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B2B Marketing and Motorsport Sponsorship for Businesses

by Feb 11, 2019

Motorsport isn’t just a sport. It’s a huge network consisting of dozens, if not hundreds of different businesses who are highly interconnected and dependent on each other.

These powerful networks within motorsport have the potential to drive lots of business opportunities for you. It has happened plenty of times and will happen in the future. Business-to-Business relationship building is a powerful way to grow your business through motorsport.

This article is going to show business owners how motorsports sponsorship along with clever B2B marketing can be used to grow your company far more effectively than traditional sponsorship itself.

How Traditional Sponsorship is Evolving

One of the biggest difficulties in gauging the effectiveness of traditional sponsorship is being able to accurately understand the value it brings. In the past, you as a sponsor would typically have to pay a (huge) fee for the privilege of having your logo on a race car. By doing this, you’d get your brand in front of more people. Even if the sponsorship worked and increased brand awareness, measuring its effectiveness was incredibly difficult.

Today, we live in a time where there are so many ways to market your brand and measure the effectiveness of it. What this means is that you shouldn’t be buying a sponsorship program only for some brand exposure, unless the program incorporates a solid social media or marketing campaign.

In spite of all these tools we have, it can still be quite difficult to determine how that visibility turns into revenue. Some businesses, especially those who sell to other businesses primarily, may find far less value from brand placement at the race tracks.

Using Business-to-Business Deals for Quantifiable Results

When you look past the colourful sponsorship deals on the surface, you’ll often find that motorsport is built upon B2B relationships.

Why B2B works so well is because it leads to a quantifiable and more immediate Return-on-Investment. Even if you’re primarily a B2C company, a product placement deal with another business, for instance, can lead to developing new sales channels, getting a better supplier deal and much more.

Take this example of the sponsorship deal between petrochemical company Shell and Penske Racing:

“….when Shell replaced Mobil 1 at Team Penske in 2011, it got the chance to put its oils and lubricants in vehicles across Penske Corp., including 220,000 rental trucks, 400,000 new cars sold annually at Penske dealerships across the world, and 3 million cars serviced annually by Penske Corp. — making the sponsorship pay for itself before the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford even fired its engine.”

Can you see how compelling it is for Shell to have a deal with Penske? This is not just a regular sponsorship deal, this is a full-blown business partnership that results in actual sales.

Virgin Australia Supercars - Round 8 - Townsville

Even a company as big as Shell doesn’t only sponsor a racing team to get in front of global consumers, they’re also getting involved for a lucrative business deal on top of all regular sponsorship benefits.

In series which get less exposure than the likes of IndyCar, NASCAR and Formula 1. Any sponsorship deal should seriously take into account all the B2B benefits.

Best Practices for Sponsors

Now if you were to ever sponsor motorsports. Realise that this can be a great opportunity to form new business relationships or develop existing ones. Also, keep the following points in mind before ever signing a sponsorship deal.

Have quantifiable goals you wish to achieve and make them clear. There are so many factors that will determine how well a program will work for you. What’s important is that it integrates well with your objectives. Learn as much as necessary about the driver, team and championship and see how their program can help your business.

To be on the same page, you need to have a page. Signing a contract is a must before you pay any amount of money. Far too many sponsorship agreements have gone bad for both parties, where agreements have been decided on a handshake and not fulfilled as expected. Be aware of all the costs you’ll be responsible for paying before signing the dotted line.

Whatever the program is, it needs to work off the track too. There are fast drivers who may be able to win races, but not drive many business opportunities for you. You want to look for drivers who resemble the “full package” as much as possible. They also need to be committed to marketing just as much as driving fast.

A true professional will understand the value of what they’re providing and not automatically link up the cost of racing to the sponsorship program. If they just want you to foot the bill of their racing expenditures, look elsewhere.

Try to build a program that benefits your existing customers or partners too. In the long run, if you can help those who support your business directly or indirectly, you can truly increase the lifetime value of your customers.

Get in touch with us if you require any advice on who to partner with. Our clients include a number of reputable professional racing drivers. Your success and ROI through motorsports sponsorship can be greatly improved by integrating a strong marketing and business development program.

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