Thursday, May 26, 2016
has columns on motorsports in the Bucks County Courier
Times, Levittown, PA; Times Herald, Norristown, PA; Inside Track Motorsports News,
Canada and Area Auto Racing News, Trenton, NJ, Late Model
Racer magazine and Circle Track Magazine.
For many years his sponsorship column has appeared in the
Considered an authority on
the subject of sponsorship marketing.
He has been quoted regarding motorsports sponsorship in
a variety of publications including USA Today, NY Times,
National Speed Sport News, and others.
In addition Saxton publishes Motorsports Sponsorship
Marketing News, a newsletter that informs and educates
readers about sponsorship marketing. The newsletter is in
its 32nd year.
He was president of the Eastern Motorsport
Press Association for more than 40 years.
Saxton was one
of the original members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting
CONTINUOUSLY SINCE 1985
Racer, the Promoter and Event Organizer.
the Newsletter that offers the latest news, tips, helps, expert
advise and success stories in motorsports sponsorship - it has
helped many be successful with their sponsorship marketing
Experts in the industry appear in each issue giving you exclusive
insight into the Motorsports Sponsorship Industry.
Learn How To Be More Successful From Those Who
STAY INFORMED WITH THIS NEWSLETTER
NEWSLETTER THAT KEEPS YOU INFORMED ON THE LATEST NEWS IN
SPONSORSHIP MARKETING IN MOTORSPORTS !!
brainstorming session on sponsorship marketing!
MOTORSPORTS SPONSORSHIP MARKETING NEWS
"Marketing Through Motorsports"
$39.95* - 6 issues annually
$5.00 per year subscriptions outside the U.S.
now...VISA and MasterCard are
accepted OR ..... mail check or money order to:
Ernie Saxton Communications
1448 Hollywood Avenue
Langhorne, PA 19047
Twitter @ ernsax
... more than 40 years
of Sponsorship Marketing
and Public Relations experience !!!
"Ya can't talk
Indy without Foyt, just like you can't talk sponsorship
without Saxton" - Karl Fredrickson of Speedway Illustrated
1448 Hollywood Avenue
Langhorne, Pa. 19047-7417
Twitter @ ernsax
WHAT NOT TO DO AT A TRADE SHOW
By Ernie Saxton
Much of our column this issue
deals with trade shows since the season is over and
we felt it would be a good time to offer some
helpful sponsorship advice and a friend, a respected
marketer, sent along some helpful information.
Trish Yunick, daughter of the late and great Smokey
Yunick (a legend in NASCAR racing), sent us a letter
and I wanted to share it with our readers. It
includes some outstanding helps for those seeking
sponsorship especially since we are well into the
trade show season.
“Hi Mr. Saxton,
was a long-time spokesperson for a performance
manufacturer. Today I work with them in marketing. I
handle the website and social media during the year.
As we prepare for the SEMA and PRI shows, I work on
the visual booth displays and their annual catalog.
I work the booth with them at SEMA and PRI, and I
can promise you that by the time we reach the end of
either show, we will have gotten over a hundred
unsolicited sponsorship requests at each. The past
few years it seems like we see nearly as many
sponsorship requesters as we do customers. By and
large these packets end up in the trash heap when we
leave the show hall.
Here are my hints to give a
sponsorship request the best chances of being
accepted and a relationship started:
- First of
all, understand we are not likely to make a deal
with you at the trade show. We’re usually very busy
with customers who have questions about our
products. Please respect that.
- Don’t leave your
unrequested proposal in our booth. Send it via mail
or electronically to our office. We don’t want to
carry heavy bags on the plane any more than you do.
- Understand that appearances matter. We remember if
your posse was hanging around impatiently. We
remember how you were dressed if it wasn’t
- Please make sure your proposal
is a neat looking document and have someone do a
- We prefer a mailed
document over an emailed file. Yes, it’s the digital
age, but respect the sensibilities of the folks
you’re asking for money.
- Send your proposal a
week or so after the show. Getting back into the
swing of things takes a few days and it’s much
easier to say NO when you’re overloaded.
sent, follow up a couple of times. We’re busy and
often need a little push. However, gracefully accept
a NO if it’s given.
- Please don’t make
sponsorship requests via social media. Rarely is the
person behind those accounts actually a decision
- Consider your website and social media
presences. We look at these. We look at the quality
and frequency of material being posted. We look to
see that your traffic is what you say it is.
Run our sticker. It’s sad how often that is
- Send us race updates and hi-res
photos. Your news on our sites benefits both of us.
I shouldn’t have to chase you to get good photos.
