Anthony Bongiovanni, president and CEO of Parsippany-based Micro Strategies, has always been a car nut. Today, his systems integration company uses drag racing as a unique marketing tool, which has helped grow the company’s brand and given the employees a way to participate in and share something for which they have a very strong passion.
Bongiovanni was first introduced to drag racing by then-IBM business contact Raymond Scardelli, who is now Micro Strategies’ vice president of sales. The experience was so unique and exciting that it got Bongiovanni’s daughter involved in racing, and eventually led to the company creating the Bongiovanni Racing team. Several Micro Strategies employees actually drive in drag races across the region, including Bongiovanni and Scardelli.
“I saw that it was a good way for people to get introduced to Micro Strategies,” Bongiovanni says, whose Cobra Jet race cars are created by the team and branded with the Micro Strategies logo. “There are certainly not many conversations I have with customers where drag racing doesn’t come up. It’s been a great way to do something we enjoy and have a really good business purpose.”
When the team takes customers to watch a drag race, they don’t forget the experience. “You can go golfing, you can play tennis, but when you bring your family to a race, it sticks with them,” Scardelli says.
“There is so much value in [drag racing], by getting to really know the customers in a non-business environment, and we always enjoy showing them something that we are passionate about,” Bongiovanni adds.
The benefits of getting people to talk about and remember Micro Strategies by seeing its logo in a unique environment and experience a race in person are evident, and Bongiovanni credits it as a big part of the success and growth that the company has seen over the years.
Additionally, there is an interesting connection between the passion that goes into racing and the everyday work that is done at the company. Scardelli points out that every variable needs to be taken into consideration before a run, and even the slightest misjudgments, such as not accounting for a cloud covering up the sun, can cost you the race.
“When you start understanding all of the analytics that go into not just the cars, but also everything else surrounding it, like the weather, it’s similar to a lot of the things we do technology wise for our customers,” he says.
The team races at a number of tracks including locations in Englishtown and Reading, Pennsylvania, as well as near its newest office located in Boston.
“We are going to continue to use this marketing tactic to get people familiar with the Micro Strategies name,” Bongiovanni says. He adds that of all the marketing that is done for the company, racing has been one of the best ways to get that initial growth at a new location and subsequently retain customers.