Consumer facing marketing – using sponsorship in sport

Went to a good conference today called Sport and the City, with a horse racing focus.  I’m a City kid, so not really acquainted with the horse racing world at all, but the principles of good marketing and commercialisation of rights in horse racing are sport- (and indeed sector-) neutral.   My thoughts from the day:

First past the post:

The big pot of prize money goes to Raymond van Niekerk, Global Marketing Director for Investec.  He wins this on the basis of being a telling it like it is guy when it comes to sponsorship and, in my experience, he’s spot on.  Here’s what he said:

Sponsorship is about exposure, association, leverage, relationships and who your brand bedfellows are – and “if it didn’t happen on TV, it didn’t happen”

Sponsorship is a “play about status, about what you don’t get with advertising”

Be aware of limitations of sponsorship though – if you have a complex product/brand set, it will not communicate that depth

The thing that rang true from my perspective was on the contract side, about needing to control your own destiny – but with the recognition that it’s still the start of the journey, so you can’t get to signature hating eachother!  And that’s the point really, isn’t it – it’s not a widget supply deal, it’s a partnership, a marriage, a whatever.  It’s about trust and having a good feel about who you’re working with.  And when that trust slips up, make sure you have the mechanisms to swoop in and deliver.

Big thanks to Raymond for telling it like it is – oh, and for saying he didn’t hate *all* lawyers.

Other notable runners and riders:

Simon Bazalgette of the Jockey Club and Stephen Michael of Ascot Racecourse gave us a really stunning view of the modern horse racing world and the wealth of commercialisation opportunities there were there for brands.  Really, if you hadn’t looked at the horse racing sector before, now might be the time. 

Richard Fitzgerald of Racing UK/RMG allowed us some very real insights into how technology and consumer marketing and conversion really work, by showcasing the William Hill app.  Quite remarkable.

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