- If we have a partnership in place, do come by the
booth at the show and say hi. Take just a minute to
shake a hand and say thank you. If you’re in the
area of our shop, do the same thing.
time comes for us to make a decision on whether or
not to continue an agreement, what we get in return
from you really matters. Like I said, we’ve got an
awful lot of applicants just looking for that money.
This may not be worth anything more to you than
an unsolicited portfolio is to me at a trade show,
but maybe a glimpse behind the sponsor’s eyes will
All the best,
the years in seminars and columns and in our
Motorsports Sponsorship Marketing News newsletter
(www.saxtonsponsormarket.com) I have covered all of
this material. She has given us some great material
to share with you and we say a big thank you. It
amazes me how few racers do what is outlined or keep
the promises they make when seeking the sponsorship
support. I think if racers and promoters were to do
more of this their success at obtaining and keeping
sponsorship would be much improved.
SHARES HIS SPONSORSHIP SUCCESS STORY
By Ernie Saxton
is always great to hear from someone who has
followed our advice, used some of our
materials/books, and been a success at securing
sponsorship. I wanted to share this email with you
from Mr. Amenta because it offers some great advice
as to how he was able to secure substantial
"Paul Amenta here. I
did the sponsorship hunt for Travaglin Racing here
in Connecticut. Even though I am not in that
business anymore, I still read your columns, all the
time. I'm amazed that you have to keep drilling the
same point's home to the weekly racing teams.
When I started the
sponsor hunting, I went to one of your seminars in
Daytona, bought the recommended books and followed
all the steps you have outlined in the most recent
article. We hunted for a year. We joined the local
Chamber of Commerce, and passed out business cards.
We wrote letters,
typed of course, and I had someone proofread them
for me because I would read it and not see a
mistake. Someone else's eyes would pick it up right
away. We went to all meetings dressed in business
attire, not the cloths we wore around the shop.
Once we found our
Marketing Partner, we stayed in touch with them.
Every Saturday after the races, I sent an email to
not just our primary sponsor but to all our
associates as well. If you remember, we worked a
four year contract with Kozy Shack Pudding.
Everything was laid out in the contract so there was
no pointing saying "I thought you said this". Over
the four years, we were contracted for 22 shows by
Kozy Shack. We did a total of 80 for them.
Everything from a Cub Scout Pine Wood Derby to the
St. Patrick's Day Parade in Boston, MA. The car was
on a roll off truck. We had uniforms, hats, polo
shirts, jackets, and on and on. All of the team wore
something with Kozy Shack's name on it every place
We invited the owner
of the company to the track. He came with his two
son-in-laws and had a blast in the pits with us.
We even went to their
factory and got samples of their product to pass out
to crowds at different shows.
As you can see, I followed the Ernie Saxton
recipe for success and it worked. That contract
landed us $140,000.00 to race with for four years.
Not bad for a local team.
Oh yes, I also did all the press releases for
our local papers. People that could not go to the
track would wait to read our stories of how we did
every week. It takes a lot of work, but well worth
Even when we had our
sponsor, many teams were jealous that we had some
good money from Kozy Shack. Here's a quick story.
Standing in line to go
into the pit area. Another team members says to me,
"It must be nice having the big money from Kozy
Shack." I replied, "Yes it is." Then I asked what
time they get home from Stafford on Friday night,
like us, around 1:00 AM Saturday morning. They said
yes to that. Then I asked what they do on Saturday
morning. The man responded saying maybe they go to
the shop around 11 and maybe unload the car, and
maybe not. I told them that when we get back to the
shop at 1:00 AM we have to unload the race car and
load up the show car and head out at 6:30 AM to do a
show for our sponsor. The response I got was, "I
wouldn't want to do that." Then I said, "Then you
don't want the big money."
I guess everybody thought they just handed us a
check and said go have fun boys. I believe local
teams sometimes are their own worst enemies."
That is my story and I
am sticking to it was the comment of Paul Amenta at
As someone who has
been helping racers with their sponsorship efforts
over the years it does my heart and my ego good to
hear from someone who has been successful and shares
some of the credit with us. Read what he had to say
carefully because it makes a huge amount of sense.
There are so many out
there that want the sponsorship support but many of
them are not willing to do what it takes to gain
sponsorship, especially serious sponsorship, and if
they are fortunate enough to gain the sponsor the
deal often does not last very long as the racer just
does not follow through with what was promised.
A RACER had a question
about entertaining a potential sponsor.
In a recent edition of the Lehigh Valley
Business Journal there was an article regarding
Business Meals. Over the years I have had probably
thousands of meals with clients and potential
sponsors. Quite frankly I prefer breakfast meetings.
Those you are meeting with usually are sharper at
breakfast and pay more attention. Breakfast usually
keeps alcohol out of it.
Let them pick the spot
for whatever meal you choose.
