CUB marketer warns sports rights holders to make greater effort in selling sponsor packages

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From left: Maxwell, Muddle, Medcraf and Oakford

The partnerships manager of Carlton and United Breweries has warned sports rights holders not to jump straight in with the offer of “gold” packages to potential sponsors, arguing such a strategy demonstrates a complete lack of effort.

Chris Maxwell told a panel discussion, at the Mumbrella Sports Marketing summit in Melbourne, that he is often offered the top tier of sponsorship deals.

But he said such an offer does not reflect well on the seller.

“The one piece of advice I would give is don’t sell us the gold package, and that happens a lot,” Maxwell said.

“The first thing I think when I’m offered a gold package is you haven’t put any effort into this, or any thought about my business, and how to personalise the package to our business or our brand.

“It doesn’t take a huge amount of research to look at what category we are in, who our competitors are, and what we are trying to achieve in the category and tailor a proposal that suits the category, the business or the brand.”

Any prospective partner who takes the time and effort to personalise a package, “I look favourably upon”, he added.

Maxwell added the objective of sponsorship across the broad consumer goods industry has altered in recent years, moving from longer term brand building to short term sales.

He told delegates that was a likely result of the economy, tough market and the growing strength of retailers.

“They [retailers] are becoming more and more powerful, and hold a lot more sway in a business like ours. They want the short term sales and the consumer walking through the door,” Maxwell said.

“We used to talk about sponsorship as being primarily brand equity building and having a long term impact on the brand.

“That’s still important but you’ve also got to deliver a short term sales objectives as well. It’s about how are you building the brand in the right way and also pushing people into retail to pick up a box if whatever you are trying to sell.

“That’s a big shift I have observed.”

Maxwell was joined on the panel by by Golf Victoria marketing and communications manager Greg Oakford, Multi Channel Network (MCN) national sports sales director Martin Medcraf and chief media and innovation officer Cummins&Partners Kirsty Muddle.

Oakford said aligning with sport provides something brands find hard to come by – emotion.

“Sport is in a pretty good position where we do evoke a lot of emotion and that is something that most brands struggle to do,” he said. “Some of the brands working with our organisations are able to story tell their brands to a degree which is quite attractive to some of the sponsors.”

He acknowledged branding often needs to be fairly subtle to avoid it getting in the way of the fans’ experience.

Steve Jones 


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