Meissner: RaceNote needs credibility, face time for success in race world

Founder Friday is a weekly guest post written by a founder who is based in or hails from the Silicon Prairie. Each month, a topic relevant to startups is presented and founders share lessons learned or best practices utilized on that topic. September's topic is how to market your startup without a full-time marketing department.

Founder Friday1c6410a45ba4d62637efb9edb53047e7 is a weekly guest post written by a founder who is based in or hails from the Silicon Prairie. Each month, a topic relevant to startups is presented and founders share lessons learned or best practices utilized on that topic. September’s topic is how to market your startup without a full-time marketing department. 

About the author:  Zach Meissner is the co-founder and COO of RaceNote, an Omaha-based software company that serves the motorsports industry.

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When one thinks of motorsports, it’s highly likely that NASCAR comes to mind. While many people know about the top tier level of racing, there is an entire sub-world where the greats are incubated and grow to maturity to become the drivers and teams you see on TV. Many of the successes in the upper echelons of racing can be attributed to starting out in dirt track modified, late model and sprint car racing.

This is the niche market RaceNote primarily serves and markets to.

The art of marketing takes on many different shapes, sizes, and strategies. And for RaceNote, it’s no different. As a software company, we create solutions and platforms for motorsports teams to help take better notes and communicate more effectively.

For us to communicate effectively as a company, marketing plays a vital role. At this point, we don’t have full time staff dedicated to marketing, so we’ve had to be creative in our efforts to get the word out.

Being a young and relatively unknown company, establishing trust and serving an underserved market have been our main goals. The racing community is fairly close knit, so trust is a big deal when trying to break into this market. We’ve been very fortunate to work with some great drivers and teams that have helped to establish us as being a “friend” to the community. We’ve been very careful to talk with teams, instead of talking at them by simply pitching our product with an ad.

Ideas that flow downhill gain momentum

We market through several different channels and mediums, but it all starts with the idea of appearing bigger than we actually are. We work to accomplish this through three main themes; credibility, track presence and social value.

Credibility: The racing community is very keen to notice the top teams and drivers, and what makes them that way. There are many trade secrets as everyone is looking for an edge on race night. So much so, that when the cars are parked in the pits, a tarp is placed over the rear to cover the chassis area where you can see how the weights are distributed underneath.

We’ve been able to team up with one of the best dirt late model teams and a premier parts company to create weekly Tech Tip videos. These are short one or two minute videos giving tips on how to set up the racecar and run better on the track. Being in association with these partners has helped tremendously in establishing credibility. Not only by featuring them in helpful videos, but by them actually using the product as well.

racenote_rvTrack Presence: The motorsports industry is a very face-to-face market. It’s hard to sell a product in this market without pounding the pavement for a bit. We travel to many of the big races throughout the season in a 39-foot RV, and are usually able to secure a spot in the pits next to the teams. By us simply being there and talking with teams and drivers face to face, we have been able to put names to faces and get real world feedback.

Social Value: Like many startups, providing something useful above and beyond what you’re selling is a great way to work a foothold into getting organic market share. Our social media presence has increased significantly over the last six months thanks in large part to our intern and now first employee, Kyle Tautenhan.

Kyle deserves much of the credit for creating and maintaining articles and graphics that have been shared around the racing community. He has done a great job in positioning RaceNote as a company that has a rooting and active interest in the sport.

Using these three main strategies, we’ve been able to create a bigger footprint than our shoes actually make. This is a good thing because it’s showed us that we can create great leverage with few resources by simply putting the marketing fulcrum in the right place. We certainly owe a large debt of gratitude to many people who have helped us get to this point with the limited resources we’ve had.

Read more about RaceNote on Silicon Prairie News.


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