Archive for August, 2009

THE BASICS OF SPONSORSHIP PROGRAMS (PART 2) [DARRELL SITARZ, E-KMI.COM]

DATE: August 11, 2009

By Darrell Sitarz, Editor e-KMI.com

# Getting in, by phone, to a decision maker

# Using the Publicity Dept of a target company to get to a decision maker

# Using an Email “Overture” PDF to get the conversation started.

There are many ways to get on the phone to a decision maker. Here we will rely on one proven method, using the Publicity Department. One of the big problems in trying to contact any executive is that they are protected by a boundary of administrators, secretaries and assistants all of whom are very protective of “the boss”. So how do you get their attention?

If you recall the earlier installments of this series we spent a lot of time using press release sites like PR Newswire to find target companies. We will now use those same sources, along with the target company websites to begin the process of contacting the decision maker.

The first step is to find a Press Release from the target company. (Refer to accompanying Slide Show.) You can find a representative release from PR Newswire by using that website’s search tool to bring up releases from your company. Another way to find a release from your target firm is to go to the “Press Release” of “News” section of your company’s website. Not all companies have this feature which is why we use PR Newswire as well.

Either way, the idea is to open up an official release from the company. The topic of the press release is not that important but try to find one that is about a new product or new expansion and not a ‘financial or quarterly results’ release.

Once you open up the release, it is a good idea to read through the copy as it will obviously have information which you can use in a future sponsorship program. The most important element, however, is at the bottom of the last page of the release. Here you will find the “CONTACT” information for the Press/Communications Officer of the company, the person who actually sent the release and who is also responsible for handing all media requests for more information.

This “contact” portion of the release will have name, phone number and, most important, the Email address of the Press Officer. This is the person whom you will first contact and here is why.

# The press officer knows all of the executives in the company and can direct you to them,

# The press officer knows that you are not calling him to actually “sell him your program” and so will be easy to talk to because he is not threatened by you,

# The press officer’s responsibility is to maintain contact with the outside world on behalf of the company so he will be a big help and lastly,

# most press officers are friendly types who will enjoy talking briefly about such an unrelated, but exciting, topic such as racing. Believe us & this works 90% of the time.

So… now you have the contact information for the press officer. Remember…we are going to use Telephone AND Email to get the ball rolling.

Here are your next steps:

# Call the press officer. If you have to leave a message do it! He will call back & that is his job,

# Once you have him or her on the phone simply say:
” I am _____________ from such and such Racing Team and I have an exciting promotion concept that I would like to send to the right executive but I don’t know who that is and you, as the Press Officer, know everything that happens at your company. (This usually gets a laugh and loosens things up a bit)

Now you are ready to make your “Overture” to your newly-found decision maker. What’s an OVERTURE? An Overture is a 3 to 4 slide Powerpoint Slide Show which tells just a small bit about what you want to talk about. You will Email it both the Press Officer AND the decision maker.

The simple overture contains:

# pictures of you and your team

# small amount of data on race series and

# teases a bit about your sponsorship idea

# asks for a face-to-face meeting or a phone meeting and includes your contact info.

That’s it! This is NOT a full-bore proposal but a short, easy-to-read (exciting) introduction. Most executives will not look at a long Slide Show right off the bat, but if you can make this small Overture interesting enough… you may get your invitation to “tell them more”. And THAT…is the eventual objective in this effort. To get in front of the decision maker.

OK. Back to the Press Officer and Decision Maker. Our suggestion is to send your Overture to the Press Officer as a nice gesture and to let him know that you are for real. You will, of course, also send the Overture to the decision maker but by sending it to the Press Officer you may accomplish more than you think.

Many times the Press Officer will act as your ‘in-company’ representative and pass your Overture onto more than once person within your target company. If he volunteers to do this be sure to get the contact info of who he is sending it to. This is great because now your Overture is being passed around the company from someone who works for the firm and that takes your initial sponsorship introduction into places where you might never get if you simply got on the phone and tried to ‘get-in’ through the front desk!

Be prepared to take phone calls from executives or managers within the company whom you didn’t identify in your research. All good.

Certainly it is beneficial to send your Overture to the Press Officer but here is the process for directly contacting the decision maker, using your short slide show:


# Send your Overture via Email

# Use the ’subject line’ of “VIP Concept For (Exec’s Name)”

# Include short Email body copy as such:

TO: (Exec’s Name & TITLE)

CC: (Press Officer’s Name)

FR: (Your Name & Team Name)

Dear ____________,

(Press Officer’s name) suggested that I send this very short introduction of our race team. We have a promotion concept which we feel you will be interested in learning about. It only takes 2 minutes to view. I will call you tomorrow to discuss.

