FEED

Motorsports Marketing and Sponsorship Activation Blog

SD 360 Industry

8/4/20 8:16 AM

Sport Dimensions was founded 25 years ago in 1995. We have seen a lot. We have learned a lot. Mostly, we have grown a lot in that quarter-century stint. We look back on some remarkable work pulled off in impossible scenarios of constrained resources, relentless third-party pressures and an always-changing marketplace. Our evolution has been iterative and constant.

A lot of what has defined us through that time, however, is what we have not done and the choices we have made that have kept us on track. We haven't deviated from expertise. We haven't gone global and opened expensive offices all over the place. We haven't sold to a large parent organization, which is increasingly and shockingly rare for agencies these days. We haven't taken outside investment from parties that may influence how we choose to serve our clients.

We are proud that our average client tenure (Is that a metric that agencies track? If not, it should be.) is just about 9.8 years. That means that on average, we work with our clients for 9.8 years before something changes and we cease our work. The longest partner we have goes back to our founding, a full 25 years of partnership. These metrics demonstrate a passion for long-term, sustainable thinking with delivered results.

SD25-credential

A key factor for these facts and figures is another statistic - our average employee tenure at SD of 10.1 years meaning when you sign on with SD, on average, you spend 10 years with us. We have truly special team members that go back nearly 20 years with our company (shout out to Myra Harper). We have another elite group of team members that have been with SD for over 10 years (props to Todd, Josh, Mandy and Sam). It is not uncommon for us to know our client's histories, evolution and processes better than their internal staff simply because we have been around longer. We wrote about this concept in detail and why it is valuable to your business continuity.

Maybe it isn't the most glamorous thing in the world, but our lack of turnover and lack of leadership changes at SD is one of our most unique, and most remarkable value-adds to our clients and partners.

Background

Of course, none of the above is on accident. Our focus has always been to attract the sharpest, brightest and most-experienced professionals. We hire less, but hire better. We provide boundless growth opportunities inside of SD - which can have you start by driving a showcar trailer and develop with you successfully running a multi-million dollar event entitlement 8 years later.

The same thinking applies to client services. When Jerry Maguire wrote The Things We Think And Do Not Say back in 1996, not long after our founding, we resonated deeply with his thinking. A focus on relationships. A focus on less clients but more attention and more care. That mentality is easy to stake out and operate on for a few years but we have operated on it for the full 25. We are the agent that Rod Tidwell hugs. We are not like Bob Sugar stealing clients, putting personal needs in front of his partner's needs (ever wonder why we don't have a trophy room of awards?) and remaining out of touch with clients state of affairs.

SD 360 Industry

Sport Dimensions' overall evolution has been day to day and constantly in the making. Iterations of efficiency over 25 years lead to massive changes in operation. Because it is our quarter-century birthday this year, we felt this round of changes deserved a bit more communication. This latest massive market shift has drastically changed what we consider normal, as it has for so many around the world. It has also provided us with a dose of internalization and time to reflect on where we are at after 25 years of dedicated service.

One marketing concept that has proven itself effective time and time again is the idea of "360 integrated marketing." You have heard us chat about the importance of integration before regarding your sponsorship assets and overall marketing strategy. We took this same 360 idea, and realized that it actually describes the makeup of our team quite well.

We are calling it "360 Industry."

SD's 360 Industry means our team is built with expertise from every corner of the industry and marketplace we serve - performance, motorsports, automotive. We are, at first, a sports marketing and sponsorship activation agency that just so happens to be quite talented at content creation, strategy, VIP experience development, hospitality, networking, consulting and more.

When you are a brand that operates in the performance or motorsports world, you don't need to waste time telling us that you operate in NASCAR and not in NHRA. By the way, we know what all of the acronyms mean as well - so no need to list those out. You don't need to explain the political nuances between F1 and IndyCar. We get it.

In fact, a big portion of our job the last few years is educating our client's other agencies about the world of motorsports. The world's best creative agency, or media agency, or PR agency, or social agency will not do you any favors if they do not know the subject you are trying to engage. That's because it is hyper-unique. Just like your brand and just like your audience.

