After the successful launch of the DTO Shootout featuring Wayne Jelley, JR Heffner, Kenney Tremont, Jr. (the FIRST winner of the DTO ShootOut) Kyle Sheldon, and Brett Hearn numerous drivers at Lebanon Valley Speedway asked the DTO Crew one question, “Can you help us find sponsors?” That’s a BIG question because targeted potential partners may have varying requirements for PURESTOCK drivers and a different set of issues for BIG BLOCK MODIFIES. No matter what class you race in the truth is racing is expensive and DTO is here to help. It is the mission of DTO to give drivers the tools they need to succeed not only on the race track but in the competitive Sponsorship race also.
Before we move forward, the Dirt Crew must first pay homage to the ORIGINAL DTO SHOOTOUT investors, promoters, and ADVERTISING SPONSORS:
Howie Commander the owner of Lebanon Valley Speedway and Dave Savoca President of Smokey Mountain Chew, Incorporated are marketing visionaries in the industry. We could NOT have done the DTO ShootOut without your guidance, understanding, and superior market insights. YOU are the BEST. Thank you, Howie. Thank you, Dave.
Now, back to the garage and marketing work to race past the weekend.
Sponsors have a few things in common. Yes obviously, they all love the winners. What should you do if you’re a beginner in PURESTOCK with three checkered flags on the shelf? What should you be thinking about if you’re climbing the PROSTOCK leaderboard, but haven’t reached the Winner Circle yet? Sure, Small and Big Block Modified drivers get the limelight at 7 pm, but YOU WON the SPORTSMAN at 5:30 pm. Will you have the moola to race and win next time?
The DTO ShootOut Drivers are among the most sought-after racers in the Northeast. They consistently bring in sponsors interested in the Small and Big Block drivers. They generate VALUE through the excitement in their cars, colors, teams, and skills.
The exciting thing about Jelley, Heffner, Tremont, Jr., Sheldon
Big Stickers and Patches
It’s about the Benjamins for both parties. You’re asking for the cash because you can win under the lights on Friday and Saturday nights. You can pitch that to anyone.
What will your potential partners receive for the money? A big sticker or two on the car and patches on your uniform? That might be acceptable in one or two categories. However, a majority of decision-makers on the sponsorship side want more. That brings us back to the Benjamins, the cash, the money. Their money. Now what? You’re going to win next week. What else do they need?
Just like you, they need more money. Financial support from sponsors requires a demonstration of value from the driver. Sponsors discuss YOUR promotional impact on national, regional and local marketing strategies. They project future product sales and increased revenue with each product you touch. Their association with you has a connection to their INCOME not YOUR predictions for the featured race on Saturday. First things first address the elephant across the desk sitting on the wallet. What is the return on investment?
Do you have a website, Facebook page or both? Use the analytics available on the platform to outline your relationship and influence on consumers. Do you have a smartphone? Make a promotional product video and post it everywhere. Yes, give them stickers and patches, but also demonstrate the value that you bring based on your fans and followers. Do you have believers? Show them off!
The Real Competition
In this race, you’re not competing against another driver. You’re battling a much bigger opponent than that. You’re at war with the company’s radio, TV, print and online campaigns planned last year and the shrinking media and marketing budgets set the year before. After your pitch, you may clash with another driver, sales guy and new service with claims on the sponsor’s money.
The Winner Is…
Drivers that have the best relationship with sponsors are team players on and off the track. They help the advertising team with special promotions. They push products for the sales team. They deliver a return on investment (ROI) to the finance team. They go beyond the track. They do more than drive on the weekend to build a successful partnership.
The winners are the drivers that put the advertising sponsor’s goals ahead of their racing ambition.
This article is the first in our sponsorship series that will help you find the money you are looking for from companies in your area and nationally. Join DTO now and be the first to get the information you need to succeed. You will also receive a free download of the DTO song.