I find it funny how our minds fail to retain information. Or even sometimes we convince ourselves of something that is not true. A few years back my daughter was taking driving lessons to get her driver’s licence. She had a book to review and one on one driver training with a certified instructor. She was being taught the right way in my mind. With an industry professional. She was learning what is right and wrong. What you can and cannot do and why!
But between those driving lessons, she needed to practice. So, I drove with her often during that period. (I was home, and it was COVID or just post COVID.) Several times I would tell her to do something or tell her what she did was wrong. I would pontificate that I had been driving for over 40 years and knew the rules of the road. Just about every time she pushed back. “No dad, I can cross a single white line, it is a double line I cannot turn left across” or such things. And of course, she was right. I had to tell her so. Helping my daughter with her driving training was an opportunity to “retrain” myself on my driving habits. Over 40+ years I had forgotten things or misconstrued things. This experience over a year or so with her was like retraining.
I got to thinking about that recently. So many of us in the sponsorship industry have been in it a long time. Some like me, for almost 35 years, but even for others who have been in it for 5-10 years, in my opinion, have assumed bad habits. We have learned to cut corners (like the “rolling stop” at a four way stop intersection) and even in some cases have convinced ourselves of things that might not really be true.
As I thought about this, I chatted with a couple of people by phone about it when I had some downtime. We all agreed we were culprits… and agreed many others are too, even if they don’t admit it. We came up with what we called the “Top 4 Myths We Believe Because We Think We Know Better” list!!! There were many more, but here are our “top four”:
- We skirt around the “discovery” session. We figure we know all about FIs (financial institutions) and we are talking to ABC Bank, so we don’t really need to do that “discovery session” because we “already know about them”. Heck, we have been doing this for ages and know them inside and out. But the reality check is we don’t. Businesses change every day. Strategies change. People change. Just because we “think we know” is no excuse not to do a discovery session. When we were chatting, we could each name 3-5 examples in the last 18 months of where we had skipped the full discovery process, and it turned out bad. That was an eye opener.
- We tend to do what we have always done… especially with activations. We again figure “We have been here before. We have bought the t-shirt several times.” By thinking “we know all there is all to know” we miss opportunities. Our failure to understand technology or embrace new or differing ideas will continue to set us back further and further. Again, when we were chatting, we all agreed that no matter how long we have been in the sector, we all do our best to attend at least 4-6 different conferences a year to learn new ideas, see now opportunities and embrace ideas different than our own. That is part of the refresher and retaining we all must partake in. I can say in 2023 I have attended 8 different conferences or trade shows or meetings or conventions to learn and relearn. It is very invigorating.
- Shortcutting valuation processes. Sometimes we shortcut the process to determine the value of our sponsorship marketing assets. That might mean looking only at eyeballs to get us a quicker number. Or to fail to conduct internal and external interviews of staff and stakeholders when determining a naming right or sponsorship valuation to save time or money. Or even to forgo market comparisons to save time or money. All of these shortcuts will get you a less accurate and possibly wrong valuation on your naming right or your sponsorship assets. We see this most often happen when “timeline” crunch plays a role such as “we need that valuation within the next 30 days” or such which in my mind is just poor overall management of the process. When we were just starting out in this sector and were learning, we always did what was right. And today we often take short cuts because we think we know what we are doing, but in fact may be getting misinformation as a result.
- We shift to “pitching product” rather than “providing solutions”. This is probably one of the worst offenders my phone group agreed. We “litter” the market with “stock packages” to try and meet a shortened timeline or because there is “long hanging fruit”. Everyone of us agreed that at some point in our careers we had gone after and secured a “low hanging fruit”. Not one of us could say it turned out well.
Hopefully this “ride along” on a driver training expedition will help you to open your eyes about what corners you might be cutting either because you believe in the myths you are feeding yourself (or others are feeding you) or because you just want to get from point A to point B faster than you realistically should and are willing to endanger others to get there in your shortened timeline. Truly we all know better… we probably just need another voice to educate us or remind us… like my daughter did with my driving habits “knowledge”.
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