
I loved Auto One and everything like that. We worked well together, but sometimes directions change, not necessarily due to your performance, or their return on investment. They might just go, ‘Y’know what – I wanna do TV and Radio.’ And that’s what happened.
But then that put me in a very, very tough spot, to be back on the grid in three months’ time, everybody goes on their Christmas holidays in December, it’s hard… it’s a bad time of year to be going, ‘Hey guys! We wanna race in a car. It’s half way through a financial year, what have you got?’
RV: That’s the hardest part – being able to scramble at that last minute, because it is Christmas holidays, and nobody does anything in January, and all of a sudden you’re racing in February again, so it doesn’t leave you a lot of time to…
AM: …go find things. And it’s silly season with Super2 drivers trying to find a spot, y’know, teams are trying to solidify their drive line-up, what they wanna invest in to – all of this kind of stuff.
RV: Yep – absolutely.
AM: So… bad timing [laughs]. I’m currently dyeing my hair brown because I went white over the summer – it was very stressful, so… and I’ve never been in that position before. So for me it was new territory, and we had to start from scratch.
So literally from zero, we’ve gotta find a whole years budget. I’ve got tremendous support from my family, but unfortunately it doesn’t extend overly financial.
RV: Particularly with something like a Super2 budget, which is not exactly the cheapest category to run in Australia.
AM: Exactly – and if you wanna be competitive, you’ve gotta be doing what you can do to get up the front. It’s always hard to get up the front, so… and that goes with anything.
RV: That is motorsport, is it not? It’s one of the defining sports where talent is going to get you very little, whereas in other sports talent probably gets you a lot further.
AM: Yeah. And look, talent will get you far, but to kick a footy and show you’re good at footy it’s free – it’s a couple of boots, it’s a coach, you might even fly around getting some coaching, whatever you might spend, five grand a year. In motorsport you’ve got tyres, wages, fuel, entry fees, you’ve got cars, you’ve gotta…
RV: You’ve gotta get your crew around – it’s not just one person, there’s a whole show that goes together to make the whole thing happen, so it becomes very expensive very quickly.
AM: It does. Especially if you crash it. If you miss a goal in footy it doesn’t matter. But if you miss a turn in car racing, it does [laughs].
RV: Yeah, well we’ll try not to dwell on that too much, because that one’s still a bit close to home for you, isn’t it?
AM: [laughs] Yeah! Yeah… hey, look, it’s all part of it. But you’re right, it put me in a bad position, so, y’know, we started off with a budget, we knew what we had to achieve – we started off with a budget and worked backwards.
We apportioned an amount that goes, ‘Ok, throughout the year we need a raise this, through round by round we need to raise this.
So essentially Dad and I got on the phone to a couple of people, we used different social media platforms to get in contact with people. Using any contacts – if they knew contacts in certain areas, or were they able to help and all that, and it was just a hard slog, never give up.
And it was probably a two week window from when everyone got back from their Christmas holidays in the start of Feb to mid Feb where I had to give the team an answer.
It happened so quickly. I flew around Australia for five days having all these face-to-face meetings, presenting my proposal. But beyond just going, ‘Hey guys, we’ve got this… we’ve got this spot on the car available, we can give you this, it’s going to guarantee you this exposure.’ That never works.
RV: No – it’s more… you can’t just rely your sponsorship on TV times. If businesses wanted TV time they’d pay for TV ads because it’s cheaper.
AM: Correct. Exactly… and you’ve gotta be smart with who you pick, because a lot of businesses love motorsport.
We saw with… I think it was one of the big sponsors of supercars put out last year, the old marketing manager loved supercars, invested very big into supercars. The new marketing manager preferred basketball, so went to basketball.
And both have equal merit in their return for marketing spent, so it’s justified. But it’s a preference where that money goes. So you’ve gotta pick the right company to go, ‘Okay, these guys are in an industry that’s related, the person loves motorsport, they’ve been previously involved, they’ve XYZ…’ Whatever their link is, it’s gotta be some sort of feasible link.
‘Do they employ mechanics… engineers – what is it?’ Find a tie. And even though a lot of these companies have got big marketing divisions, and all of that, those people in marketing might not be involved in motorsport directly. Or know the nuances of motorsport and it’s leverage strategy.
