SBD/August 15, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Hendrick Motorsports Engages Fans In Social Media Through In-House Digital Dashboard

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Earnhardt's chat from the Digital Dashboard generated significant fan interaction
The Digital Dashboard production studio is the "showy centerpiece of a recent revamping" of Hendrick Motorsports' marketing department "with an emphasis on social media and behind-the-scenes content to grow its audience," according to Nate Ryan of USA TODAY. Team President Marshall Carlson said that the "digital direction was driven by research and focus groups with fans who wanted more exclusive access rather than the news found on other sites." The reception has been "as strong from its existing and prospective sponsors (the team has space available on Earnhardt's No.88 Chevrolet) that have become more attuned to social media." Carlson said, "With the prospects we're talking to, that's a key selling point." The Digital Dashboard, designed by Hendrick sponsor Panasonic, produces "weekly snippets featuring drivers, crew chiefs, pit crew and team members that are culled from daily shoots" around the Hendrick campus. The content "surge has been reflected on the team's YouTube channel, which has enjoyed a 100% spike in 2013 page views." Hendrick also is "measuring the social media impact for sponsors by staffing the Digital Dashboard for at least five hours a day and supplementing it with statistics" from analytics company Simply Measured. Because sponsors can "quantify a return on their investment more precisely," marketing agency Engine Shop Head of Digital Josh Pelz "expects other NASCAR teams will expand their social media strategies." Reddit's NASCAR thread "received a 176% bump in traffic" for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Ask Me Anything session "compared with an average Sprint Cup race day." Earnhardt said, "I think NASCAR is smart going in this direction. We're just scratching the surface. I think in 20 years, this is going to consume all your day, because it'll be a lot more portable with easier access, and that kind of communication will be as easy as taking a breath" (USA TODAY, 8/15).
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