December 20, 2012: Less than two weeks ago, Aston Martin announced the formation of a new entity bringing a factory-supported, multi-faceted racing program to North America in 2013. With this partnership between Aston Martin Racing and The Racers Group (TRG), the new team will race Aston Martin Vantage GT cars in the GRAND AM Rolex Sports Car Series, the American Le Mans Series, and the GRAND AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
Rob Nimkoff, part owner of TRG/AMR (Aston Martin Racing), has named Car Guy Nation as the title sponsor and promotional strategist for his Aston Martin #24 car. Car Guy Nation is an innovative new business that has combined ecommerce, sales promotion and social networking to create a unique kind of online community specifically for car enthusiasts.
"Many believe the upcoming GRAND AM/ALMS merger in 2014 will be a game changer for racing fans and car enthusiasts in the United States," said Robert Minnick, CEO of Car Guy Nation, "Aston Martin's recent announcement shows just how important this new series will be for car guys and the iconic brands they love. Ferrari, Corvette, Viper, BMW, Lotus, and Aston Martin will be competing against one another. Even Porsche recently announced their factory-backed efforts beginning in mid-2013".
Under the cross-promotional arrangement, Car Guy Nation will work with the Nimkoff team to develop high-profile social marketing and promotional strategies and help them establish a distinct and engaging online social presence. In return, the Nimkoff team will become a Car Guy Nation promotion alliance partner, linking directly into CGN's rapidly growing online community. The groups will collaborate on creating sales promotion tie-ins for CGN's ecommerce network and use related activities as a key source of engaging content for CGN's social media network.
Minnick stated that his company is focused on raising awareness for its Car Guy Nation brand in 2013, and views the tie-in as a great way to help achieve that goal and accelerate its membership growth and product sales. The innovative ecommerce and social networking firm is committed to serving what it calls the "automotive lifestyle," and sees racing as one of the biggest components of that lifestyle, especially sports car and open wheel racing. "The majority of the audience for this category of racing is made up of serious car guys with a keen interest in their own cars' street performance. It's a perfect match for us." says Minnick, "Racing is not only one of the fastest ways to reach our target audience (excuse the pun), it's also a very compelling way to engage our car guy community with great content created about racing."
CGN is building relationships in two key quadrants of the sports car racing community - the tracks and the teams. The company has already partnered with Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, CT and Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI, and is pursuing other tracks all across the country. These marketing partner relationships will have a direct impact on growing its buying club memberships. On the team side, its cross-promotion arrangement with the Nimkoff team is the first of several CGN has planned. By associating with a high profile motorsport entity with a large car enthusiast following of its own, CGN can quickly broaden its own visibility within the racing community while picking up some market cache at the same time.
"Whether it's the track, the driver, the team, or the events themselves, racing is a rich source of news and human-interest 'stories,'" said Mike Chapin, Car Guy Nation SVP Digital/Marketing Partners, "We have the means and know-how to convert those stories into compelling social media content, then leverage that content to reach and engage our growing car enthusiast audience through both our ecommerce and our social networks. The recent success we had in collaborating with Toyota/Scion on the Road to SEMA project provided us with a strong working template to build unique social/promotional campaigns for race teams."
According to Chapin, Car Guy Nation's unique Marketing Partner program has major benefits for any organization that caters to automotive enthusiasts. Whether it's a forum, blog, magazine or a race track, partnering with CGN can benefit all parties involved, because CGN shares revenue on every purchase made by members referred from those partners. By leveraging CGN's promotional platform and making use of its social marketing expertise, partners can raise their own brand value, monetize their existing audience in new ways, and expand their reach to tap an even larger car guy audience.
Now we're doing the same thing with race teams," said Minnick, "and it works even better. We use our social-marketing/sales-promotion platform to monetize racing content in innovative new ways, and it creates win/win relationships for everybody. . . the race team, our customers, our vendors and ourselves. That's why we're going racing!"