The conversation should not all be about
business. Use the meeting to learn more about the
potential sponsor. You will probably meet again and
the more you know about them, the better.
When the meal is
complete, recap or summarize the business discussed.
If nothing was settled try to set up another
And be prepared to
pay. You might be surprised to hear how many racers
feel the potential sponsor should pay. If you let
that happen you can be pretty much assured that
there will be no next meeting and no sponsorship.
LET'S SEE IF WE HAVE
SERIOUS SPONSORSHIP SEEKERS that want to take
advantage of a bargain. For just $19.95 you receive
a one year subscription to Motorsports Sponsorship
Marketing News newsletter, a couple back issues and
our famous Hodgepodge of Sponsorship Helps (4 pages
of helps and ideas). Call me at 215.752.7797 to
THE MEDIA SEEMS TO BE FORGOTTEN
when was the last time that you or someone involved
with your racing program contacted the media? A
large number of the sponsorship proposals that I am
asked to review for racers and event organizers
promise media exposure but it amazes me how few keep
Working with the media, keeping them informed, is an
important part of the sponsorship marketing effort
or what I would call the sponsor satisfaction plan.
You might even say that working with the media is
part of the activation of the sponsorship. And if
you read our last column you are familiar with what
activation is all about.
is true that some sponsors do not make media
exposure a priority but I am sure that the sponsor
will appreciate any good media exposure they
some of you know I pen columns in a variety of
publications including two daily newspapers, a trade
publication, magazine (Canadian) and publish a
newsletter Motorsports Sponsorship Marketing News.
Oh, by the way that list does not include this
column which I have been doing for a number of
Understanding how important media exposure can be to
the success of a sponsorship program I make an
effort to make mention of sponsors when I receive
such news. You probably would be surprised to find
out that I receive very few news releases regarding
sponsorship announcements. And then are some that I
receive that should never have been sent. In total,
during the racing season, I receive about 800 each
day and many of them are never considered for use
because they are poorly written, do not contain
information of interest, come across as ads rather
than news and finally do not follow the rules for
How many of you are aware that the early part of a
release should include who, what, where, why and
when? Answer those questions in the first few
paragraphs and you will have a lot better chance of
getting my attention and getting the release used.
you do not have a decent command of the English
language then I would suggest you find a friend that
does or hire someone.
News releases should contain news. Right about now
the season is coming to an end for many of you so it
would be a good time to do a "season wrap" release
that talks about the highs and lows. Work into the
release mentions of the key sponsors. Mention them
in the order of their importance so that when the
release is edited the important ones have a better
chance of surviving and appearing in the story that
is written as a result of your release. Offer a good
quality photo that shows the driver and race
vehicle. Of course with publication making cutbacks
there is a good chance the photo will not be used or
will be cropped (made smaller).
What I am finding these
days is that the weekly newspaper that covers news
of your area is becoming important. They are often
called throwaways. However those weeklies, with
small staffs, are often looking for news so your
well written news release, in a story format, will
have a good chance to be used. And your release has
a good chance to being used in its entirety.
There are a large number
of motorsports and sports websites out there that
will use your releases and often without cuts or
Important to remember. You should have your website
(you do have a website don't you?) updated so all
the information is current and there are new photos.
And don't forget your Facebook page. With a website
and Facebook you market yourself and your sponsors.
News releases should be kept tight, not wordy, and
to the point. Use bullet points to highlight key
information, making it easier for the recipient to
scan through the information. The more you do to
make it easier for the media the better the chance
it will be used.
Storytelling in your press release makes them more
interesting and easier for the media to use. Again
it is important that in your story telling that you
include mentions of the sponsor but try to limit
those mentions or they will become a turnoff. The
primary sponsor gets the most play.
When sending your release by email be sure to
include a subject line that attracts the interest of
the media person receiving it. Example: "Local
professional race car driver finishes successful
Work on building relationships with the media that
cover your sport and those that cover sports and
business in your local media. Make sure they know
who you are. Put them on the list to receive all
sure that your releases have contact information
(name, phone numbers and email) so that the media
that receive them and have need of additional
information or want to turn your release into a
bigger story and have need for more information can
A RECENT EDITION OF SUCCESS MAGAZINE I found the
results of a survey that really caught my interest.
With all the hype about Facebook, Twitter, Google,
LinkedIn and more, sixty-two percent of Americans
say social networks have zero effect on their buying
decisions. Thirty percent said social media has
"some influence"; 5 percent, a great deal of
influence; 3 percent were undecided. U.S. businesses
spent more than $5 billion on social media in 2013.
That is some information you just may want to store
away for future use in your sponsorship efforts.
AND FINALLY make sure you have us on your media list
to receive your season wrap release, your plans for
2015 and your sponsorship news releases. Send them
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