The sponsorship, sport marketing, and sponsorship marketing game is one of stamina and relationships. When you do good work and provide value for clients, you get referrals. When you do poor work, it comes back to haunt you. After having written three years of these Tuesday Morning Commentaries (156 consecutive editorials), I am still not at the point of packing it in. Every day, I hear more stories, get more information to share, and provide you and others with interesting angles and thoughts. I know that over 1000 people read the weekly column and many more access it through our website blog, LinkedIn, and Twitter. That encourages me to continue.
This past year, we partnered with former Olympian and now radio talk show host Jungle Jim Hunter. Each week on Jim’s Saturday morning sports radio broadcast, we present “The Business of Sport” feature and either I or one of our team members chat with Jim about different sponsorship and business aspects of the world of professional and amateur sport. It is a great program (even without our segment—lol). Jim is an amazing host and delivers fantastic guests. To hear the segments from this past year, be sure to visit our audio blog.
What has this to do with relationships and stamina? It means that slow and steady wins the race. Our philosophy has always been and will always be (as long as I am at the helm of the ship) that we do what is right for our clients and us, and only take on business where we can make the client successful. This, in turn, makes us successful. There are others out there who take the business to make budgets. There are those who take the business even though it is not their area of expertise. They take the business, often deliver poor results or results that benefit the supplier only, and attempt to move the client along to an area of their company that is their area of expertise outside of direct inventory asset identification, valuation, and mentoring. So be it. I learned a long time ago and more recently while on a panel discussion with industry leaders, that that if you do the best you can and what is right, and are effective at your job and responsibilities, you will never have to worry about the competition. I live by that premise and it is so true.
Recently, I was talking with a couple of industry colleagues who informed me that they had picked up business that we had lost. It was interesting. One was a fantastic event we would have loved to be associated with. Unfortunately, when we evaluated the opportunity two years earlier, we learned that they could not afford our services and they really just wanted someone to sell their product. We decided not to go after that business. We didn’t even write a proposal.
This colleague of mine informed me that the event had told him they had tried to work with us but we were too difficult to work with. I found that interesting. Even more interesting is that my colleague never got fully paid for services and the event itself is still not maximizing philanthropic perspective. He and his company do great work on that side of the equation and I have great respect for him and his work in that area. He truly let them know his area of expertise but they still went ahead and hired him to do the work. Whether you are a consultant, agency, selling property, or sponsor, I think it is important to maintain your ethical standards and do what is right. You need to be in a position to turn down business, even when you need it. That is what we have always done and always will do.
The other “client” we lost was an organization that was looking for sponsorship evaluation services and hired a company with philanthropic expertise because they were cheaper. As I have always said, “We stand by our value and our deliverables.” For those who choose to purchase services from another supplier, all the best. We have lots of competition that is well-skilled and can deliver great work. It is when they are sold a bill of good on what they can do and don’t deliver that annoys me. At the Partnership Group – Sponsorship Specialists™, our clients are truly partners. We are in a relationship to make them successful. We are not a quick service shop designed to turn out results in mass quantity from a pre-set menu of numbers like a factory assembly line. In fact a few years ago, we walked away from a client who was paying us a massive retainer. Unfortunately, they would not take our advice. They were a charity. This did not seem right to me. We severed the relationship. It was not ethical to provide advice, receive large payments, and have our advice disregarded month after month. I am fine if they don’t like our advice, but better that they not pay us and not get advice they will not use.
So how does this all tie back to stamina and relationships? It is simple. When you stand by ethical standards and live by those rules, you will succeed. For over a decade, the Partnership Group – Sponsorship Specialists™ has provided sound advice and success for our client group. Sometimes we lose pieces of business because someone else claims they can do it faster or with more glitz. Sometimes we lose a piece of business because the property feels they can get the same level of expertise and service for less money. When it is for any of those reasons, I am fine with losing the business and you should be too. We build solid relationships that deliver ethical and sound results that will leave a strong internal capacity to our brand clients and property selling clients with a high level of return on their investment. And in my mind, that is what a true partnership is all about.
These are just one person’s thoughts. Yours are welcomed as well. Please add your thoughts or comments below. Thank you for reading and your feedback.