Case Study: Partnerships with the FIA ETRC
The FIA European Truck Racing Championship has given a boost to several well-known industry names and series partners over the last three years.
However, little is often known about the true meaning of ‘partnership’ and in particular the specific returns on investments (ROI) that are measured and made.
For GRAMMER AG, who became a partner with the FIA ETRC at the beginning of 2018, the concentration of visitors to the races and their interaction with them, has offered an interesting insight in to why truck racing is the perfect breeding-ground for good business.
“It is really like an open door for us and our business,” says GRAMMER’S aftermarket director, Bernhard Weigl.
“It is amazing when you see how many people are coming to the races, but also the number of guys who are also on social media, etc. I think that it is really, really important, and our company as a whole now understands the importance of this exposure.”
“I remember three or four years ago it was more, ‘OK truck racing, do we need it really, why do we need it’. But now everyone, especially the board, realises the benefits of being involved in the FIA ETRC,” concluded Weigl.
The brand awareness of companies such as GRAMMER is vital in the marketplace, and defining the correlation between what goes on at the track and also on the road is crucial.
“I think it’s extremely beneficial for the brand awareness because it is a very important part of why we got involved in the first place,” comments GRAMMER Marketing Manager Michael Gissibl.
“We could see a lot of visitors at the races and they are coming year-after-year to visit our stand to talk to us, [in order] to understand what is new, what is going on, what kind of innovations are coming and so on, and this is a really big positive sign for us.
“We measure what we are doing and calculate the clicks on our website and especially on the truck business we have, on the truck products and also the market feedback that we get from the end-consumers and dealers from our wholesale dealers.
“I can tell you that we have received only positive feedback.
“Nobody says ‘hey forget it, it costs money, forget it’. They all say it is progressive and interesting to be involved because the old phrase is true ‘that racing makes the product grow and get batter.’
It’s also a positive partnership for GRAMMER’S own partners. They are dealing with the market, they can sell many more products and this has also meant very positive feedback for the company.
“Yes, I think that is really a sign that we are involved in the FIA ETRA in the right way,” said Gissibl.
“It is exactly what we discussed with Georg [Fuchs, Director of ETRA] when we first discussed the partnership. We will be a partner of ETRA for the next few years, so that is fixed for us and we are looking forward to it.”
Number of Fans and Industry Heads are Attracted
Thousands of visitor’s flock to FIA ETRC events with the series being the largest attended FIA sanctioned championship outside of F1. A good number are related to the truck industry in some way.
“The majority of these are drivers and entrepreneurs and they are our direct target group, so it is really a high-quality group,” says Weigl.
“The work and interaction we do on-event and the topics we have, the ‘GRAMMER tracker’ for example, it is really the best way to be recognised by the visitors.
“And both are heroes. You really get that, hero is actually a good word for it. Both the [truck] race drivers on the track and the truck drivers on the road do their best for a vital job.”
Direct Feedback Aids ROI
It is also vital for companies like GRAMMER to get direct feedback on products.
“At the FIA ETRC race weekends you have the guys who are sitting on our products the whole working day and it is absolutely essential for us to have feedback from them and to know what they make of our products,” says Weigl.
“With a high-quality target group at the races the direct feedback we are able to get is very precise and instant.
“So, if you like to get the real feedback, and that is definitely important for us in order to develop new features and innovation etc, then here is the place to be where you have easy access to the real operators and you can discuss things with them.”
GRAMMER AG know what it is talking about when it comes to measuring its investment and reacting to any changes they need to make in order to maximise their partnership outlook.
“For example, we made a small market research studies at the Truck Grand Prix at Nurburgring in July, so we had guys from our company from the ergonomics department. This means on the redevelopment they are taking care on all the ergonomic topics,” Weigl says.
“They sat down with the drivers for a minimum of half-an-hour, but they got real and extremely clear feedback and a clear picture of what they need, why they need it and what is missing.”
“It works really well for us.”