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Sunday, April 22, 2007

This weekend I attended a NASCAR event in Phoenix Arizona. For those of you who are not all that familiar with the NASCAR fanfare, let me say that there's more than meets the eye. Behind the fast cars, driver celebrities, and more than 75 million fans is a highly sophisticated marketing engine and hundreds of millions of dollars in sponsorships.

The most valuable part of any sponsorship is the direct business derived from events such as the one I attended at the Phoenix International Speedway. As a marketing professional, I have to say that it was a lot to take in. None-the-less, I used the experience to learn about direct marketing and brand building. From the promotional tents to the big logos on car hoods, the exposure for individual brands is huge.

The real question that has to be answered, is whether or not sponsors are able to measure their return and see a positive return on investment. In my opinion only a few of the top sponsors did this effectively. Much of the branding was for the "masterbrand" but without a call to action or direct response mechanism. A lot went into advertising, very little went into measurements and calculating return.
The most productive promotion I saw was a promotion that asked individuals to visit a booth and swipe their card to win. This generated traffic that could be tracked and measured once they visited the tent. Other than this one promotional tactic, I didn't see much of an effort in terms of directly measuring ROI. Somewhat ironic that these companies would spend so much and place such little effort on measurement and lead generation.


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