The sport of Closed Course Offshore Powerboat Racing must effectively utilize the power and rivalry of social media.

The sport of Closed Course Offshore Powerboat Racing must effectively utilize the power and rivalry of social media and partner marketing to sell the sport to the ‘populous’ be it the developing fan base or racing participants.

We cannot rely on the fact that there will always be fast boats and people who will want to race ‘em. The sport must improve its race product, its relationship with relevant manufacturers, and develop strong ties to interested commercial partners and participating venues.

Closed Course Offshore Powerboat Racing must participate in partner marketing!

By partner marketing, we mean creating mutually beneficial relationships between your race team and or venue brand and commercial partners such as the various segments of electronic media, the lifestyle publishers, venue-communities, market relevant products and manufacturer’s brands. In these relationships, each participating brand contributes to traffic, market benefits and fan base growth (sales) driven by the partners. Your brand growth can come from both first-time team marketers creating their first partner marketing strategies as well as veteran partner marketers exploring new types of alliances.

Whatever your stage and position in employing team and or venue partnerships, it is important to seek the right partners. As with any relationship, the characteristics that make an ideal partner can be challenging to articulate. To help you identify great partners, consider these five qualities when evaluating ‘a racing partner-fit’.

Scale and Incrementality

Perhaps the most important factor to consider is the extent to which a partner can deliver scale. Can it drive sufficient traffic and market performance to warrant your time and attention? Creating and managing a successful partnership requires investment on your part… make sure that the partner can deliver sufficient performance to warrant that investment.

Beyond the sheer size of the commercial partner or its audience, consider potential reach. Evaluate to what extent the partner can attract and reach new markets, customer segments and fan base. Can the potential partner open up new communities for you? For example; Open Water Powerboat Racing wants to appeal to millennials but hasn’t yet cracked the case. A potential partner that appeals to this massive and growing audience might be just the tool needed to drive significant fan base and relevant market development. That’s a partnership worth exploring.

Audience Alignment

Great partners often have great alignment in whom they target. For example, if both your team and or venue’s brand and its partners are geared toward similar lifestyle categories, it makes sense for one brand to drive its consumers to the other. That's when audience alignment truly becomes a benefit to all parties. The fan base and prospective markets will find that the partnership helps them find products and services they need more easily. Audience alignment of partners does not mean strictly demographic groups or audience segments. It’s more about making sure you are thinking about who needs both products and or services and benefits.

Shared Values

Look for brands that share consistent values with your own. Consumers are drawn to brands that work toward more than just financial profit, and that builds alliances that drive loyalty. Many of today’s brands stand for something beyond their concrete offerings.

For partners, shared values can be extremely beneficial as they afford consumers the opportunity to double down on their support for our sport. Other considerations for value alignment include company reputation, sport and event related business practices and attitudes toward technology and innovation. Similarly, a great partner can help you play catch up on a desired trait. For example, a boat manufacturer that partners with a technology company may help enforce consumer perceptions of its own tech credibility.

Relatability of Categories

Similar to the concept of audience alignment, participating brands should seek partners in categories that are relatable to their own. Partnership is collaborative, and you want to attract collaborators that can drive strong sales and benefits. The combined value proposition of partnership is greater when the two companies offer related benefits. As obvious as this is, it is frequently overlooked.

Relatability doesn’t mean brands have to be in the same category or vertical to partner. But there needs to be some commonality between them. To use an extreme example, a partnership between a lifestyle publisher and a sports sanctioning organization likely has a great deal more relevance than a partnership with The Board of Realtors.

Pricing and Strategy Sync

While it’s not necessary that products or services from partners be comparably priced and or skewed, partnerships often work best when each company’s pricing strategy is similar. Brands and communities that appeal to luxury brand shoppers, for example, are likely to appeal to similar buyers. On a similar note, partnerships that appeal to budget brands also frequently perform well.

“Imagine, for example, a status luggage company partnering with a frequent-flier program to make special offers to their platinum-status travelers. Since both offerings are about delivering a better travel experience, there’s good alignment. By contrast, an airline that lives and breathes heavily discounted family travel would likely not be a great partner for that luxury luggage. It’s all about fit.

Once you’ve evaluated and identified a potential partner put a program in place that’s mutually beneficial. The value you deliver to that partner comes in part from the revenue they earn from your traffic, goods and services… it’s also about paying off the relationship in brand value and in being committed enough to the pairing to allow it to grow. If you’re going to be successful, the value exchange must be a two-way street.