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When It Comes to Sponsorship Marketing: Show, Don’t Tell

Published By Kristin DirtyMouth Communications     March 15, 2016    


Ever heard the phrase, ‘ideas are worthless without execution’?

With the hands-on nature of racing, at the track and in the garage it’s very clear that an idea isn’t worth anything if we don’t do something with it.

When it comes to sponsorship marketing, though, we often forget that ideas aren’t enough.

We think that we can just pitch a bunch of ideas to a sponsor and we’ll execute whichever campaign they pick. Or, worse yet, we don’t give them any ideas and want them to ‘just tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll do that.’

There is a level of trust that has to be built with marketing partners, whether they’re new and you’re pitching them on an initial partnership or existing sponsors.

The problem for sponsorship sellers is: anyone can come up with ideas. Even great ones.

The problem for potential sponsors? Not everyone can, or will, execute them.

But that’s not a problem for those of us who show up. For those who can and will execute.

So how do you differentiate between your property – team, track, business – and the other idea-makers?

You show, not just tell.

How, you ask? Start by pitching ideas that are within, or only slightly above, your current marketing level. And then show them what you’ve already done and have in place that proves you’re up to the task.

For example, my husband, Carl Bowser, was recently featured in a television commercial for his marketing partner, Turner’s Premium Iced Tea. This was his first television commercial. So why did they trust that the idea would work in real life?

I’d venture to guess that there are a few reasons. Although it was his first shoot, it wasn’t mine. They knew that I was familiar with the process and we’d come to the table with a certain level of knowledge and experience. They’ve also seen him speak before. They have a level of comfort with his professionalism. And they know we’re familiar with how to film on-the-track action and could help the videographer if necessary.

The commercial was a level beyond what we had ever done with Carl’s program. But it wasn’t that big of a leap based on our relationship and what we’ve executed in the past.

If you wanted to offer a signature sandwich at your racetrack, you wouldn’t just have the announcer mention the idea and hope a fan ordered it. You’d have to put it on the menu, and buy all of the ingredients. You might even go a step further and create a beautiful photo of it, offer samples, and have one under glass to show your fans.

The more work you do up front to show fans that the sandwich exists and is delicious, the more likely you are to sell it.

The same goes with marketing.

When you’re working with marketing partners, you have to build a level of trust both with you and with your work. And that happens by showing them what you can do, instead of making them trust that you’ll actually be able to pull that idea off and do it well.

When you’re competing for advertising dollars, you can’t afford to make them imagine.

You have to show them.


About the author
Kristin Swartzlander is passionate about applying business sense to racing 'nonsense' in hopes of growing the sport of dirt track racing. She is a business strategist who works with entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them learn how to use public relations, marketing and social media to achieve their goals. Learn more about social media, marketing and racing sponsorship on the DirtyMouth blog.

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