Or something like that. Be sure to CC the Press Officer as this will insure that the decision maker opens the Email.

The last step, obviously, is to actually call the decision maker. Give him a day or so but not much more than that. You may be surprised to find that he or she will send you a return Email which is great. Let’s just hope that it is positive. If it is a rejection… remember Item 2 (above) and change the names of the company and send similar e-mails to their competitors!

Well, that’s it. We have tried to compress what can be a confusing strategy into a short three part series but if you put these simple tips into action you will refine the process to fit your own needs. But remember one thing. You need to set aside at least two days a week to do this. Make it a habit. If you do this you eventually have more formal presentations than you can handle.

If you are planning on racing on someone else’s money next year now is the time to start because ad budgets for 2009 are now being discussed and planned up and down the hallways of every major corporation in the country so don’t wait to get started. Good Luck and Good Selling.

Read more of Darrell and his team’s material at http://e-kmi.com/index.cfm.


THE BASICS OF SPONSORSHIP PROGRAMS (PART 1) [DARRELL SITARZ, E-KMI.COM]

DATE: August 10, 2009

By Darrell Sitarz, Editor e-KMI.com

It is always good to circle back and remind ourselves of the bottomline elemental basics which make up a normal sponsorship program. Yes, most of you know all of this stuff, but read through this Motorsports 101 and I am sure you will see some things that you forgot.

thinksponsorship-panel

Motorsports Sponsorship Basics
Sponsors today come from a wide variety of backgrounds and industries, from communications to retailing, from fashion to financial, etc. Generally, a sponsor on who associates with an athlete is trying to tell you something about that company. The images most commonly associated with a sponsorship are that the company is:
~ modern
~ technically advanced
~ competitive & team oriented

Companies that once shunned racing such as female-oriented firms are turning into major supporters as more and more women follow the sport in general. Motorsports are now considered a broad-based entertainment medium on a par with the “stick & ball” sports like football, baseball and basketball.

Autoracing was the first sport to embrace commercial sponsorship (60’s) and as such is regarded as one of the most powerful sports marketing mediums overall. Sponsors receive a wide variety of marketing benefits from the budget “dollar”.

The primary reasons why companies are involved in racing are based around the following:
~ demographics
~ levels of media exposure
~ image
~ marketing & promotions
~ event hospitality and entertainment

Undertaking a sponsorship on the part of a company requires a comprehensive marketing support program. This is vital to a successful involvement. As such a marketing program needs to be developed to make use of the sponsorship.

Some of the more usual elements of a marketing support program include:
~ corporate hospitality at the event
~ media activities
~ driver personal appearances
~ show car appearances
~ advertising campaigns
~ sales promotion activities
~ employee motivation programs
~ print & publicity materials
~ image building programs
~ business-to-business opportunities

Types of Sponsorships
The motorsport sponsor has a choice. They can choose to develop an association with one or all of the following “elements” which, individually, make up the world of racing:
~ sponsorship of a team (multiple cars)
~ sponsorship of a car (on a one-car team or one car of a two-car team)
~ sponsorship of an individual driver
~ sponsorship of a series
~ sponsorship of an individual racing event

Each of the above venues have varying degrees of participation (budget) ranging from primary to minor. This is covered elsewhere in the report.

Typical Sponsorship Program Features

Team
~ Logo on car, team uniforms, team equipment
~ Allotment of VIP, All Access Passes to every event
~ Hospitality Passes

Driver

~ Logo on Uniform
~ Appearances
~ Endorsement

Series

~ Name in Title of Series (NASCAR Nextel Cup) or
~ Signage at all events
~ Logo on all cars, team equipment & drivers and promotion materials
~ Display kiosks and sampling

Race Event

~ Name in title (The Honda St.Petersburg Grand Prix)
~ Suites
~ VIP Passes
~ Signage and Regional Publicity
~ Display Kiosks and Sampling

sponsorship-opportunities

Integrating The Sponsorship
A motorsport sponsorship will fail if it is not part of an overall marketing plan. The sponsorship should mesh or support existing activities or be a central feature in a new marketing plan. There also has to be specific marketing support for the sponsorship. This marketing support would determine exactly how the company is going to maximize use of the sponsorship and, get the results that are required.

Many companies formulate overall marketing plans a year in advance but remain flexible enough to respond to new opportunities. As such a new sponsor needs to give consideration to it’s existing marketing strategy before undertaking a sponsorship. After this has been reviewed it is easier to decide how to integrate motorsports into it’s strategy.

