How-To Beat the Recession

By Milt Gedo -

Open any newspaper or turn on any television news program, and you’ll hear the word “recession” or even “depression” thrown around, along with all the necessary hand-wringing that goes with it. I’m not a financial guru (as my accountant will attest), so I don’t really know if the U.S. economy is in recession, depression or just a slow-down, but I do know one thing: Corporate America will always have the need to sell and market their wares effectively and efficiently, and motorsports marketing remains one of the best methods to achieve results.

If you’ve read my columns for the last 12-18 months or so, you know that I’ve been preaching the decline of “traditional marketing” (i.e. newspapers, magazines and television) in favor of “consumer driven” marketing, such as mobile marketing and event marketing. I recently saw the results of a survey that demonstrates this trend. The survey was conducted by Gfk Roper September 11 through October 10 of this year, and asked adults (18 and older), “What do you do during TV commercials?” The findings are interesting:

-52% of respondents claim they “Talk to others without paying attention to the commercials”
-51% responded they “Get up and do something else before the show comes back on”
-44% replied they “Switch to another channel”
-43% of respondents “Fast-forward through the commercials while using a DVR”
-26% of respondents said they “Turn the sound down on the TV or mute it”

Here’s the most important finding of all:

-Only 13% of respondents stated they “Sit and watch the commercials”

If you were the VP of Marketing for a company, and were responsible for spending your advertising budget in the most effective and cost-efficient way, how would the findings above make you feel about television advertising? Technology and consumer mind-set is changing the way companies look at advertising.

At a race event, the commercials are the race cars! When a fan watches a race, either in person or on television, they’re not going to “talk to another person to avoid seeing the sponsors”, “get up and do something else”, “switch to another channel”, “fast-forward through the race”, and no REAL race fan will ever turn the volume down or mute it! For fans who attend a race event, even walking through the Manufacturer’s Midway is not considered commercials “to be avoided”. The Midway at most motorsports events is more like a carnival, where fans can buy merchandise, get autographs and have a good time… all the while being bombarded with marketing messages. As I’ve mentioned, motorsports is the “original mobile marketing” venue, and remains the best value in marketing today.

So how can this information help you, the sponsor-seeking racer? Clearly, as corporate America tightens its belt, every dollar spent will be closely scrutinized… including advertising budgets. I believe the trend of spending less in traditional advertising and shifting those funds towards mobile or event marketing will continue and even pick up speed. Every serious race team should be prepared to capitalize on this trend.

When you sit down to create the list of actions your race team can offer a potential sponsor (Step one of my proven Six-Step program), you should include a heavy bias towards mobile and event marketing. Sportsman race teams are at a real advantage here, because you can offer a lot of these actions at a fraction of the costs of a Professional team. True, a Sportsman team can’t offer the same exposure at a race event as a Professional team (Television coverage, preferred parking in the pits, hospitality opportunities, etc.), but once you’re away from the track, the playing field is leveled.

In these tough economic times, the lesson is: Companies will always have the need to sell and market their products, and savvy racers/race teams know how to capitalize on this fact. Take advantage of the shifting market trends, and GET SPONSORED!

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