What is one major difference between the two sponsorship proposals below.
- AFL pitching to Company X
- Individual athlete manager pitching to Company X
The answer: One has extensive market research about their product, the other does not.
When the AFL, NRL or FFA pitches for sponsorship, they have qualitative and quantitative market research to present. This includes demographics about their key customers and what their brand represents in the marketplace among others things. Most importantly, they have the data to back it up.
Athlete managers on the other hand don’t have any solid market research to present. They can guesswork the brand values of their athlete but they don’t have the kind of data that makes a proposal compelling.
Sponsors are very strategic in their approach. They know their brand inside and out. They know exactly who their target market is. They know demographics. They know exactly what their brand represents to their customers. They know the buying behaviour and what influences their target market. They know what kind of marketing and advertising works and why. And they expect you to have similar level of understanding about the product you’re selling.
Athlete managers never include this kind of data in their proposals. So the managers that do will stand head and shoulders above everyone else.
Now market research doesn’t need to be peace and war and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Most sports will give you this information for free. So if you manage a rugby union player, you could ask the ARU for some market research. (Tell them you’re doing a uni assignment or you’re interested in sponsorship opportunities).
This will give you some hard data about your athlete’s target market which you can present to potential sponsors. They’ll be shocked but delighted and it may just get your proposal over the line.