This is especially critical if your brand builds and creates an endemic product, meaning what you make is actually used within the property you are sponsoring. This could be fuels and lubricants, high performance springs, ball bearings, computer processing, data security, tires and even down to crew uniforms and gear the teams use. The way you market these products and services is significantly more sophisticated and requires more astute storytelling, longer-term relationships and strategy.

So, that said, here's what all that looks like packaged up to serve you.

sport-dimensions-360-industry_graphic

You will see our team has immense capability honed from remarkable organizations. This diverse skillset has then been organized into senior-level capabilities that we have refreshed and enhanced. When you choose to partner with Sport Dimensions, you are not sold by our leadership and then passed along to another department. The person you first speak to will often be involved in your actual work. We like it that way, what do you think?

Enhanced Capabilities

You may have noticed that we updated our wording from "solutions" to "capabilities" throughout. We did this intentionally because we view our entire existence as a solution for you. You have a challenge, we solve it for you. "Capabilities" is clearer in this context because it gives you a look as to what our team can accomplish, tangibly, on your behalf.

Some of these are new, some of them are just updated, some are expanded but all of them deserve a blurb on their unique value and why we have them set as standalone services. Of course, you can link out to each one to learn more and see some examples.

Creative Services

Our abilities to create content, tell stories, make art, engage ambassadors and communicate the results of our campaigns has grown the most so we will list it first. This department generally touches everything we have going on with clients at some, or all, stages of a project. We have invested a lot of resources in leveling up on the world's leading tools and mediums to produce content and are eager to share that with you.

business-material-mockupNot all of our creative work is digital. We also produce proposals, books, plaques, banners, displays and much more.

We have developed this department on an ideal balance of quality and efficiency. We believe speed matters with content so that it is delivered at the right time. If you are buried in a 10-point video crew for a 30-second social video then you may miss the right timing that separates success from duds. We have turned around entire websites and launch materials for clients in 14-days, during the holidays. We attribute this ability to nimbleness as an agency and that all of us are empowered individually.

Our team has also developed relationships with leading content creators across the industry that each take a specific approach to actively participate with audiences. We believe the whole idea of "influencers" is a bit of a fad and widely fraudulent, so we prefer to associate ourselves and our clients with "ambassadors." Authentic, organic, third-party individuals that have a genuine knowledge and interest in what our clients do. We help discover nuances and identify consumer questions and sentiment about new products or services through these relationships.

This department is also responsible for overseeing our highly-sought after microsite recaps that leave PowerPoint reports well behind. It's 2020 everyone, let's start reporting like it. The recaps include live-counting metrics, interactive ROI trackers, rich imagery, video and live social posts. All packaged in a branded microsite format that is mobile-friendly, private, lightweight and easy to share and present to colleagues.

Sponsorship Activation Strategy

Strategy is paramount. You could have unlimited budget, endless human resources, offices all over the world, the best property, the works. But if you don't have a strategy, all of that will only get you so far.

Conversely, the right strategy can make even the smallest amount of resource seem massive. The right strategy guided by a knowledgable partner will deliver you value many times over. The reason we believe in partnering with expertise on this front, rather than handling it internally, is that an objective, un-biased view of your approach will yield far better results and insights. If we aren't the right fit for you, no worries (in fact, we will be the first to tell you), but we strongly encourage to discuss this element of your marketing with a trusted partner.

A relatable way to think of this is a client and lawyer relationship. In a basic example, a client can legally represent themselves in court. A client can do their own research, craft their own arguments, write their own questions. But without many years of study and practice in the specific arena of law then this approach will be very difficult. Nothing illegal or wrong about it, but very difficult.

Contrast that idea with why the majority of people hire a lawyer to represent them when in court. The lawyer does this for a living. They know the scene and they know what to look for because they have seen it before. The lawyer can take the client's position in simple terms and translate it into a more effective language on your behalf.

We act as the lawyer in this example by actively representing your best interests at every step.

