Networking is the key to success in any business and just as much so in the Business of Being a Race Driver.
Whether at a trade show, at the track or even in a social situation, your skill at networking will help determine how successful you are in getting (and keeping) sponsors. This week I bring you some advice on this important skill that will hopefully enable you to up your networking game.
In addition to networking, there are tips on optimizing your Instagram posts, how sponsorship is integrated into a company’s general marketing activities, why branding matters in modern motorsport and much more.
All this in this week’s Business of Being a Race Driver Roundup.
The Business of Racing
From the Driver’s Point of View
Trade shows can be valuable networking opportunities but you need to make sure that you are using them in the right way. Alex Striler explains the right approach to use when networking at trade shows.
“Many racers go to trade shows with a handful of proposals and hand them out to everyone with the word “Marketing” in their title. I did this for many years before I realized it was the wrong way. SEMA and PRI can be great places to start relationships with potential sponsors, but they are not the place to hand out promotional materials or ask for money.”
Back in 2019 I wrote about the importance of networking and offer you some advice on how you can build up your skills.
Do not underestimate the value of networking in helping you achieve your motorsport goals because you never know who you might meet and when that meeting may actually pay dividends to you as a driver. And don’t forget to take notes on who you met, what they do and where you met them! This could be critical as you work to follow up on initial contacts or if you are contacted and you need to jog your memory as to who the person is and what they do.
Networking by necessity involves speaking with people, putting on presentations and possibly public speaking, activities that petrify a lot of people, race drivers included. While you may not enjoy it, it is a necessary activity as you work to build up your list of contacts and potential sponsors while continuing to engage with your current sponsors.
One organization that can truly help you in this regard is Toastmasters. Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, the organization’s membership is approximately 280,000 in more than 14,700 clubs in 144 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators, and leaders. If you struggle with public speaking or are looking to network with other professionals and learn new skills, you should consider attending a local meeting and investigate what they have to offer.
Megan Meyer explains how you can increase your searchability and reach on Instagram (and across the web) and grow your racing business. Her tips will give your content a better chance at being found. Read all the details in Amp Up Your Instagram SEO and Get New Fans Fast!
Brayton Roberts is an eleven-year-old that had a dream, to race at the Tulsa Shootout. Through his own business, he’s raised enough money to make it. Watch his story in the video above.
The Julius Baer website has an informative article from 2021 on financing a racing career focusing on race driver Simona de Silvestro.
Motor racing is an expensive sport. Today’s soaring costs of karting and junior racing fees as well as the hefty price tag for gear and equipment come as a barrier to many young aspiring racers. “It’s a big investment emotionally as well as financially. Racing is not the cheapest sport,” she says. “When you start growing up, it gets harder to just be in a family environment. You need people around you who follow this dream and follow this path to try to achieve that goal.”
Andrew Petcash discusses D2C (Direct to Consumer) in sports and how it will impact everything.
2022 was the year of marketplaces — where platforms connect the main players in sports together. In 2023, we’ll see more of an emphasis on D2C.
Eddie Garrison explains the concept of social currency.
In today’s “definition” of the term according to Wikipedia, it’s the actual and potential resource from presence in social networks and communities, including both digital and offline. It is in essence, an action made by a company or stance of being, to which consumers feel a sense of value when associating with your brand, while the humanization of your brand generates loyalty and “word-of-mouth” vitality for the organization.
From the Sponsors Point of View
Sport Dimensions answers the question of how does sponsorship work with your marketing strategy?
Often, the most valuable opportunity for brands to activate their strategy effectively in sports is through sponsorship. It isn’t as easy as dropping a logo on the hood of a car, or the front of a jersey. The backend of sponsorship comes in the form of sports business, where you want to partner with industry expertise.
Sport Dimensions also looks at the value of zooming out.
Our world is increasingly detail-heavy where the smallest things can make the biggest difference. These things are important, and for me, mean a lot. I have to catch myself and zoom out to make sure the detailed work I am focusing on still is tied to the larger picture and the original objective.
Power Sponsorship explains how the best sponsorship is process-driven sponsorship.
For most sponsors, decisions to invest in or renew a sponsorship are based primarily on analysis against a set of criteria. This may seem sensible, and bean counters love this approach, but it doesn’t actually work very well with sponsorship. I’ll go so far as to say that using analysis to drive your decisions is consigning your results to mediocrity, and the only way to achieve truly outstanding sponsorship is if the decisions around it are primarily process-driven.
General Motorsport Marketing Advice & Resources
Sport Dimensions have put together their Definitive Guide to Motorsports Marketing.
The nearly $6 billion world of motorsports marketing is a challenging, rich and intensely exciting realm to operate in. Some of the largest brands in the world have built their presence from simple grassroots programs to dynamic, multi-series dynasties. From the outside looking in, they make it look easy. But for marketing managers, executives, and those interested in working with motorsports sponsorship programs to market their business it can quickly become overwhelming without the right know-how and support in your corner.
Sam Carp of SportsPro Media looks at eight things we learned about sports sponsorship and marketing in 2022. Highly recommend you subscribe to his newsletter.
Episode 115 of the Inside Sponsorship Podcast looks at how to be innovative and creative in sponsorship. You can listen here.
Innovation is what can give a sponsorship a competitive advantage. Whether that is better awareness and positioning for brands versus their competitors, access to target audiences, better ROI/ROO, or whether it is just a stronger overall relationship.