Back then: Kevin Demsky was whipping up a recipe for Memphis-style sponsorships that is almost as unique as the region’s babyback ribs. Demsky told EM that FedEx sponsorships are “a conduit” for convincing customers to utilize its services which led to eight rules for winning the sponsorship game. Rule One: Sponsorships are not created equal. Rule Eight: Know when to say good-bye to a property.
Now: Demsky is still delivering a winning game plan for FedEx. Let’s ask him how:
What’s changed over the past three and a half years?
First we got involved in NASCAR via a relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing and with our own car with Denny Hamlin as our driver. Our entire racing program has been a tremendous success for us. We also have taken our relationship with the PGA Tour to an even higher level with the FedEx Cup a new and innovative approach to professional golf whereby players accumulate points based on their performance in weekly tournaments. It culminated in a four-event playoff series in New York Boston Chicago and Atlanta. The FedEx Cup champion was Tiger Woods.
What is your biggest challenge going into ‘08?
The media environment continues to be very fractured. Consumers in general have a variety of channels to get information besides newspapers and traditional broadcast networks. With the introduction of the Internet handheld devices and cell phones and all sorts of technologies we as marketers have to make certain that the assets we have invested in are relevant to all these new emerging technologies and that we take an investment like we’ve made in NASCAR or the PGA or the NBA or a whole host of other sponsorships and make certain that we continue to manage those assets and make them available to fans to our customers to our employees through these new emerging technologies. I’m not sure anyone has quite cracked the code yet.
What is your biggest accomplishment since you appeared on our cover?
We are particularly proud of our introduction into the sport of NASCAR and how successful we have been in a short time. The relationship between FedEx and Joe Gibbs Racing has been a model for the rest of our sports marketing portfolio. The fact that Denny Hamlin has been as successful as he has been has really catapulted FedEx to the top of the sport in a very short period of time. Our decision to get involved in the sport has been a good one.