Experiences

We have grown this department from being focused on large-scale, proprietary events to experiences of all sizes. This department is still responsible for leading the charge on our 500-700 guest programs at events with entitlement sponsorships but it has also carved out expertise in putting together hyper-exclusive VIP experiences for small groups as well.

We are focused on remarkability with the experiences we build for our clients. Sometimes that means through the scale we operate on and sometimes it means the access we are able to offer. Either way, offering your customers, partners and employees experiential rewards can be an extremely effective and generous way to do business and we are eager to help you set that platform.

sport-dimensions-experiences-introduction-external


Hospitality

Hospitality works differently than experiences because there are a ton of logistics involved in hospitality that can be deceptively simple. If you have access to a suite at a race, you may think you just show up and that's that. But who is arranging your travel? Who is coordinating your driver appearance? Are you getting a garage tour? What are the catering minimums? Food allergies? Safety?

You can see how it adds up. All of that, and THEN you get to enjoy the event and engage with your customers.

A lot of our partners at first think they need to handle this work internally because of the risk that things won't go well. We totally get it. Your reputation in hosting customers and other VIPs to your company is paramount. We pride ourselves that 9 times out of 10, the end guest has no idea that we are a separate entity or agency when we host. We blend right in with you to the point of wearing your brand while we represent you onsite. We become a natural and energetic extension of your group tasked with handling all of the details while all credit goes to you.

Business Networking

This service is intangible and has been historically difficult to communicate. In short, there is a network effect that kicks in when you start a project with us. Over the 25 years of our work, we have become a node to so many other leading organizations. It's not that we get paid by everyone, but we are known and respected for carrying out compelling work.

We also have been at the forefront of developing the increasingly critical B2B foundation of most modern partnerships. We specialize in integrating business into marketing activation and vice versa. The two should work in harmony and build off of each other.

We are eager to make the right introductions when it makes sense for everyone involved. Our facilitation has produced lasting partnerships and breakthrough campaigns for two seemingly disparate parties. It's a small world and we want to help.

Consulting

Our consulting service has always been there, but never to the scale of being its own proper department. We have long received countless inquiries from teams, drivers, events and venues looking to us for sponsorship revenue. We are very clear that we do not sell sponsorships on behalf of properties but we also recognize what we can contribute to improve the entire market place.

We have unique insight to the market because of the 360 Industry expertise. We actively know what sponsors are looking for. We understand what makes a great fan experience. We have been to countless events and venues and know the ins and outs of what makes one a pleasant place to be versus a forgettable one. All of that experience can be massively helpful to a new series, an up and coming team or an event looking to improve their professionalism.

We can help build modern marketing materials, hone strategy, enhance your offering based on your desired audience and give you objective guidance to set you apart from the pack.

executive-services-device-mockup

Work, Results and Projects

So, what is the result of how those capabilities have been leveraged? You can view some of our latest work right here. While we can't post some of the coolest things we do online due to their levels of sensitivity, we are proud of the work we get to carry out week in and week out. 

We have developed some new and more detailed case studies and that is something we hope to share more often. In some cases, we are even able to share the bespoke metrics we created based upon direction from our client's KPI requirements. They are presented in a way that should provide you more context to the entire campaign and program, taking into account that many of these projects take many months (sometimes years) to develop.

Questions, Comments and Next Steps

Thanks for making it this far. We are thrilled to have you along for the ride with us. We are grateful for your interest and the work you are carrying out around the world. If this post caught your attention and made you think of someone you know that would find this valuable - please share it along. 

We write about the sports business, sponsorship and marketing world often and share the latest updated content once per week. If you'd like to join that list you can subscribe right here. For a broader look at what we are up to, we share a newsletter sent at the end of each month. Subscribe to that at the bottom of this page.

We appreciate you joining and supporting us on this journey and can't wait to see what the next 25 look like.

Topics: Foundations

Team SD

Written by Team SD

Leveraging a wide range of experience in sports marketing and sponsorship activation, our team is always looking to add value. We love collaborating with each other and we write together with you in mind.