This usually means that many different departments of the sponsoring firm must come together to preview how to integrate the motorsport sponsorship. For example, if the advertising department of a company has decided that they want to use racing as an advertising medium, they will probably need to agree to a joint strategy with brand managers and/or the sales department. This is important in order to gain full results from the sponsorship across all company operations. Racing sponsorship has the unique ability to present impactful tactics to every area of business activities making this planning-stage crucial to success.

Staffing For Sponsorship
Once a company has decided to undertake a sponsorship program thought needs to be given to allocating appropriate resources to the program. To insure a company maximizes their involvement in racing, a variety of marketing support activities are usually put into action. These can be extremely time-consuming.

A new sponsor therefore needs to decide whether they want to allocate their own resources from “in-house” or look outside for help. Looking outside can involve either employing extra specialist-staff to coordinate the program or engaging a Motorsport Marketing Agency to act on the company’s behalf. Such agencies are regarded as an extension of the sponsor’s own marketing department.


Additional Information
  • http://www.e-kmi.com/article.cfm?article_id=2970
  • Read more of Darrell and his team’s material at http://e-kmi.com/index.cfm.

    ETHICS, PROFITABILITY AND THE KARTING INDUSTRY [DARRELL SITARZ, E-KMI.COM]

    DATE:

    By Darrell Sitarz, Editor e-KMI.com

    (Editor note: As the Spring selling season continues in earnest and with the world-wide enonomy as it is, it is important that we examine and understand the very reason we are in business: TO MAKE A PROFIT. In the Spring of 1995, (and again in 1998 and 2001), we ran an article addressing this very issue. The article proved to be one of the most widely read and praised articles to appear in KMI and on e-KMI. We have has many requests to re-run the article again, and are pleased to present it in its entirety.)

    ethics1

    According to the dictionary, ETHICS is a “system of conduct and principles practiced by a person or group”; or, “pertaining to the morals or principles of morality”; or, “pertaining to right and wrong conduct”.

    In other words, ethics is conduct that is considered right, moral and proper by yourself, your peer group and society at large.

    In regards to profitability in the karting industry, an attitude has developed over the years that the lowest price is the best price, and that a sale at any price is its own justification. For a lack of a better name, we’ll call it the “No Profit Attitude”. The basis for this attitude is that ONLY the lowest price is worthy of a buyer’s consideration.

    This attitude implies that a dealer offering products for sale at any price higher than the lowest price available from any and all competitors is somehow taking advantage of, defrauding, cheating or otherwise unethically abusing his/her customers.

    The “No Profit Attitude” is widespread and appears to be shared by customers, suppliers and sadly, by dealers.

    This belief fails to recognize that the customer’s best interests are served by buying products from a dealer who is profitable not just at the time of sale, but well into the future. It erroneously confers legitimacy upon a customer’s need to make a wise buying decision, while simultaneously conferring illegitimacy upon a dealer’s need to make sufficient profit.

    From an ethical standpoint, this attitude puts the customer on the offensive and the dealer on the defensive. It allows customers to regard themselves and their quest for the lowest price as being morally and ethically inferior.

    You can sense this attitude in customers and hear it in their voices. How often have you heard, “I’m going to buy it where I can get the lowest price”?

    Too many dealers are taken by this attitude. They are afraid to be regarded as “too high”. Too many dealers accept this erroneous implication. They act as if they are guilty of some terrible crime. This is an illogical, unethical attitude and is detrimental to the long-term interests of customers, suppliers, dealers, employees, the community and the industry.

    This attitude is an outgrowth of the ruinous price cutting and marketing strategies by suppliers as they reacted to their own problems in the marketplace in the 1980’s. It was born out of uncertainty and chaos of the money crunch, collapsed markets, high interest rates, vast inventories, excess production capacity, bankruptcies, mergers, etc. that occurred at the time. It was fostered and given strength and credibility by desperate, shortsighted (although then probably necessary) solutions adopted by distributors and dealers as they struggled to survive and adapt to the short-term needs of a suddenly volatile environment.

    The attitude was quickly seized upon and adopted by customers. Who developed and reinforced it, and raised it to an art form in what they perceived as their own self-interest. It was likewise reinforced and given credibility by truly desperate dealers who shamelessly sold their wares like streetwalkers running an auction.

    Pricing was sold instead of features and benefits; price instead of product knowledge; price instead of the right product for the customer. If a customer recognized product deficiencies and hesitated, the price was further reduced by distributors and dealers alike in an endless downward spiral, completely destroying the credibility of honest ethical dealing.