So you’ve gotta come up with all the pitches, at the very first meeting, to go, ‘Hey guys, this is what we can do…’ – very loosely, y’know – ‘…we can do this, this and this.
So for me, social media – I run fourteen social media pages for different clients. So one of my things was leveraging the supercar program we have into social media, into in-store sales, different outlets that some of my sponsors deal with. And that’s a big driver so… it’s a win-win. Y’know, hopefully the people who support me see the promotion, and they go, ‘You know what? I need this product because I don’t have it at the moment, and it will greatly assist the way I drive.’ Without giving it away, obviously, because it hasn’t been released.
But then it’s also, y’know, my sponsor going, ‘Ok, hey, we’re getting sales off of this, we’ve got brand recognition’, and it’s win-win. The consumer wins, the sponsor wins, and motorsports.
RV: Yeah – they get a tangible result from their dollar spend. They go, ‘Ok, well we’ve got this brand recognition, but we’ve also got these tangible sales that have come from being associated with that. That makes signing the check a lot easier because there’s actually something they can go back to their management who may not actually have any understanding of motorsport, they can go, ‘Oh, hang on, ok… Adam has generated X amount of sales for us, and he’s not even our staff.’
AM: Yep – and that’s what it is. Social media I provide X amount of dollars in social media, and… that’s an industry rate, ‘He’s provided this much in social media, we got this much TV time, we got this much sales, we did that, that, that – he put together that strategy.’
And all of a sudden, when it adds up that they only spent this, and then they got three times the amount in some sort of TV and some sort of whatever, then all of a sudden, they go, ‘Oh, well that make’s perfect sense.’
It’s about putting together a pitch to say that when it’s in front of a board of directors, or whether it’s in front of whoever’s making the decision, it’s almost impossible for them to say no. Because if you base it on, ‘Hey we got this TV time, its never gonna stand up. And that’s where you’ve gotta find what your strength is – mine’s social media. So I can run social media pages.
And it’s not just as easy as putting up posts, there’s a lot more about remarketing, and-
RV: There’s a lot more strategy behind social media that just simply putting something on Facebook or Instagram.
AM: It’s not just a standard plug going, ‘Hey guys! These guys are awesome.’ It’s a lot more convincing.
But that’s my little niche, because I started it at uni, and did all that. Whatever it is, you’ve gotta make it your strength.
So… if it is using your business to leverage a network, if it’s that you are a lawyer and these guys need – whatever it is, there’s gotta be something.
RV: There’s always case studies for different things, like Super Cheap Auto use their sponsorship, and while they have primary partnership on Chaz’s car, a lot of the money is actually coming from their vendors, to pay for different areas of signage on their car, building… enhancing that relationship they have with those vendors.
The Penske example, where Penske trucks use Shell Fuel, and Shell Fuel sponsor the race cars, so there’s all sorts of behind the scenes B2B relationships that can be leveraged any which way really.
AM: Absolutely – and that’s one of the things obviously with Auto One there are a lot of suppliers to Auto One on that car, and it’s very much the same thing.
If you go target someone like Macca’s. Who supplies their buns? Who does this, this and this? Now you don’t need to know that, but that’s one of the things when you’re in the meeting, if you’re fortunate – Macca’s would be awesome by the way.
RV: The definition of fast food.
AM: Yeah! ‘Putting the fast in fast food.’
RV: Yeah, that’s it.
AM: Ah, I like this!
RV: Well, we’ve found Adam another sponsor.
AM: We should do this more often! I’m gonna come with better ideas…
But it’s putting those scenarios together, and going, ‘Hey guys, you might not need to actually do this – we can subsidise it, and we can get those brands involved and help them get the value out of it.
And if you’re the bit that ties it all together.’ So whatever it is, it’s finding out what they can do.
So the biggest key is doing a lot of research on the company and industry. What are the challenges against the industry? I know the automotive market extremely well, so I’d say: huge amount of competition; lot of saturation; customers probably don’t have perfect information about their cars but they like to think they do, and therefore they go with the easiest alternative, that alternative’s not always right.
So for Auto One, it was “Right Gear, Right Advice, At The Right Price.” Little do they know that Auto One’s probably the best priced out of every single one, but we’ve got at my store in Morley, I employ two qualified mechanics – you don’t whats wrong you just come and ask us, we’ll tell you.
