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What to look out for in driver contracts

What to look out for in driver contracts

Driver contracts are crucially important, yet seldom talked about part of motorsports. At the grassroots level like club karting, they’re barely even used.

However, having a good contract no matter the level of racing, could prevent a lot of mishaps and unfulfilled promises that have badly affected many relationships between teams and drivers in the past.

Also without having a contract in place, signing any sponsorship deal could go very wrong for no fault of your own. This is one of the few areas you don’t want to be fast in motorsports.

This article will shed light on things that should be inspected in contracts, and draws upon the experiences of racing drivers who wished they knew this information in advance. It’s aimed to help the young driver, who is most likely bringing money to a team and looking to raise sponsorship for their racing.

The Costs

By the time you get to a view a contract from a team, you should already have a general idea of the race or season’s budget. When you view the contract, you’re not just looking to make sure that the cost is what they told you, but you have to see what else you may be liable to paying for.

In a lot of contracts, consumables and spare parts aren’t included. Clarify what parts on the car ideally need to be changed throughout the season and get clear on the costs.

There may be extra expenses above normal preparation costs incurred during the season. Make sure there is a clause that says these costs should be accepted by the driver/guarantor in advance and ideally pay for these when presented with a bona fide third-party supplier invoice. This can prevent teams charging you for things you haven’t agreed to, and in some cases over-charging you.

Finally, while we never hope you have big a shunt, accidents do happen in motorsports. See if your team has damage insurance included, and make sure the contract lists out exactly what the insurance covers.

Your goal from analysing the costs should be to seal any doubts, such that when you do plan your budget and look for sponsorship. You know what you need or don’t have any bad surprises mid-season that stops you from racing.

Payment Terms and Schedule

Payment terms vary between each and every team. Ideally, you want to see the payments spread out over the season. Paying the full budget upfront just puts you in a weak position to leave if the team’s performance is far below what’s promised, or if something unfortunate happens that prevents you from racing.

Make sure there is a schedule or deadlines for the services they’ll provide. For instance, if there are 8 test days included in the contract. There’s not much value doing them all at the end of the season. For this reason, aim to have a schedule to keep the team accountable too.

Personnel

It’s crucial you get on well with your mechanics, engineers, coaches and other staff in your team to perform well. Is there a specific person you want to work with? Then make sure it’s written down.

Teams can sell you on the fact X coach and Y engineer is in their team, but the contract may simply say you’ll be provided with “a race engineer, support crew and mechanics.” If people in the team change at any point or aren’t who you expected, then you may not be able to do much if the contract doesn’t specify names.

Is the contract too one-sided?

There will likely be terms which state the behaviour expected from the driver. How about the team? Is there any clause that prevents them from bringing your name into disrepute? Or compensation for your car not being able to race? Aim to make things as fair as possible.

Make sure there are no vagaries. They’re commonly found in statements which include words like “…will be considered”. Clear up any doubts before you sign. Only once you’ve signed, then pay the team as agreed.

Ultimately if you don’t feel good about working with someone, listen to your gut. No contract in the world could prevent every eventuality, but having a good contract can hold you and your team to a higher standard and increase the chances of having a successful season.

B2B Marketing and Motorsport Sponsorship for Businesses

B2B Marketing and Motorsport Sponsorship for Businesses

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.

The Pros and Cons of Cross-Posting on Social Media

The Pros and Cons of Cross-Posting on Social Media

Social media is an incredibly useful tool for getting your name out there and sharing your brand with a large audience. But, despite its effectiveness, trying to keep up with multiple profiles can be incredibly time-consuming. When you need to be sharing images on Instagram, real-time updates on Twitter, in-depth posts on Facebook, and video diaries on YouTube – you’ve soon run out of time for anything else.

This is where cross-posting on social media can save the day. By sharing the same piece of content across multiple platforms, you’re cutting your time on social media down by a considerable amount. But, this strategy doesn’t come without drawbacks. So, is it worth the time you save, or are you better off sticking to the tried and true method of crafting individual posts?

The Pros of Cross-Posting

You keep all your profiles active

It’s easier to neglect one profile in favour of others when you’re running short on time. If you’ve spent all your time nurturing a Facebook group and engaging with fans on Twitter, finding the time to capture great images for Instagram seems impossible, and your following there starts to disappear.

By using the same post for multiple profiles, you’re able to keep active across the board and stop the mass exodus that occurs when your posting schedule dries up.

It saves you a lot of time

This one is fairly obvious, but by using the same content for all your profiles, your time is freed up immensely. This allows you to spend longer on each post to make them really special, reach out to potential sponsors from your profile, and engage with and nurture your community more effectively.

More exposure per post

Not all of your audience will be active on the same platform – that’s what makes social media such a full-time job. By posting on multiple profiles in one go, you’re able to reach more of your audience at the same time and give your content more exposure.

The Cons of Cross-Posting

Non-optimized content

What works for Facebook doesn’t always work for Twitter. What works for Twitter doesn’t always work for Instagram. By using the same post for all platforms, you’ll only be able to optimize it for one site, likely restricting your engagement and performance on the others.

Post timings

Twitter requires you to create multiple posts per day to grow your account. But, do the same on Facebook and you’ll find that your posts begin underperforming. This is yet another danger of cross-posting regularly as you can end up hurting one account to benefit another.

