Sponsorship Tango Part 1: Top 10 Things that Frustrate me as a Sponsorship Seller

Sponsorship Tango Graphic

Working in the sponsorship marketing industry for over a decade, you develop great relationships with amazing people – a lot of them who become close friends on the brand, property and agency side- friends who aren’t afraid to hold back their frustrations when it comes to the process of buying and selling sponsorship.

Based on a number of those candid lunches and coffees, I decided to  put together The Sponsorship Tango – a reality check on the evolution of the buyer/seller relationship in sponsorship marketing.    The Sponsorship Tango was presented at the 2012 Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada’s (SMCC) AGM and the 2012 SMCC Western Sponsorship Congress.

Three of my close industry friends, Tim Maloney (Purolator Canada, at the time – he just announced his recent move to Promotivate as their Vice President, Corporate Partnerships);  Angela Gill (Director, Sponsorship Strategy, Canadian Tire); and Karine Zanier, my former colleague from IMG (and industry veteran currently with HSBC), agreed to help me  present the content to top industry executives.   Quick shout out to the SMCC,  Brent Barootes of the Partnership Group, Mary Ann McKenzie of Best Buy, and those of you who contributed to the Sponsorship Tango content, but asked to remain confidential – your feedback, valuable insights and honesty made this possible.

Based on the overwhelming requests for this candid look into the reality of today’s marketplace, I’ve decided to adapt the material and post it on my blog.  There’s a lot of content so I’ll be breaking it up into a few a different parts, which I’ll send out concurrently over the next couple of weeks.

Things that frustrate me as a seller

Top 10 Things that frustrate me as a Sponsorship SELLER

  1. Disappearing Act – no return phone calls and/or emails.
  2. Asking for a proposal before a conversation takes place.
  3. Lack of transparency when passing on an opportunity e.g. using budgets as a quick and dismissive tactic.
  4. Unqualified opinions and personal bias towards a property.
  5. Those afraid of saying NO (be honest with us).
  6. Misrepresent decision-making ability or influence
  7. Lack of clarity on brand goals and business objectives
  8. No activation – marketers who think the sponsorship will promote itself
  9. Agencies with their own agenda or ulterior motive
  10. “Takers” (tickets, time, and everything in between)

Tell me how you really Feel?… a few quotes from the industry:

  • “Most companies are not prepared to talk with property sellers because they don’t have an internal strategy.  Get one!  Bottom line, sponsorships should be part of a company’s overall marketing and communications strategy.  Especially today when technology has become so advanced and the traditional advertising message can be lost”    – Managing Director
  • The majority of any corporate prospects NEVER return calls or emails or direct mail requests.  Professionals always return communications.  They listen, assess the opportunity, then respond” -Managing Director
  • “Preconceived opinions (or personal bias) on a property they haven’t previously worked with – amplified when they don’t take the time to provide the opportunity to understand what the property is about” – Vice President, Corporate Partnerships
  • “Being led down the garden path (and around the mulberry bush). So called prospects that keep you believing a deal is likely to happen, forcing a lot of work, time and effort to be put in, with a very little chance of success” –Managing Director
  • “Lack of transparency when passing on an opportunity – budget is always the easy answer but is not always the accurate answer”  –Vice President, Corporate Partnerships
  • “Agency self fulfilling prophecy – buying what makes them money or makes them appear compliant against objectives in the client’s eyes and not evaluating an opportunity on true merit” –Vice President, Corporate Partnerships
Want to hear it from the other side of the table?  
Stay tuned for Sponsorship Tango Part 2: Top 10 Things that frustrate me as a Sponsorship BUYER (including quotes).

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