Dunne says it is this sense of reaching the performance-oriented riding community that has been the source of Ducati Santa Barbara’s positive ROI. “I know for a fact that we’ve sold quite a few Pike’s Peak MTSs because of our involvement with the race,” he says. “Ducati is a lifestyle brand, so if we are the guys out there doing it and getting involved in the lifestyle, it makes you want to buy the bike from us even more. The marketplace is so incredibly competitive, so it is really special to have someone drive an extra couple hundred miles to buy from you, all because they have that extra trust in your shop.”
Dunne has also seen a very real improvement in morale, as both the relationships between his staff and with Ducati North America have been strengthened. Racing is never just about the bottom line.
“[Pike’s Peak] is a bucket-list race, and it’s built a lot of camaraderie in our shop,” Dunne says. “It’s created a better bond with a common goal, and it’s the same with our OEM. These are the same guys we were getting greasy with, ultimately being victorious together. Now, when I talk to Ducati corporate, I’m not just dealing with a guy in a suit; I’m dealing with my friends.”
What if you have identified a great racing event but don’t want to spend the tens of thousands of dollars it requires to compete? The better approach becomes one of making the most of the tools you have available to maximize your marketing impact.
Michael Guerin, president of Ducati Triumph Newport Beach, does exactly that (see photo above). Having already proven that good planning can create immediate success, Guerin believes that racing is something that can serve your dealership as a fantastic sales tool, but it isn’t something that will directly keep your lights on.
“You have to remember that racing is a marketing tool — period,” Guerin says. “You will not directly generate revenue by racing.”
Instead, Guerin believes that motorsport involvement is something that should complement the established branding of your dealership. Instead of getting tied up in the costs and complexities of directly supporting a racing effort, Ducati Newport uses local performance and racing events as just one arm of its various marketing and social media efforts.
“Getting involved is easy,” Guerin says, “with track days, for example. You can do it without it costing a lot. We are in an industry where you can’t throw money and people at things [and expect results]. Other dealers do it, but not many.”
For Ducati Newport Beach, racing involvement is a marketing game. Events are carefully selected to complement both the Ducati brand and the skills of the dealership’s staff. Parts, budget and human resources are only used if the event is a good match.
“A lot of it is having the right staff that is knowledgeable about performance and the industry as the whole,” Guerin notes. “So we might donate tech time and travel costs, but you always have got to have a plan. We got involved with Pike’s Peak to generate awareness for the dealership and the brand. Did we sell more Multistradas because of it? Probably, but I never tracked it. At the end of the day, our racing involvement is just part of the overall marketing budget, and we don’t spend much, maybe $1,000 a month.”
When it comes to racing support, your return on investment depends on how you approach your involvement. No company may understand this better than Yoshimura Research and Development. You see, Yoshimura wants to get every dealer involved in the sport.
We talked with Yoshimura’s vice president, Don Sakakura, sales manager John Haskell and Systematyx’s Dave Waugh (producer of Yoshimura’s E-Training platform) on the potential ROI that concludes the argument for race involvement perfectly. (Continued)