Friday, May 29, 2009
Sports Marketing Q&A w/ NASCAR Nationwide Series Racer Ken Butler: KB3
NASCAR Nationwide Series Racer Ken Butler III, also known as KB3, is a great example of a succesful visionary who pursued his passion.
Currently, Butler is a rookie on the Nationwide Series and is sponsored by Aarons. He has a few top 20 finishes, along with few rookie mistakes. But what he brings to the table is undeniable.
Only a few years ago, Butler was the average teenager who played football and wrestled at Parkview High School, but he soon discovered his true passion when he started racing go karts.
After years of paying dues in the Hooters Pro Cup, Arca Series, and Craftsman Truck Series, Butler finally got to NASCAR’s version of Triple-A Ball. Although the competition is probably a little tougher, and the stresses a little greater, he is closer than ever to reaching his dream as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver.
We caught wind of Butler's career trek through Ben Burnett, CEO of Driven Sports Marketing. Butler and Burnett's friendship dates back to church camps and softball leagues from their childhood years. When Burnett left sales, he decided to get involved in bringing people and products together for himself in a new business venture. He has always been heavily involved with Drew Leathers and the Children’s Tumor Foundation , which was more or less how the two initially teamed-up.
Butler took the time to answer a few questions about the state of NASCAR and the business side of motorsports.
Marketingshift.com: How difficult is the current economic market for sponsorship and what have you been doing to make yourself more of a benefit to your current sponsors?
KB3:Sponsorship is tough. The people in the know think the economic marketplace will improve sometime later this year. I am excited about this set of challenges though. Personally,I do appearances constantly wherever we go with aarons stores as well as autogrpah sessions. I leave my hauler pretty much every hour to sign autographs and meet everybody that I possibly can. Off the track performance is equally important for me as on the track. I could be the best thing out there. But if I didn't make a point to be available it would be for nothing.
Marketingshift.com What is your strength with fans?
KB3: We have created a Facebook page for our fans that we are very interactive with. We answer questions and stay in touch with people. Our sponsors are key. Aarons has done a great job putting us out there and we are making our way. You are hard pressed to find easier access to me at my races. I love the fans. They make all the time and effort to make my career what it has been thus far. I make fans one handshake, beer, picture, and autograph at a time. I am always on.
Marketingshift: NASCAR is down in the ratings this year as well as at the track. Any thoughts as to why?
KB3: There are a lot of reasons that we think may be the problem. Some of our sports superstars haven't had the success that they have wanted to see. They make our sport what it is. When they don't do well its like Tiger Woods not being at a PGA tournament. When he isn't around its just another golf tournament. When he is around and in the thick of things until Sunday the marketplace and ratings are a completely different ball game. The drivers and team owners had a meeting this past week in Charlotte to discuss what can make NASCAR stronger. I think you will see the second half of the season pick up.
Burnett's enjoyed every second on and off the track with Butler.
With NASCAR having a down season, they need a guy like Ken. He talks to everybody, hands out T-shirts, and smiles for pictures until his face looks frozen. He truly is a guy the casual fan can get behind. The on the track success has started to happen. But when he is off the track the guy is a flat-out superstar. I knew he was the total package when he started talking about marketing strategies and charity events.
What sets the Butler Brothers Racing Team Apart from the rest of the pack? Their face-time with fans and sponsors.Butler and Burnett's emphasis on sponsorship and fan loyalty is virtually unparalleled. Burnett explained how their attention to detail makes the difference.
We talk to everybody, that’s why we’re different. We know that face time, returned calls, and being places and times is all part of helping Aaron’s expand their brand and their market share. Aarons swears by NASCAR and Ken has been a part of that.
Ken is in action Saturday at 2 PM EST in Dover. The race will be carried on ABC. A recap of the weekend’s events will be available on Monday full of good quotes, pictures and highlights. We will be behind these guys the rest of the season. And We think you should be too.
By Matt O'Hern at 06:15 PM | Comments (1)