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Why They Don't Want to Sponsor You

Published By Ayrton of Delta2 Motorsport Co.     May 13, 2016    
Why you're probably not satisfying your sponsors.


"Why is it that I can't find a sponsor who will take me seriously?

The simple answer is that you probably don't speak their language.

"Our CPM is significantly lower than your most recent means of exposure, and fits right into your IMC," is something that I wouldn't expect too many drivers to understand. So why would you approach them with racing jargon and a lack of data (data being the language of the COO, CMO, and various other C_O's) is asking for failure and only annoying the person on the recieving end of your proposal. Even more important than that, most properties (Teams, drivers, and tracks) don't understand how to properly drive a campaign.

Earlier today I stopped into a corner store and started talking with the clerk who, I found out, is the owner of the business. We got onto the subject of work and he asked me what it is that I do, and after I explained that I am launching a motorsport marketing agency, he told me that he'd recently sponsored a local car and proudly showed me a picture of it. It was a good size logo for a secondary sponsor and the car looked good. I asked what kind of strategy they were working and he looked at me sideways. 

"What do you mean?"

My jaw dropped. This kid (only about twenty-three or twenty-four years old) had just dumped upwards of three thousand dollars into a car that runs a circuit that only engages about 600 spectators a week with no plan to further that engagement. It's the responsibility of the driver and team to ensure that the sponsor gains ROI. If that doesn't happen, then then you will likely be without a sponsor, and the business reluctant (at best) to sponsor any motorsport again. If you are not working, at minimum, four hours a week actively representing and gathering leads for your sponsor, then don't expect to be sponsored the following season.

Unfortunately, this seems to be the norm in most of the motorsport deals that I see on a smaller scale. Why do you think NASCAR and F1 teams have entire departments or agencies to handle their marketing? Race reports, photo shoots, exhibitions, and shoutouts to the sponsor will show them that you're not some ungrateful kid who thinks that the world owes him a ride because he's the next Johnson, Hamilton, or Power. You'll gain valuable respect and results to show to others down the road. Once you're sponsored, be it $500, or $500,000, you owe that company a place in your heart. They have placed not only their faith, but their hard-earned cash, in your venture.

Your exposure is worth something, but only as much as the effort that you're willing to put forth to drive it. Don't think that solely because X amount of people will see your car, X amount of people are going to turn into sales for the sponsor.

You race because you want to get better, possibly become a pro someday. The word "pro" itself tells you what you need to do in order to get there, and that's the same as in any business: Generate revenue. Successful companies spend thousands on marketing (photos, commercials, SEO, and web presence).  If you can understand how these work, and what your place in their sales funnel is, and how to push those leads into sales, then you can be a serious asset to a company.

Be grateful. Our sport depends on your gratuity.

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