There’s a funny term in marketing called “lifetime value.” It essentially means that a group, company, business, etc., makes a choice. Rather than to consider customers only for the short term, you consider their value, what they mean to you, for a lifetime.

That’s a sentiment Bristol Motor Speedway takes very seriously. 

Just a couple weeks ago all of you left town, is the flash of an eye everyone we love and miss during the year, our customers and guests, are gone.  It’s a sad time for us here.  But one thing that is done is reminiscing about all of the incredible people we met over the race week and the chance we got to make dreams come true.

On Saturday night after the IRWIN Tools Night Race, one of our Winner’s celebration guests, a young Marine from nearby Camp Lejuene in North Carolina, tapped me on the shoulder and said “sir, I am here for the post-race event but do not have a hot pass.  But, if you would let me and my girlfriend go through this fencing, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is right over there and it’s been my dream to meet him and get his autograph.”

As a steward of my job here at Bristol my first thought and what spilled out of my mouth was, “I’m so sorry, but I can’t let you by without a hot pass.”  He seemed saddened and upset but incredibly soldier like said “Yes sir, no problem.”

It was at that moment that it dawned on me and thoughts ran through my head. ‘What would Jeff Byrd do?’ ‘What would Jerry want me to do?’ ‘What should I do?’ I remember at that moment the story I heard from earlier in the day about our SMI President and COO Marcus Smith making the dreams of a couple people come true by inviting them into the garage area and to the Sprint Cup Drivers Meeting.  What a thrill that must have been for those people.

With that, I looked at the Marine and his girlfriend, standing politely behind the fence and said, “Sir, go right ahead but be careful as there are cars still coming off the track.”  He was so happy, and so thankful.  It made me appreciate my job at a place where I can makes dreams come true.

At that moment in time my judgment told me that this is the time to exceed someone’s expectations, to forget the short term value of this customer, of that moment and focus on what Bristol focuses on every day and will continue to for every year of its existence, moments that last a lifetime.  If we don’t make dreams come true then why come back? So that will be our goal, forever and for always.

By the way. He got that autograph.