Providing Our Students with Opportunities

The sponsorship marketing industry continues to grow. Every year for the past eight years (since tracking has been done by the Canadian Sponsorship Landscape Study), the total dollars spent has grown. As of 2014, that progress tallied over 60% growth in the same period.

One area that is often overlooked, however, is the young people who will fill the ranks to take our industry to the next level. This segment of the industry has grown dramatically as more and more business schools and colleges make sponsorship marketing a part of their curriculum. Likewise, there are more and more professional development opportunities.

In April, we will see a showcase of the greatest sponsorship programs in Canada, as well as a day of great speakers and learning at the SMCC Marketing Awards and Conference. In May we recognize the 5 To Watch, five industry professionals under 40 years of age through George Brown College. Then in June, TrojanOne’s 11th Annual Canadian Sponsorship Forum will be hosted in Edmonton in conjunction with the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, an incredible learning opportunity with lots of fun, parties, and first-hand understanding of the experiential side of our industry. Then in October, in Calgary, the Western Sponsorship Congress™ Canada’s largest national sponsorship event dedicated to industry best practices and professional development from both the brand and selling property side, takes place.

These conferences, as well as Sponsorship Toronto in November, all cater to those already committed to our industry. These events provide enhanced professional development for those who have already jumped into the deep end. What about those in post-secondary institutions and high school? I believe we need to educate and inform these audiences about our exciting and fast growing industry.

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of speaking to both these groups in the Niagara Region of Southern Ontario. I was engaged by the Niagara Sport Council to deliver a half-day sponsorship workshop to industry professionals during the Niagara Sport Industry Congress. Included in that group were young professionals and interns from the industry and students from the Brock University and Niagara College, there so they could learn more about the revenue generation side of the business of sport. During this week-long event, I also spent a morning with a group of high school students who were interested in possibly pursuing a career in the business of sport. Both of these were incredible opportunities to see the energy and interest from our youth. I felt so positive about the future with these young students so interested in our industry.

Then to cap it all off, I had the incredible opportunity to be a guest lecturer at Brock University. Rachel Corbett’s course on sponsorship has adopted my book Reality Check – Straight Talk about Sponsorship Marketing for the course curriculum. She teaches the course using the step-by-step instructions in the book so that her students learn the basics, from asset inventory development and valuation, to discovery sessions and proposal development, negotiation, fulfilment, and activation. Since I was in the area, I connected with Rachel and had the opportunity to speak to the class with more industry stories and learning as well as to answer students’ questions. I have made a similar offer, based on availability, to those professors and instructors across Canada who adopt Reality Check (#sponsorshipreality) as part of their required reading or course curriculum. I think it is essential that we work with our university and college students and share the excitement of our industry with them. It is personally rewarding as I have come to mentor a few students personally and watch them grow into and up the ladder in our industry. Reality Check has offered me huge personal non-monetary rewards as I watch people in our industry embrace it daily as their handbook to success as they grow in the sponsorship marketing industry. It is also rewarding to see it becoming an important part of so many college and university curricula and required reading so that our next generation has the tools and knowledge to be successful and the industry basics by the time they enter it. The reward, as one organization touts it, is truly being able to share with others that which has been so freely shared with me and helped bring me success.

I am so excited about the youth who will continue to build and shape our industry for the future.

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.

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