Motorsports Marketing and Sponsorship Activation Blog

5 Common Pitfalls of Sponsorship Programs

3/22/22 2:10 PM

Over 30 years of experience in sponsorship activation has exposed us to a wide range of projects. From massive budgets and high-profile reach in multiple sports to targeted, grassroots growth...we have seen it all. We have also seen plenty of "honeymoon programs" where initial foundations fall short, and we are out to change that by coming forward with thoughtful changes to the approach.

We start by taking a closer look at why sponsorships end up less successful than planned.

1. Brands expect the property to do all the activation

The teams, series and tracks are looking for sponsors to fund their operating requirements. Their purpose is not to activate for you, rather to activate with you, which is an incremental expense. You can’t rely on a race team or track to manage a portfolio of activation that holds you and your brand as a priority. A team's priority is their ability to perform on the track and we believe that is how it should be. Without them prioritizing competition, the show and entire platform will suffer. It is on you to activate the assets you have in place for maximum ROI.

2. Choosing a sponsorship solution before identifying your business objectives

We see many brands buy into a sponsorship program without understanding how it would support their real business objectives. Think in terms of your brand objectives first, then look for properties that fit as a platform to address these objectives. The stronger you can connect your sponsorship activation to your business results, the more success you will have with a sustainable program.


3. Program complacency

Many sponsorships run for years and tend to become stale. The biggest challenge is to generate exciting ways to activate and build value for your customers. Once you set an activation strategy, return to it each year to ensure you are getting results. If the results start to fall off, it doesn’t mean you have to ditch the whole program. It just means you might want to try a fresh asset mix, an updated activation strategy or a new direction.

4. Going at it alone

Motorsports are glamorous and high profile. Many managers make decisions and align with whatever keeps that connection. However, to properly leverage a property, you may not know how the different assets could be or should be used, what the real value of exposure in the different areas provide or how the sponsorship can be used as a sales incentive. Lean on expertise to get you going on the right path.

5. Spending 100% of your budget on property rights alone

You must target your budget for activation programs designed to support the properties you have acquired. We have broken down a simple approach here. There is flexibility here, as properties are available at a wide budget range depending on your business objectives and where you are in the process.

Updated for added value.

Ron Schneider

Written by Ron Schneider

As the founder and CEO of Sport Dimensions, Ron has worked on the technical, agency and commercial sides of the motorsports business for over two decades. A native of suburban Chicago, Illinois, Ron was brought up around cars and racing. His family’s farm was a hot spot for local hot-rodders and the place he learned and earned his love for all things automotive.