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Sports Business

Trevor Bayne could learn from Danica Patrick

March 2, 2011
KEYWORDS Sports Business

Will Trevor Bayne ever catch Danica Patrick?

I’m not talking about on the track. Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 winner, already has won more big races than the open-wheeler turned fendered-car diva.

But it’s incomprehensible that Bayne essentially has no Web site. You can go to TrevorBayne.com, but all you see is a snazzy photo of the 20-year-old, a proclamation of his Daytona triumph and a promise that his Web site will be coming soon.

Wow, what a missed opportunity. I wonder how many people have gone to that site looking for more information on the youngest winner of the Daytona 500 ever since his improbable victory Feb. 20.

I bet his sponsors would have appreciated a shout out in that space. And who knows how many prospective sponsors have been turned off by this lack of marketing preparedness.

I know Bayne knows all about marketing and sponsor promotions. After all, a video of him as a seven-year-old kart racer thanking his sponsors has made its way from YouTube to network TV.

Maybe all this fame has caught Bayne and his handlers (assuming he has any) by surprise. But it’s been nearly two weeks since his Daytona triumph, and still no Web site.

All the while, NASCAR continues to use the boy wonder as their poster child in TV, radio and print ads. So much for maximizing an opportunity to bring in the younger audience.

Which brings us to Patrick, one of the most marketed if not most famous drivers in open-wheel history. She certainly knows how to maximize opportunities and assets.

Patrick has outsold all other open-wheel drivers in terms of fan merchandise three consecutive years. Any marketer would say that’s more than a fluke, and certainly more than being an attractive woman in a male-dominated sport.

Patrick, love or hate the way in which she’s positioned herself from a marketing standpoint, is one the most strategically marketed race drivers there is.

Her Web site is a good example of that. It not only puts Patrick’s name in front of tens or millions of race fans and generally curious Web surfers each year, it gives her biggest sponsors a big bounce from carefully woven spots on the site.

Currently, watchmaker Tissot, toy car maker Hot Wheels and domain name registry GoDaddy are getting prime exposure through DanicaPatrick.com. If you go to DanicaPatrick.com, you’re likely to go to the photo gallery, but Patrick doesn’t miss an opportunity to weave in her sponsors. In one photo she’s  shown with a sketch of Hot Wheels’ ‘Danicar.’

There are at least five other sponsors on Patrick’s officials sponsor page, but she (and her handlers) smartly weave her major sponsors throughout the Web site.

The site also gives fans a glimpse of Patrick’s personal life, telling the story of her hometown, her husband and even her miniature schnauzer. These are the types of details that further endear her to fans, and even more importantly engrain Patrick into the conscious of America.

Maybe Bayne can drive circles around Patrick—they’ll have an opportunity to sort that out in this season’s NASCAR Nationwide Series. But it seems the youngster could learn something from the IndyCar veteran’s marketing mastery.

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