Mar 23, 2011 at 01:21 PM
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Ahead Of The Curve: J.W. Cannon

Photobucket This week’s featured professional is J.W. Cannon, Senior Project Lead at UPS.

View J.W. Cannon's SponsorPitch Profile

Why Sharing Information is Important to the Sponsorship Industry

We’ve all been taught that the business world is dog eat dog – a world where information is closely guarded, much like a spoiled-rotten child treats his toys. A world in which he who controls the most toys wins. A world where allowing access to our toys is on par with giving away the formula to Coca-Cola on Facebook.

Well, the sponsorship industry is that spoiled child. And yes, we’re afraid to share our toys.

I know exactly what you were thinking when you read that headline: “If I give up everything, I give up control.”

For some reason we’ve put forth the belief that results of our programs are only meant to be shared internally with execs in the form of PowerPoint decks, the sole purpose of which is to make sure we keep our jobs. Every piece of information we control gives us a leg up on other departments in our company, the rest of the industry and our competitors. That much more power. That much more leverage.

If you haven’t already figured it out, that world is over. In today’s hyper connected world, what we do with our sponsorships is in plain view, but nobody understands the reasons why we do it and how it affects our business.

Such reclusive behavior has caused the industry to be thrown under the proverbial bus – by the public, by the media and even by the United States Congress.

Remember Senator John Kerry’s call for a ban on financial services companies engaging in sponsorship? And do you remember Bank of America’s Ray Bednar famously speaking up about their company’s 3-to-1 return on sponsorship and how people laughed off those results?

Therein lies the problem. We’ve left it up to the public at large to determine the reasoning and the results of sponsorship programming, and those reasons are wrong. You know it and I know it. So why not be a little more forthcoming? Why not share our toys?

The collective success of our industry is built upon freely sharing all of that information that previously was so tightly kept under lock and key. The more information we give away, the more we personally, and collectively as an industry, will get in return.

More Credibility

We’re the red-headed step child of the marketing mix, mostly because nobody understands what it is we do and how it affects company objectives. I mean, how many times have you been pegged as a banner hanger and ticket broker? Even within your own company?

More Efficient Programs

Key learnings from others’ successes (or lack thereof) provide a benchmark to measure your own results. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Better Ideas

The more people understand about what your sponsorship objectives are, how you activate your sponsorships, and what works/what doesn’t, the better the ideas get for how to make them better – from both your existing partners or new ones.

Let’s face it, the sponsorship industry will never go away; it’s just too big. But in the interest of the long-term credibility of our industry (and as a result, your budget and your job), it’s time to start sharing our toys a little more.

J.W. Cannon is a veteran marketer and sponsorship professional with over 10 years of experience in engaging consumers with high-profile brands such as The Home Depot, Bank of America,, ING, and UPS.


Twitter: @cannonjw


Views in this article reflect the personal views of the author, and not those of any of the companies mentioned in this post. #ahotc