    Unfortunately, the ethical high ground of value was abandoned with a retreat into the unethical mire of a “sale at any price”. It is there where many in the karting industry find themselves today.

    It is not surprising that many karting consumers have adopted this attitude, as well. Many of them make infrequent product purchases and perhaps lack the detailed knowledge that a dealer possesses. Because of this, they may lack the experience and capability of making a valid comparison based on value rather than price. They (the consumer) may not be aware, until too late, that there are other values worth considering. But no one takes the trouble to tell them.

    Dealers found it easier to cut price - to meet or beat the price offered by competitors. When you fall in line with this strategy, you reinforce the erroneous perception that you can sell your product at any price you choose and still make a profit. You prove there is no bottom line - that the only reason for you to ask a higher price is that you are greedier. This is the customer’s perception.

    It is the job of manufacturers, distributors and dealers to show the customer the error of this perception; to re-establish the credibility and to make certain that they not only deal ethically with the customer, but to make certain that the customer perceives a transaction as being ethical and in their own best interests.

    To make certain that the customer receives full value for money spent is not the same as meting or beating the lowest price. The karting industry needs to understand this, and it is the industry’s responsibility to make sure customers understand this as well.

    All customers are different. But there is one thing in common they understand and have experience with MONEY! They have to work hard for it; they never have enough of it; everything cost too much! This is their basis for their ready acceptance and zealous allegiance to the “low price” attitude.

    Shamefully, many dealers have accepted the “No Profit Attitude” and have adopted a mindset that prevents them from asking for a sufficient profit in the first place. There are several reasons for this.

    They are afraid of being too expensive and losing a sale. They would rather lose money than lose a sale. Some are afraid of offending a customer or being ridiculed for being too expensive. They are afraid of being thought of by a customer as unethical or of being made to feel deceitful.

    The most common reasons, however, are cowardice and laziness. Given the current mindset, it take considerably less intestinal fortitude and effort to quote a cheaper price than to properly establish and defend the values involved in a higher price.

    It is easier to go along with customers in their blind quest for the lowest price than it is to exercise the moral fiber and put forth the mental effort necessary to help customers understand the greater value your products and place of business have to offer.

    In a nutshell, it is unethical to sell goods and services for less than they cost, including the full cost of overhead and a decent return on investment.

    Implicit in this attitude that price is the only value involved, is the thought that it is foolish to spend one penny more than you have to. Taken to the extreme, this attitude implies that the honest merchant who is charging a little more money but giving a lot more value, is somehow cheating or exploiting customers, when nothing could be further from the truth.

    This attitude tends to downplay differences in product, service, location, reputation, experience or any number of factors of real value to a customer. It disregards these differences and pretends to assume that all goods and services are created equal. It tries to ignore differences in specifications, quality, ease of use, convenience, dependability, availability, longevity, etc. — all of which contribute to long-term satisfaction and value to the user, and increase residual value.

    Self-preservation is the first law of nature. No one will willingly act against his or her own perceived self-interests. Perception is the key. The karting industry needs to challenge and change the erroneous perceptions that are damaging the sales landscape. It needs to change the way the public, existing customers and possibly retailers perceive its role in the selling process. The manufacturers and distributors did what they thought was necessary to survive, as did kart dealers and customers. But at what cost?

    WHAT PRICE SURVIVAL? If low prices and low profit were the result of the loss or moral and ethical values in the karting industry, then the price the industry has paid has truly been too high. The industry has survived, but it has lost its way in the process. It often forgets that ethics requires it to make a reasonable profit.

    In accepting the “No Profit Attitude”, the karting industry is maneuvered into believing that products and services are unworthy of consumer’s and karter’s consideration on any basis other than lower price. However, the price paid for goods and services is not the only measure of value that the customer receives, nor is it even the best measure.

    Consider how often the customer who compares only price ends up buying karts or equipment he/she thought was equal to what was quoted, but in fact, was not.

    Consider the values of availability, timeliness of delivery or repair, prestige, satisfaction, peace of mind, comfort, convenience and safety.

    Consider the value to the customer of proper set-up, adjustments and instruction in the safe and effective use of the product. Consider the value to the customer of proper parts inventory and a reliable service organization - both now and into the future.

    Sellers should consider all these things and then take the time to help the customer consider them. The few extra dollars spent with a seller for all these extra values will be returned to the customers many times throughout the life of a product and beyond.