Audience reaction

Some of your audience won’t just be following you on one platform. Your real fans will be spread out across different sites and will expect to see different content across the board. Cross-posting can leave your audience feeling a little cheated by your quality-skimping behaviour.

What should you do?

At the end of the day, the decision is really down to you. But, our advice would be to limit cross-posting as much as possible. It may be that one or two posts a week can act as your “hero content” and be shared across platforms, but getting into the habit of cross-posting will soon start to damage your social media accounts.

If time is short, then consider bringing someone else on board to help you run your accounts. This way your content and following won’t suffer, even when you have an extra busy week to contend with.

For more tips on building your career in motorsport, follow InSyde Media on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Understanding the Power of B2B Deals in Sponsorship

Understanding the Power of B2B Deals in Sponsorship

When we see or hear of sponsorship deals taking place, we typically see the surface of it. Drivers/team announcing a sponsorship deal on social media, logos plastered on race cars and fancy branding work. What happens behind those deals almost always goes far deeper than just a plain branding deal.

Business-to-Business deals (B2B for short), are an often forgotten but immensely powerful and effective way of finding the money to go racing. We’re going to cover what it is and strategies you can apply to make it work for you.

The reality of traditional sponsorship

The cost of motorsports is nothing to joke about. Even entry-level series like Formula 4 cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a season to compete in. If you’re trying to sell exposure and compare that to the cost of media buying. It’s almost always going to be a losing proposition for you.

Often the number of fans at a race circuit or following of a race series is to just too small to justify a sponsorship that covers the season’s budget. Yet, the cost of going racing is anything but small.

Until you get to Formula 1 or Indycar, where you have worldwide exposure from millions of fans. It’s really difficult to sell exposure itself. But then in Formula 1, the costs are exponentially higher. Even for a mid-pack team like Haas, they’re spending well over US$120 million for season.

Sponsorship itself really isn’t enough to pay for the season’s budget which ranges in the hundreds of millions, yet the cars are still going racing.

So is all hope lost for sponsorship? Absolutely not. It’s a very viable way to bring in some funding but its effectiveness is skyrocketed when combined with B2B business deals.

Businesses within Motorsports

These are just a few types of businesses involved in motor racing:

Racing Teams
Tyre Suppliers
Fuel Suppliers
Parts Suppliers
Race Tracks
PR companies
Motorsport Magazines
Manufacturers

Often these are huge businesses that have a global presence. What brings them to racing is all the B2B opportunities and exposure they get.

You see, without race teams to run race cars, tyre companies don’t have cars to mount their tyres onto, and without race tracks, the race cars don’t have anywhere to run.

This is all very simplified, but the point is there are hundreds of businesses who benefit from an involvement in motorsports and they’re all connected in some way. Almost all of them are focused on growing and turning a profit run sustainably.

Working with them to benefit their business in a big way opens you up to a lot more bigger opportunities.

Your job is to simply help them grow, by either increasing their sales, amount of customers or saving them money. You can do this by using the resources of one company to benefit another.

For example, you could get a lubricants supplier to give you their products at a cheaper cost, which you could then sell to your race team or auto shops you have a relationship with. In exchange, you give them all the sponsorship benefits and exposure at the race tracks plus you help them sell more.

What’s your unique offering?

For a company not involved in motorsports already, one of the biggest selling points and value propositions you as a racing driver have is access to the motorsport industry. You have contacts, knowledge and expertise. There are many products that have been developed or tested in motorsports, and this is exactly why so many major car manufacturers are in Formula 1 and Formula E developing their technology.

Some questions you can ask yourself include, who do you already have relationships with? Do you have a good relationship with a company you work for? Does your family or relatives run a business?

What is it that you can provide that makes you invaluable to a team or sponsor? How can you bring value by connecting two businesses or more?

It’s a must to find the unique value you can add to the offering. It may have something to do with where you come from, the people you know or whatever industry experience you have.

Once you’ve thought about what you can offer. You have to link that up with what a company wants. Put yourself in the business owner’s shoes, ask what would make this a truly great deal for them? Can their audience or ideal customers really be found in motorsports?

Count the Numbers

If it was easy, everybody would’ve done it and been racing already. Most deals you try to put on may not happen for some reason or the other. You have to learn from each failure, and then assess and adjust your strategy going forward.

Don’t only limit your options to your racing program only. Because there may be much more suitable championships, racing drivers, and teams who could work with a company. If you have a company’s best interest in mind, then it could be even more lucrative to strike a deal with another driver or team. You help them get a B2B deal and then get sponsorship or a commission for putting the deal together.

The mindset to take away

Think of all of this as creating partnerships more than sponsorship. This is business after all, so be professional, conduct yourself like a real businessperson.

Be a connector. Look for opportunities for sponsors and companies to do business with each other, through hosting networking events, workshops or putting on other activities.

Sell sponsorship benefits on top of a B2B deal. This can really sweeten up your offering and help bring in the budget to go racing.

For more tips on building your career in motorsport, follow InSyde Media on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Building An Audience That Can Sell You To Sponsors

Building An Audience That Can Sell You To Sponsors

Finding great sponsors can be an uphill battle for many sports professionals, but with a solid social media following backing you up, it becomes much easier. If people have chosen to follow you on social media, that shows they care what you have to say, which is what sponsors are really looking for.

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