Learning from the Best

Here it is the end of June. It is halfway through the calendar year. It is the end of the traditional school year. That got me thinking. What is in store for our industry from a professional development perspective? Where are budgets and how can we all grow our knowledge?

Training and professional development has become critical for our industry. With the exponential growth of the industry and more and more people shifting into it; it is critical that we have training and development ready and available. My goal is that, at some point, we will have an accredited program that delivers training for both properties and brands in the sponsorship industry. My hope is that such a program will one day exist to provide learning on everything from activation to ROI measurement, from property investment analytics to inventory development and valuation, and from negotiation to fulfilment. My aspiration is that this program will encompass all sectors of the industry from arts to sports, from entertainment to municipalities, from member associations to causes, and from events to programming. That is my optimism. I believe this is a huge void in the industry. Without a single-sourced umbrella program, our industry`s future is in trouble. Like doctors and lawyers, welders and long-haul truck drivers, there needs to be a source for such training and development for our industry. We have begun discussions and the aspiration is to deliver such a program through a group of industry professionals who see this need and are concerned about the future. It must be collaborative and industry-driven. Nathalie Courville of Courville Communication and Marketing has begun the process and welcomes the input of others as they may chose.

Meanwhile, there are some great opportunities to learn and experience. Next month, Mark Harrison’s Canadian Sponsorship Forum will be hosted by the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal. Between the Partnership Group – Sponsorship Specialists™ and Sponsorship Connections™, we are sending three people to this amazing experiential event. At this conference, you will be truly wowed by the activation and experience of the event. The parties and networking are tremendous. Everyone I know who goes comes away with an understanding of how big an extravaganza any event can be. It demonstrates that sponsorship is more than eyeballs. It shows the experience firsthand.

After the summer, it is back to work. The premiere professional development event this fall is being held in Calgary in October. It welcomes you to “Get in the Game” and come play the sponsorship game. The SMCC (Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada) Western Sponsorship Congress™  will launch with over 30 presenters, 18 breakout workshops, six panel discussions, over 250 registered delegates, four keynote plenary sessions and more. This conference will provide you with the education, training, and takeaway tools to bring your organization success. No matter if your goal is to increase activation concepts for your brand or manage sponsor expectations, this event delivers the goods. With brands and properties such as XEROX, IBM, World Vision Canada, Purolator, Canadian Tire, TELUS, CARE Canada, Calgary Hitmen, Mr. Lube, RBC, McMillan LLB, West Edmonton Mall, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Panasonic, Loto Quebec, and others as presenters and registered delegates, this will be an amazing event.

Even though my dream is a national bilingual sponsorship marketing educational program to educate and develop our existing and future industry professionals, there are lots of opportunities to learn and experience. I urge you to reach out and register for either of these amazing events as well as the many industry sector-specific professional development that is available, such as AFP luncheons across the nation when they offer sponsorship workshops as they do in Edmonton and Area, SMCC Breakfast Forums, AFP Toronto Congress in November (if they have sponsorship sessions this year), but also BC Fairs Annual Conference in October, which includes sponsorship workshops, the Calgary Legal Marketing Group which is hosting a lunch and learn on sponsorship, CAFÉ (Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions) in Winnipeg in November that has a series of sponsorship workshops associated with it, and Festivals and Events Ontario’s annual conference.

The opportunities are there. You just need to register and show up. To learn and develop, you need to listen and understand. These programs can provide that opportunity.

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