Since the earliest days of racing, drivers have looked to the manufacturer for help. Back then, GM, Ford & Chrysler were the “big fish” to catch. If you were fortunate enough to land a ride with the big three, you became part of a team that was determined to outperform the other two.
The racing scene has most definitely changed since then, but one thing remains constant; The corporations are looking for the most bang for their buck. I was lucky enough to be involved with an NHRA sportsman team for over 10 years, and in those 10 years we were even more fortunate to retain the same major sponsor. With that, here are some questions you should think about as the phone calls & proposals start to come in:
1. Is my product or service visible with the market I am targeting?
2. Will this team provide the representation that mirrors your company image?
3. Will this team provide the return on investment that I expect?
When a team approaches you, they should have these answers ready for you in a well laid out road map of who they are, what they have achieved in the past, and what their expectations for the future are.
When deciding to invest your sponsorship resources, treat this process as if you were interviewing a candidate for a high level employment position in your organization. Determine if your candidate has the same passion for your product as you do, is he or she a true believer? You also want to contact their previous sponsors and look at the successes & failures that occurred. Examine their schedule, and see if it matches the demographics you are looking to capture. What are the plans when an event is rained out or cancelled? What are the expectations for compensation? And remember, it doesn’t always have to be about dollars, sometimes products work just as well, and will lower your costs. And most importantly, how will you measure the results?
Sponsoring a team is more than seeing your name on the side of a vehicle, it’s a way to connect your product to a real life application. Take it seriously, do your homework, and reap the benefits.