Marketing guru and McLaren executive Zak Brown insists that the digital age has made fan engagement a crucial component of modern marketing.
Formula 1 is now owned and spearheaded by a media conglomerate, Liberty Media, and the sport will now be brought in line with the digital age.
But individually, the teams are also capitalizing on the new marketing environment, where the fans are now at the center of a marketer’s interest.
“We at McLaren regard fan engagement as the most important aspect of modern marketing,” explained Brown.
“Without the fans, without the bums on seats in grandstands or indeed on sofas in front of TVs at home – iPads and iPhones at hand increasingly often too these days – Formula One couldn’t exist. It’s crucial that we all remember that.
“The biggest change in sports marketing in recent years has been the arrival and widespread adoption by sports fans of social and digital media.
“McLaren’s digital and social media platforms are busy, vibrant, popular and successful, and we have almost seven million social media followers now.
“I’m active on social media myself, as is Eric, as are both Fernando and Stoffel. It’s important – but it’s also fun.”
Zak Brown also insists that in order for the link between McLaren and its fans to be sustained, it must give back and reward the loyalty of its base, through good times and bad.
“McLaren’s fans are the best in the world, I firmly believe that. The past few seasons have been a bit disappointing for them, I realise that, but their loyalty has never wavered.
“And, guess what, we reward that kind of loyalty. Just last week we invited a couple of dozen McLaren ‘super fans’, if I can call them that, to the McLaren Technology Centre, and I met every one of them.
“I follow every one of them on Twitter now too. They met Stoffel as well – and every one of them got to race him around Monaco in a mini version of our simulator.
“Stoffel was the quickest of course, as you’d expect, but some of them were pretty quick too. We really enjoyed hosting them, and we’ll do it again.”