So it’s about finding out where they’re positioned in the market, what their strategy is. And the very first meeting, when you go and have a chat to them, is not about what they can do, it’s what you do.
Have a chat to them, find out everything, find out what they are finding tough. Is the economy good? Is it bad? Are they winning a lot of projects? Are they not? How do they win these projects? What are they seeing – where’s the correlation between sales and engagement? That’s what you need to go down to. Because everyone’s different, and not one person that’s ever been involved with me has taken a standardised package – it’s one or the other.
RV: You can’t have a standardised package for motorsport as a general thing, because it’s just too diverse.
AM: Yes – that’s right. So it’s about getting in front of the right person, have that meeting, and ask. So when I flew around Australia for a week, it was hitting up a huge amount of companies. I got knocked back in that meeting more than I got accepted.
RV:Which is everything – it’s just life. You’re gonna get knocked down more times, always, regardless of what it is. It could be a sales pitch, it could be asking for a sponsorship, it could be anything. You’re always gonna get knocked back, so you just have to build up a resilience, and keep going.
AM: There were times where, I gotta tell you, right up until the week before Adelaide, I didn’t think I was gonna be on the grid. We managed to pull it all together, and a couple of things fell our way, and happy days.
The reason we did it, some of the partners Penrite involved with so many different aspects – why do they need another person? Because we sat down to figure out – and this is not just me, its everyone – where do they see themself? How do they wanna grow?
F10 is probably the best fuel treatment… in the world. I’ve used it since I was a kid, just by buying it – it is seriously, serious good – gets water out of fuel, does everything. But unless you know it, you’re never gonna buy it.
RV: I’ve never used it – it’s not something I’d be aware of, except for their association with you.
AM: Yes. So it’s about getting that understanding, and even getting samples. So one of the strategies we’ve got is giving away samples at all the tracks. So if you come up and you see us, you can get a free bottle, retails for like eighteen bucks.
It’s available, but no-one knows why they need it, no-one knows… well they probably know how to use it, tip it in your fuel tank
RV: [laughs] It’s not super-complicated, I know you’re only a race car driver, but-
AM: [laughs] But it tricked me a couple of times. But no-one knows why to use it, or where to get it, so it’s that education – that’s totally different to some of the other sponsors. So that was when we sat down, it was about establishing social media, connecting with younger people, which we’re just in the process of building. TV adverts, radio adverts, for just general branding.
And now, education through my guys and after talking to them we actually used the samples as giveaway, and three weeks after, in my own personal store, I had two people come in and buy that off that sample. Led straight through to sales.
RV: Excellent. And that’s exactly what you want – a tangible business result, based on a sponsorship.
AM: Absolutely. So the customer to F10 – my store – got a win, F10 got a win, and motorsport got a win.
And as long as you can tick those boxes, it’s great. But you’ve gotta think of that strategy before you go. Now [inaudible] or F10, the holding company that owns that F10, has never been involved in motorsport. It took me since 2012 – I’ve been asking and talking, and they’re like, ‘Nah, we don’t need it, rah rah.’ Keep going and going and going, but a rapport.
Then we’ve put together a case study to go, ‘Hey guys, this is what we think you need to do. This is where we see your position – do you agree?’. They might go, ‘No, you’re totally wrong – your research is wrong, Adam’. ‘But I believe you’re positioned in a very niche market, you’ve got all the other fuel additives out there that, y’know, stabilize fuel, that do this, injector cleaners – whatever. Yours does everything and more, at a cheaper price.
RV: But if nobody knows…
AM: Then it’s the world’s best secret. So, that’s kind of it, and it’s already starting to work. So finding these niches before you go to them to say, ‘Hey, look, I care about your brand, and I haven’t even started working for you.’ Means a lot straight up. Then you get to the second meeting where you start to talk more about what you do.
RV: But even that resilience on your part, working on that relationship over seven years, to get them to a point where they’re actually now involved, and doing it properly, and seeing the results. Instead of taking the ‘no’ and walking away, you’ve taken a ‘no’ and turned it into a ‘maybe’ which has turned into a ‘yes’.
