Mercedes-Benz goes racing not only for the race itself, but also to drive its brand image.
To that end, the company provides the support materials, but expects its regional management to work with dealers individually to help them tap into the racing exposure.
For all of their sports marketing activities, which include auto racing, PGA golf, tennis and mountain bike racing, Mercedes publishes dealer-oriented manuals. The manuals provide a description of the sport and its event opportunities, Mercedes-Benz involvement, and key programs dealers can use to boost customer interest and to entertain prospects.
Application of the programs is arranged by market managers and regional communications managers on a regional basis. Mercedes-Benz believes the regional managers have a better sense of front-line needs.
'What I'm bringing them are programs with some flexibility and direction,' says Steve Potter, North American sports marketing manager for Mercedes-Benz of North America Inc., 'but the regional communications managers and market managers are really the people who see things up close and know the details.'