Switching Gears From Race Cars to Small Business Marketing
In the motorsports industry, the term “data” carries heavy weight. Every racer, crew member, and tuner can tell you the importance of data and how to utilize it to improve performance. Analyzing a race car’s performance after a run provides insights about changes to make for future runs. What many may not realize is that this same thought process applies to the business of racing as well. Data is of the utmost importance in small business marketing and can help motorsports companies develop and maintain a successful marketing strategy.
Jaclyn Tanenbaum, Marketing Research Expert & Award-Winning Marketing Faculty at Florida International University explains the following: “Generally speaking, smaller businesses are typically at a disadvantage when they are competing with larger firms. Larger firms usually come with bigger budgets and bigger promotions or discounts but lack the personal touch many customers today seek. If smaller businesses use data to send personalized messages and product recommendations to their customers, they will create lasting relationships with their customers. Smaller companies do not need to outspend the competition. Instead, they need to outsmart them. Using data about consumer product needs and preferences is an inexpensive way to use intel and succeed in industries traditionally dominated by larger firms.”
Bearing this in mind, I spoke with several leaders in the motorsports industry, and it quickly became clear that as soon as the word “data” was mentioned, everyone’s brain immediately went to cars. Understandably so, this is our passion, this is what we do. A little explanation and it became even more clear that all of these small businesses utilize data to fuel their marketing strategy, even if they don’t realize they’re doing so. After asking four leaders how important data was in developing their marketing strategies, this is what they had to say.
“At ToyMakerz we have the ability to look at television, streaming, and digital social analytics. We’ve also done a lot of grassroots marketing by attending live events. When a show airs we can use several different metrics to determine who our viewers were, how long they were engaged, etc. This helps guide us in our future builds to give viewers what they want to see. The landscape is constantly changing. Not everyone has a tv show to use as a guide. Social media is another way to constantly be in front of your fans and continue to grow your following. Looking at engagement on social posts, videos, etc. gives you an instant update on what types of builds or content people are interested in seeing. We live in a digital age with immediate results and can make day-to-day adjustments on marketing plans as needed.” David Ankin – Owner, ToyMakerz as seen on History Channel and FYI
“As a company that specializes in supplying data to racers all over the country, we see the value in applying the same processes to our marketing strategy. By using data, we can spend less and do a better job attracting the customers we are looking for, as well as those that might be looking for us. Google analytics allows us to streamline our website platform and see where people are looking, and where they are not, allowing us to focus on what works. Bit.ly is an excellent tool to see what campaigns get clicks and what most don’t pay attention to. We hope to begin implementing a CRM system soon to allow us to better connect with our customers and their needs. Good data, and the ability to use it correctly, ultimately allows us to get more for our marketing dollars.” Joe Oplawski – Owner, Hyperaktive Performance Solutions
“I acquire my marketing data the old-fashioned way. I like to ask new customers how they heard about me. The most common response is something along the lines of, you built a transmission for so and so and he recommended me to you. I have done sponsorship advertising at racetracks, racing organizations, on social media and podcasts. I’ve even had my race truck at PRI and nothing moves the needle like good old fashioned word of mouth. When we take either of our race trucks to the track and we do well or set a new record or even just a new personal best that’s when the phone calls start pouring in. People see the product in action and the proof really is in the pudding. Understanding that our customers really depend on the on-track results drives us to focus not only our manufacturing efforts there, but our marketing efforts as well” Logan Yelton – Owner, LoganBuilt Transmission & RaceFab
“Emtron Australia is a high-end engine management company based in Sydney, Australia. We are considered the smallest company of its type in the world but hold some of the most sought-after world records for vehicles which we manage. As our product is very complex, we find that simply having someone come to our website doesn't guarantee a sale. We are working to create a more interactive experience where we use video to explain the benefits and flexibility that our product has, the moment they reach out to us. We rely on sales metrics to see emerging markets and once a trend is formed, we investigate that local area via their dealer or social media posts to see what application the ECU is being used on. We then tailor marketing content to suit that scene and through paid sponsorship (FB/Insta) we push into that region to increase our penetration. We also look for ways we can add value to that region in the form of new products or functions. We also will typically follow up with training in that region. In short, we tailor our marketing based on sales trends, where we feel our product best fits and what we are interested and excited about getting involved in. We are very much a company built from the passion of motorsports.” Ben Horwood – Director of Marketing, EmTron Australia
Data in any form is the cornerstone of the motorsports industry. Beginning with race cars and ending with business development, data provides small businesses the opportunity and ability to connect with their customers on a more engaging level. It is second nature to analyze data from a pass on the track but applying that same thought process to the business' marketing strategy leads to increased brand awareness, improved customer satisfaction, better ROI, and higher sales. No one in the motorsports industry is a stranger to the importance of data but shifting focus from the track to the business and applying the same principle of analyzing data to improve performance is the key to developing a successful marketing strategy and competing with larger, more dominant firms.