AM: Absolutely. It’s never giving up at that ‘no’. And showing that you care… because if you keep going back with a different case, ‘Hey – does this work? Does this work?’, keep moulding and moulding and moulding it, then eventually they’re gonna go, ‘You know what, we never thought of that… yeah we could use that.’
Then all of a sudden that ‘no’ becomes a ‘maybe’ as you say, into a ‘yes’. And then resilience ends up paying off, and then you just give everything you’ve got, and you don’t reply on TV, and you can’t just rely on putting up a post on Facebook going, ‘Hey guys, these guys are the best!’ You’ve gotta tie it in to that competition, to buy this, drive traffic into a store, XYZ – that’s what it’s all about.
RV: It’s the packaged product.
AM: Yeah. West Coast Eagles and Hungry Jacks – obviously, Perth boy, love the West Coast Eagles – they do it very well, in store activations, everything. Y’know, the Eagles didn’t go, ‘Hey guys, we’re gonna put your logo here, and that’s what you’re gonna get for whatever amount of money it is.’
RV: Millions of dollars [laughs].
AM: Ah – I can only dream of such sponsorships! But it’s, ‘Hey guys, we’ve got this database here, we’ve got this amount of social media followers, we’re gonna do these appearances, this that and the other.
We’re gonna try hold an event, and maybe network. What can your current sponsors offer this new sponsor? Would they both benefit from networking? If you network sponsors it adds longevity.
It’s finding that way, whether it’s interrelated, whether it’s an accountancy firm, with anyone that you’ve got. Radio – y’know, whatever it is. You network then, and all of a sudden…
RV: Anything that you do – so if you’re asking for ten grand, but you can provide them thirty grand worth of value, whether that’s a business association, whether that’s direct sales, whatever it is – then when you go and ask for twenty grand next year, it just becomes a no-brainer.
They’re not gonna question it because you’ve already provided them that much extra value just by that association. So it’s putting in all that work behind the scenes that’s really important.
AM: And that’s right. You’ve gotta show where the value is when you increase. And when it becomes a no-brainer, it becomes a personal relationship. And you build that rapport, and then you become that company.
Then you actually understand, through your own personality, what they need. And Auto One was exactly that, whenever someone walked around with a Super Cheap Auto merchandise on in a photo, I’d pretend to cover it out. It’s stuff like that, it provokes the question, people joke about it, it’s identifiable and they start to move across. And it’s embodying that brand as if it was your own brand.
And you’re right – finding those value-adds, there’s networking, you just need to make it harder to say ‘no’. That’s what it’s about… yeah.
RV: So coming into this year, obviously things were a bit questionable coming into Adelaide, and you really scrambled to bring everything together.
You’ve got an association with Erebus who also have Penrite sponsorship. Did they have any sort of factor in that relationship coming about, or…? Not to give all the secrets away, but which buttons did you have to push to start getting your foot in the door as the season was starting to approach.
AM: That was a very hard one – Penrite was probably one of the last sponsors to come onboard, so funny enough we had everything down, apart a major sponsor, and it all really hinged on one or two people, and we were getting very, very close.
We had Penrite on the way, then the last one to come onboard, to pretty much dictate our season was Fabcon. And that was a really great relationship from within the team, and without them I wouldn’t be here.
With Penrite I’ve had prior relationships with them, even though we’ve been backed by a competitor, to them.
Penrite was one of those people that you meet in different scenarios at the track, and y’know, I approached Barry Ryan, because I didn’t wanna tread on other peoples’ toes. Motorsport’s a very, very small game, word gets around quickly, you start stealing sponsors, doing whatever…
RV: It’s not just sponsors – everything that’s behind the scenes with motorsport. If you start treading on people’s toes, you’ve got a very short life span.
AM: You do. And with my previous sponsors, I know exactly who hit my previous sponsors saying what they could do that I couldn’t. And I’ll find out, because I’ve got the relationship with them – or the person does.
Just as I thought about Penrite I was like, y’know what, there’s a lot of good synergies, Erebus, Penrite, Penrite Racing. Y’know, this would be a really good story to tell.
Erebus academy, I’ve been part of that academy since 2013, ‘Hey, this would look pretty cool.’ So I got on the phone to Barry Ryan, made sure that… yeah, I didn’t wanna rock up to Adelaide and go, ‘Hey, here’s Penrite’ and him go, ‘What’s this? Are you trying to cut us out.
