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5 Champion Tips from @FollowAndretti

Racing is all about speed, but every now and then it helps to slow down and understand what drives the speed. I'm not talking about the cars, but rather the companies and the sponsors behind each team. Last week, as a sponsor of Andretti Autosport, ExactTarget had the opportunity to attend the Andretti Autosport Sponsor Summit.

The summit was what you would expect from a team known for winning championships. Day 1 started with a look back at Andretti Autosports's championship season and a look forward to the future of INDYCAR. On Day 2, we heard from the team's sponsors. Topics covered everything from engineering and manufacturing to data, program activation, and social media. From these sessions, we found five lessons that will help your brand reach the championship level and cross the finish line before your competitors.

  1. Win on Sunday, sell on Monday: This has been a mantra in motorsports for quite some time. The idea is that if you are a sponsor of the team that wins a race (typically on Sunday), you should capitalize on that victory and boost sales on Monday - an extremely simplified model for sponsors to rally around. As Jim Campbell from Chevy mentioned, this is still a primary goal for all sponsors. However, with our software, we believe in real-time. If you win on Sunday, you should be able to sell on Sunday afternoon, Sunday evening, Sunday night, and yes, even Monday.
  2. Outside your customer, your employee is the biggest billboard you have: At ExactTarget, we couldn't agree more. Company culture is becoming synonymous with marketing. In a world where employees can share their work experiences with followers, friends and family more easily than ever before, make sure your billboards are relaying the right message.
  3. #HinchForHomepage: With promoted tweets, Facebook posts, and companies investing more and more in online display advertising, GoDaddy proved that grassroots social media campaigns can still be extremely successful. Their campaign to get James Hinchcliffe, aka "Hinch," on GoDaddy's homepage created quite the buzz. The self-proclaimed "mayor" of HinchTown became one of the most popular drivers in INDYCAR and perhaps the most socially relevant. Between March and September, Hinchcliffe's social follow increased by 91% - the greatest increase of any INDYCAR driver. And yes, he did make the homepage.
  4. Data drives success: According to IFM North America, 87% of companies feel they do not receive enough data about their sponsorships. Andretti Autosport avoids this problem by using IFM. Data is king and the kings of the motorsports industry are ahead of the competition when it comes to gathering and using quality data.
  5. Engage with your followers: Andretti Autosport has one of the largest fan followings in the world. Their drivers are also three of the more socially engaging drivers on Twitter. This can be an incredibly valuable tool. While the drivers themselves don't profit from their Twitter following, Kyle Lacy shared the value that a following can have for many of the brands in attendance. Lacy presented on consumer trends to wrap up the summit, and shared that consumers are 50% more likely to buy after following a brand on Twitter.

Throughout the event, it was easy to see what makes Andretti Autosport a championship team. With the knowledge and support of an entire network of outstanding partners, Andretti is poised to continue success on the track and in the industry. And yes, expect more championships.

Looking for tips on engaging your social media audience? Check out the Field Guide to Facebook Marketing.

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