    There is usually and quite logically, a greater cost attached to higher quality goods and services. But, there is also a greater valued attached to their ownership and use. There is the quality of performance, ease, speed, or economy. There is convenience, comfort, satisfaction, as well as durability, dependability and longevity.

    More often than not, the sum of all these values is far greater than the difference in cost which so often seduces an unwary buyer. The person who spends more money usually receives more value for his/her money than the person who chooses lesser-priced goods. A phrase coined long ago, “Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten”, should be a guiding principle for business-people today.

    A seller does customers a disservice and possibly acts unethically when he/she allows customers to passively buy the wrong products from the wrong sellers because of lower prices.

    On the other hand, a sellers acts ethically when he/she tells customers sincerely, honestly and convincingly of the values they may be depriving themselves by blindly accepting just lower prices.

    Consider for a moment, the ethics of allowing a customer to shop price alone and disregard all other forms of value.

    Consider, as a seller, the satisfaction and extra value you are depriving the customer. The customer came to you seeking to make a purchase. You owe the customer your best effort and best advice. To give a customer anything less is wrong.

    Consider the ethics of doing business at prices that do not allow a company to pay sufficient wages to attract and train and keep qualified help.

    Consider the ethics of profits so low that the business fall further and further behind that of the customers being served.

    Consider the ethics of being forced out of business by low profits and having to abandon customers and their purchases. Wouldn’t customers be better served by a seller who charges a little more and can remain in business, to care for the needs of customers, and to reinforce the value of the products sold?

    It is the seller’s responsibility to make certain that customers perceive the seller as ethical. On the whole, there is a responsibility to customers, suppliers, employees, the community and the government.

    The responsibility includes, but is not limited to: A seller owes his/her customers full value for money spent. The customer deserves value and satisfaction with purchases at the time of sale and into the future.

    A seller owes suppliers good representation in the marketplace and customer satisfaction with their goods. A seller owes suppliers timely payments.

    A seller owes employees good jobs at good wages and the chance to advance and improve themselves - the chance to be proud of their place of employment and of the job they perform.

    A seller owes the community a prosperous, well-managed business that offers steady employment plus community pride and involvement.

    A seller owes loved ones a decent living, secure future, a reasonable amount of time and a chance to carry on the business if they so desire.

    A seller owes the government prompt payment of all taxes due and conformity to all laws and regulations.

    All of these things are owed to all of these people and it’s profit that makes it possible.

    To summarize, ethics do not require sellers to meet or beat the price of any and all competitors. Ethics do require that customers be given full value for the money they spend. They also require that a sufficient profit be made to fulfill the responsibilities to all parties that have a claim on the seller.

    Every seller has a duty to make a profit!

    In these times, with the karting industry going through a renaissance of sorts, dealers, distributors and manufacturers must find their way out of the unconscionable attitude that there must be a sale at any price, and recapture the ethical high ground of “value”.

    Value, not price, needs to be estimated as the truest and best means for customers to get their money’s worth.

    And customers, too, must realize that the karting industry is there to serve them and that each business is entitled to make an honest, ethical profit.


    Read more of Darrell and his team’s material at http://e-kmi.com/index.cfm.


    Robert Kobica To Race KZ1

    DATE: August 7, 2009


    Robert Kubica will take part in the KZ1 World Cup. A very exciting, and welcome news we’ve just heard about.

    The challenge of the Polish driver, which is by no means easy business considering its high difficulty level, shows his deep passion for karting, a true demonstration of gratefulness towards the sport that has given him so much in the early days of his outstanding racing career.

    The karting scene desperately needs – and deserves – this kind of entries. Robert Kubica, class 1984, BMW Formula 1 driver, 2008 Canada Grand Prix winner in Montreal, will participate in the KZ1 World Cup to be held at the International Circuit of Naples in Sarno on 3-6 September. The challenge of the Polish driver, which is by no means easy business considering its high difficulty level, shows his deep passion for karting, a true demonstration of gratefulness towards the sport that has seen him among the protagonists between 1998 and 2000.

    http://www.vroom.it/en/a2033-breaking-n … sarno.html

    Young Kubica
    Young Kubica

    June 09 Plentong Club Race

    DATE: August 3, 2009

    Plentong Club Races

    DATE:

    The following videos are recorded at the Plentong Kart circuit in Johor, Malaysia.

    There is a sizeable group of Singapore residents that take part in the races which are held monthly.

    Miscellaneous Videos

    DATE:

    These are several karting related videos that don’t specifically fit into any of the specific categories.

    Hope you enjoy them.

    Karting Summary 2009

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