RV: Yeah – you’ve gotta be really careful with those.
AM: Yeah. And, look, Barry was great, he said, ‘That would be really cool – see how it goes. Obviously, we’re already locked in with doing out own thing, but hey, look, if it all works for you, give them a shot.’
So I had his blessing, got on the phone, and started making calls. And got through with Toby, Jarad and John – all the guys at Penrite there, and started putting together things. And look, they were saying no more than yes…
RV: Which is bound to happen…
AM: It’s always gonna happen. And then, y’know, we just kept offering them more and more and more to make it – well, not more, but different – to make it tailored more into what they’re doing.
RV: Honed your pitch to what they needed.
AM: Exactly. And then all of a sudden it looked like, well, it’s great value – let’s do it. And, y’know, I’ve got reports on what I’ve done before in terms of my social media reach a year, in terms of what the car generated, in terms of the sales I got for each company, in terms of where it’s been in newspapers, all that.
RV: Which is all stuff you need to keep track of all the way through your career so you can hand these stats to people when they need them.
AM: Exactly – because you can either go, ‘Oh yeah – I’m the most followed, I’m the most TV-timer there is’, but unless you’ve got the actual stats to back it up, it’s all here say. So, I went to them with that – with a plan.
They’ve got a great marketing team, they already on several cars, but I still threw them a couple of things that, ‘Hey, maybe we could try this, we could try and pull some sales through here and – let’s do this, this and this.’
And, y’know, ended up with Penrite saying yes. Which was really, really cool, to be associated with such a great brand, Australian brand… they’ve been in supercars – it’s a good story.
RV: It’s just a good tie-in between your relationship with Erebus that goes way back in any of their current drivers. And that whole synergy with – even driving one of their cars, well, longer than their current drivers have been racing on their cars. So it’s a whole package story, so it’s a good one to have.
AM: Exactly. So it’s once again finding that synergy that you can use to bundle that all together. It would make more sense for, say, Penrite to do it than, say, Caltex. Because, y’know, there’s more going for the Penrite thing, and you’ve got exposure.
Sometimes not everyone knows… about the inner working. So you explain it, show how that can provide value to the current program. Because it’s very easy to say, why shouldn’t I do it? instead of, why not? You’ve gonna turn the why into the why not? and you provide solidarity in what you offer.
So yeah, it was tough… like I said, I only found out five days before Adelaide that I’d be racing again this year, so it was very, very touch-and-go.
Now to repay their faith in me I’m working five times overtime on running so many social media pages and providing content – probably doing more than I ever signed up to do, but I just wanna make sure it’s a yes for next year, if we decide to do the same thing again. So you’ve gotta promise low and overdeliver – don’t promise too low otherwise they’ll so ‘no’ [laughs].
RV:Yeah, no – but you’ve gotta be seen to be providing that extra value, because that’s the difference between Joe Bloggs racer and Adam Arjoram racer. If your reputation precedes you then it makes the pitch much easier next time.
AM: It does. And the ability to present in front of a board of directors is crucial. And if you can’t – do it. It’s gonna be a lot tougher for you, so finding whether you have to do a media training course… whatever you need to do, you are part of the brand that you are trying to sell.
You’re the commodity, you’re the product that you put on the shelf to sell. And if you can’t sell yourself, then you can’t do it. And I used to struggle – I never used to be able to talk about money, so when people would ask me the direct question, ‘How much does it cost?’, I’d struggle. Because… I know you never really ask someone how much they earn, and it’s very rude.
RV: Yeah, money’s one of those things where a lot of people struggle with just purely on that. It’s not a subject that anyone’s comfortable really talking about.
AM: Absolutely – you don’t go out and go, ‘Oh yeah, how much do you earn? And I earn this.’ It’s not a very easy conversation. So I could sell myself very, very well, and provide the strategy – obviously with my marketing background – I could provide the strategy, so everything. And the pitch looks good, right up until they say, ‘How much is that gonna cost?’ And I’d be like, ‘Ah, erm, err… yeah it’s this, but, y’know we could do this…’ and then I’d get all jittery and then kind of… So that’s my personal hang-up I had to get over…
RV: And that all comes with experience.
