While we look forward to sharing more of the information and insights shared by the many panelists and guests at last week’s TicketManager Summit in New York City, below are a few highlights in the immediate wake of the event.
Commitment to Measurement. As a longtime advocate for brands to go deeper in analyzing performance metrics for their sports and entertainment partnerships, it was gratifying to hear multiple discussions of the application of ticket management and other data to determine what is working and where improvements can be made.
As Cigna’s senior director of enterprise media and sponsorships Seth Fishbein described it, the “optimization of sponsorship through data” is a trend taking hold in marketing departments at numerous companies across multiple categories. Although it is always dangerous to predict a tipping point away from the simplistic metrics the industry has relied on for decades, the breadth of brands interested in capturing actual outcomes is clearly growing.
Also of note, the number of rights holder partners in attendance who are actively engaged with brands to deliver data and insights to help justify investments in tickets and sponsorships.
Momentum for Resale. Companies such as Wesco International, United Airlines and others shared the success they were having reselling unused corporate tickets and re-investing the proceeds in various ways. But perhaps the strongest indication that corporate resale is gaining real traction came from Greg DeLuca, vice president of premium development and services for the Philadelphia Eagles.
His message to teams and properties that are not facilitating, or even allowing, their corporate ticket buyers and sponsors to resell excess inventory was simply that they are losing out on multiple opportunities to secure additional revenue and leads, and would soon be left behind by rights holders who are engaging with partners around resale.
Some Discouraging News. Two sponsorship professionals, both of whom have tremendous expertise and successful track records, recently experienced similar endings to their positions at the brands they were working for. Each was hired to establish a sponsorship strategy and process while building or refining their company’s partnership portfolio.
Unfortunately, those roles only lasted a couple of years or less. Although the reasons were different, both are examples of a lack of understanding and respect for the critical role sports marketing and sponsorship can play in achieving business objectives.
In one case, the company quickly abandoned plans to grow strategic sponsorships during a wave of cost cutting, as the company shortsightedly viewed them merely as expenses, not investments. In the other, once deals were signed and activations planned, the brand concluded that the sponsorship pro’s job was done, turning execution of the program over to others with no experience in managing partner relationships.
For all of the many brands that “get it,” it’s clear there are still those who treat sports marketing as a second-class citizen in the world of marketing. The problem for potential employees and partners is that it’s not obvious who those companies are until it’s too late.