I recently made a comment on a Sponsorship Insights Group discussion on LinkedIn pointing out my favorable opinion of sponsorship industry leaders pointing to valuable resources. I really believe that when you take a “neutral” position as an industry thought leader, and are able to offer direction to assist people in navigating towards valuable resources which focus on the many aspects one must consider to grow their sponsorship efforts it does several things:
- Grows the industry as a whole; pointing to best practices and industry tools develops the individuals making up the industry more effectively.
- Underscores a mature perspective – let’s be honest, one person/resource can’t be everything to everyone, there are individuals with a specialty focus who will build the community best within their niche.
- Holds all sponsorship resources accountable – whether you’ve been around for a long time or you’re a new company, people affected by sponsorship need the truth about the best resource for them. Whether you’re a big fish or a small fish doesn’t mean your words/efforts are always gold, let’s hold one another accountable in our positions of influence.
That being our stance at SponsorPark, we decided it was time to take our own advice and start pointing the finger in the direction of resources we believe are bar none. If you review the list and believe something has been left out or you have found to be well worth your while, feel free to comment!
- Power Sponsorship - Kim Skildum-Reid has a tremendous background in sponsorship, and her books as well as her blog have become powerful resources underscoring best practice sponsorship. All of which I have found clear, applicable and action oriented.
- Sponsorship Insights Group - this link is to their LinkedIn page which I directed you to for the reason that you will find the largest group of sponsorship related professionals on the internet in one place contributing in valuable discussions. See Dan Beeman’s guest blog post for more information on this group. If you want to stay on top of networking within the industry, this is the place to do it.
- SponsorshipPRO+ - we have mentioned this software resource created by Tom Stipes before. SP+ is a tool that makes you better able to organize and present activation details and underscore ROI to your sponsor. Big or small, if you are a property interested in really impressing your sponsor partners with valuable details of how you implemented the partnership; this is a must use software.
- IEG - IEG is one of the most well known sponsorship resources; and while some resources such as their sponsorship report and the blog are great educational resources for almost anyone in the sponsorship industry, I encourage individuals to do their homework on most resources to ensure it adds value to your efforts, not everything will meet everyone’s needs. Their conference is wrapping up now, which we attended last year and found quite helpful – just be ready for the price of the investment. IEG seems to be the object of scrutiny lately in many blogs and discussions I've seen posted, as to whether they're holding thier value; I submit to you my humble opinion that there is still plenty they have to offer an individual that can be found as informative and helpful in staying educated on industry trends, however pricy they might be.
- Partnership Activation – Brian Gainor has a great blog (and you can sign up for his newsletter), and he highlights some of the great strategies and best practices of, you guessed it, partnership activation.
- Take a Peck - Jason Peck has some really fantastic insights on the concept of social media. It's a little bit seperate from the other sponsorship resources I've mentioned, but I truly believe that eventually (in the next 5 years or so) social media will be much more important to have a handle on as it relates to sponsorship.
I grew up a pastor’s kid, and one particular verse my parents always repeated was “he who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” I really believe this can be carried over into growing in your industry. If you want to grow, and have a healthy perspective on what’s going on now, what’s changing, and how you can impact the community, you need to stay educated with top notch resources. Take the time to read the blogs, create a Google Alert with the keywords/topics you’re interested in, hop on board with the social media revolution and conduct targeted searches to on twitter, LinkedIn and facebook. Surround yourself with other thought leaders and trust me, you’ll start talking the talk and walking the walk a lot better. Obviously this is just a taste of what’s out there, the truth is there is plenty more, and I’m very interested in hearing your insights and experience with other tools as well.