AM: It does – yeah, once again, you’re gonna screw up a couple of pitches and they’re gonna say no. And don’t be afraid, as well, when they say no, ask for feedback. ‘Why did you say no?’ Because nine times out of ten, you realise when it’s a no, you go, ‘Damn, well I stuffed that up. I shouldn’t have said that, I should’ve done that…’ – whatever.
Nine times out of ten it’s actually not you, it’s the position of that company. It might be that, ‘Look, we went TV this year, and hey, we’d love to chat next year, but we’re just not in that position.
RV: Or you’ve asked after they’ve locked in their budget for the year, or they’re on a different financial year because they’re based overseas, or any number of other things. So there’s a lot of other factors that come into it. And you’ve gotta put in the good fight, and work on those relationships over a course of time.
A potential sponsor isn’t gonna sign a check because you’ve given them a good pitch – you’ve gotta work on it and build those relationships to get them to sign the check.
AM: Exactly – and if they say, ‘Look, hey, we’re not in the position this year.’ Next year, get in early and maybe you can work something out. Not necessarily, but there’s a chance – if there’s a chance then you take it. And if not, it’s gonna improve your product for later on. So you can actually go and tailor it a little bit better for the next person, so hopefully that fifty-fifty ‘no’ is a seventy-five-twenty-five ‘yes’.
You’re always adapting and evolving and trying the get the right thing together. So, y’know, that’s another thing – don’t be afraid to ask for feedback, there’s respect in that as well. Because when those guys go, ‘Y’know what – he wants to work on himself to make it even better.’
Maybe that’s what they need to see for the next time ‘yes’. No different to going back to F10 five years in a row tryna pitch and pitch and pitch and pitch, trying to make myself better. Turned into a ‘yes’, that feedback mechanism might be an easy way to do it. So don’t be afraid to ask – ask questions.
RV: Yeah, absolutely. And that goes for any relationship you’re trying to foster – you’ve just gotta talk, communicate.
AM: Yes. The worst thing you can do is be silent when you put the sticker on the car, silent all year long. And when it rocks up to next year go, ‘Hey guys, remember me? You’ve got a logo on my car, do you wanna pay X amount to be on it next year?’ They’re gonna go, ‘Ah, who are you again?’
RV: Yeah, yeah [laughs] – ‘That’s where the money disappeared to. Right, ok, yeah, yeah.’
AM: Yes – so it’s always that ever-continued relationship, it’s crucial. A monthly check-up, reports, whatever it is, video conference. Whatever you need to offer them, make sure you’re always in contact. You don’t wanna be that long-lost person, because you’re getting a lot out of it, and hopefully you’re delivering a lot out of it. But a lot of people stay very silent.
RV: Yes – and that’s something a lot of young drivers need to learn… it’s not just the check, it’s not just the sticker, it’s not just the TV time, it’s fostering that relationship so that when you do go to ask for the bigger bucks, all the hard work’s already done.
AM: Yes – that’s exactly what it’s all about. And, y’know, motorsport’s getting harder and harder in some instances, y’know, costs are rising, y’know all of these little things. And the rise of social media has really changed the dynamic of the way you leverage sponsorship.
A lot of it’s on social media but people pick results from social media, therefore they might not watch that race. But if they don’t watch the race, they don’t see the brand on the car – how else do you get that brand in front of that person? That’s what you need to think of.
Is it on store appearances? Offer something into whatever outlet, or whatever’s going on. Find a way to get that brand in front of those people. And social media’s great because you can report on it – it’s very, very good. Like last year, my social media reached two-and-a-half million unique accounts, and now it’s one of those things that, ‘Ok guys, let’s do this, this and this, and let’s leverage it.
These are some of the strategies I used. Whatever it was that I reported on, that was one of the strengths on my report.
RV: Which is a much more solid stat that you can give a potential sponsor, as oppose to, ‘Well, we were on TV for thirty-seven seconds during the Townsville race.
While it has a dollar figure attached to it, how many of those people actually genuinely recognised all the logos on the car?
Whereas the social media side of things, there’s a tangible result that comes directly out of that.
AM: Exactly – and it’s all about finding what works for each person. And everyone’s gonna be different. Yeah, it’s all very, very interesting.
RV: Excellent – well, thank you very much for the chat, Adam.
AM: Pleasure, mate – thank you for having me.