From time to time, new sponsors come out of nowhere and onto our radar. Sometimes those include SpongeTech, other times they include great new partners that are sponsoring because of a variety of shifting and growing business objectives that many of our members may not know about. In these sponsor profiles, we'll take a deeper look into the emerging, often over-looked brands that are are making sponsorship headlines, including an interview with key sponsorship decision makers at the company. Today that company is MoveThatBlock.com, which made headlines earlier this week by title sponsoring IndyCar's return to New Hampshire Motor Speedway after a 13-year hiatus, in what will now be known as the MoveThatBlock IndyCar 225. What would drive a nine month old internet start-up to spend precious capital on a major IndyCar sponsorship? Read our interview with the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Haileab Samuel.
SP: What led you to sign your first big sponsorship deal? What are you looking to get out of the sponsorship with NHMS?
HS: We just launched a cars category. We thought partnering [with IndyCar] would be a great way to get exposure for the new section of our site. Anyone can post a car listing whether its new or used so motorsports is an obvious fit. In addition, we saw benefit from the national television exposure, which we believe will build the curiousity around the site with people asking what is MoveThatBlock.com. We’re already getting inundiated.
SP: What other kinds of sponsorship opportunities are you looking at and/or interested in?
HS: This is our first large sponsorship deal and we’re definitely interested in more sponsorship deals. If your members have any interesting opportunities, send them our way. We’ll review it and if it works for us, we can make a deal.
SP: Since you signed this deal primarily for your new auto category, what verticals are next up for MoveThatBlock.com?
HS: Right now, we’re primarily focused on the cars site and getting the best content around that, but any categories that our competitors have, we’re going to try to get into as well.
SP: Who are your competitors?
HS: Craigslist is the company we’re eyeing right now.
SP: Are you looking at other motorsports deals?
HS: Yes, we’ll look at anything that meets our objectives and if it makes sense we’ll move forward with it. We've already gotten a few proposals in fact. One of our main goals for 2011 is exposure. If we think we can get good exposure from sponsoring, we’re going to do it.
SP: What type of deal size are you looking at?
HS: We probably wouldn’t want to go higher than $500,000.
SP: How are you planning to measure this sponsorship deal? Traffic. We want to see how it grows throughout the summer. If it grows substantially it will be a huge success. We’re looking to drive site traffic up.
SP: Among the all other places you could put your marketing $, why does sponsorship make sense for a start-up?
HS: We have billboards and TV commercials. We haven’t seen a huge benefit from those things. When we did the press conference and the press release around IndyCar we saw a huge spike in traffic. Sponsorship deals so far are proving to be a better advertising method than the other forms.
Indy fans have even logged on to our site and personally thanked us for sponsoring the race. We’re already seeing the benefit from IndyCar.
SP: If someone has a tailored proposal for MoveThatBlock, how can they get in touch?
HS: Anyone can reach out through our site or directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org #proposalrequests