It’s a new year in sports sponsorship.
The history of New Year’s Resolutions dates back almost 4,000 years to the ancient Babylonians. In their 12-day celebration for a new year, they would project forward what they hoped to achieve in the new year.
That is all to say, we as humans have been promising ourselves to be better each year for a fair amount of time. It is in our DNA.
A new year means a chance to have a fresh start in our industry of sports sponsorships. As we turn the page to 2023, we see a fair amount of headwinds coming our way.
It’s the perfect time to refocus and make some promises to stick to throughout the year.
You can listen to the full episode HERE, but as always see below for a quick breakdown.
1. Ignore The Noise
I think we all in the industry have heard of or read about the headwinds that are anticipated for this upcoming year.
An economic downturn, recession, whatever you want to call it…we are starting to see companies brace for an adjustment to growth by cutting spending.
Tangibly, we see this with some of the biggest companies laying off workers and cutting ad spend. This means less $$$ for us to go capture.
How can you combat this? Ignore the noise.
Foundationally, I think this is the best resolution you can make for yourself in the sports sponsorship industry this year. It is a promise to not get freaked out about the things you cannot control and let it affect your game plan & execution.
You can’t stop a recession… but you can double-down your focus on the value you bring clients & win the diminished budget.
As Rich brings up in the episode, choose not to participate in a recession.
As you head into what can become a tumultuous year in 2023, ignore the noise and focus on your main goal in sports sponsorship…which should be to maximize the value you bring to your sponsors.
2. Resolve to have more sales engagement > spammy sales
Reaching target customers has never been easier. We have the ability to build a list of 1,000 potential prospects, automate the email, and reach them all in minutes.
The problem with the above, sales are built on relationships. It is hard to automate relationships.
In 2023, focus on sales engagement over automated selling.
What is sales engagement? It’s actions in the sales process that help you build a relationship before trying to sell your product.
An example I always bring up of sales engagement drives back to when I sold restaurant ads. Before trying to engage with a prospect, I would go to their restaurant and eat a meal. I would ask what they were known for while having that meal and focus on understanding the biggest items that made the restaurant special.
Then, I would email the owner. Mentioning the dish and saying I would love to help travelers know about it through our hotel book.
I took the time to get to know the product before I fired off a sales email. That is sales engagement.
Did I reach every owner and get them to buy? No. But the ones that did engage with me closed at a higher rate and bought more ad space than the ones that I just shot off an automated email to.
As we dive into 2023, look at how you prospect new business and see if you are doing more sales engagement or sales automation. If your process is heavy on the automation side, build in more sales engagement items.
3. Be a Helper in sports sponsorship
You can never go wrong with this resolution. If you can find ways to be helpful, you usually see the value come back 10X in this industry.
Be a helper with your sponsors. How are you helping them maximize their value with your sports sponsorship package? Even further than that, can you help them look like a rockstar by hosting their son’s little league team for a pregame experience?
Be a helper to your co-workers. Can you help your marketing team fund an activation with sponsor dollars? Can you help make an in-game segment easier with a few execution tweaks?
If you focus on being a helper, you’ll see the returns throughout the year. Even better, expect nothing in return and be surprised when it comes back to you.
4. Try a new channel for an entire season/year
This one is a bit more tactical than the others, but I think one of the more important items to look at as you head into the new year.
So much in sports business and media, we rely on a few ‘known’ channels to distribute our content and by relation…build inventory to sell our sponsors.
But this will lead to tunnel vision. We focus so much on Twitter or Instagram that we don’t try new channels and see new opportunities.
In 2023, commit to trying to build an audience on a new channel that your team hasn’t tried before.
It can be YouTube, Tik Tok, Pinterest, Facebook Stories, or whatever you think will bring you the most value back.
The key to making this a resolution is to stick with it for an entire year. Many times, we try a new channel, don’t see immediate results…and then quit. This makes it so we never learn, tweak, and grow on that channel. If you look for instant results…you will probably not see them and abandon the campaign.
When you abandon this, you abandon the potential & opportunity.
Choose a channel, educate yourself on it, test it, and stick with it for an entire year. The results can only compound..better yet you can open up brand-new inventory to sell to sponsors.
5. Focus on time management in sports sponsorship
This is probably a good resolution every year, but it has a big place in the ability to execute the above resolutions.
One thing we don’t have in abundance in the sports industry is time. We can’t be inefficient with it when it comes to executing in the sports sponsorship industry.
A good way to get started is to carve out some time to do a scheduled audit. What are you spending your time on currently? What is taking the most time in your work day?
Then break those back down to your yearly goals. Is that what you should be focusing your time on? Do those actions that you spend time on help you get closer to your goals?
Take some time this week, do an audit, and then work toward a schedule that helps you manage your time more efficiently to help reach your yearly goals. Your future self in 2024 will thank you.
Choose 1, choose all 5, or whatever you think you can manage. But make your resolutions for this year and commit to helping build a better-executed 2023.