How to secure business sponsorship and build brand engagement

How did your business journey begin?

I was very fortunate to be given a role that was created for me at the Direct Marketing Association UK many years ago.  Having worked on a number of funding programmes in Canada, I was excited to be able to utilise my skill set abroad.  Following an initial target of £50k, I managed to grow their sponsorship revenue to under £500k in less than three years without doing anything beyond what the DMA was already doing.  It was all around understanding the benefit of partnering with the association and articulating the proposition to the right brands.  

At the same time, coming from a marketing background, I was shocked by how many sponsorship deals lacked creativity with many of them being little more than a moving billboard.  However, sponsorship provides the perfect opportunity to be the most creative and partner resources, skills, and ideas.

As such, I launched Slingshot Sponsorship with the aim to truly be a game changer in our industry.  We bring exceptional creativity to commercial structuring for rights holders and at the same time are marketing kids at heart and understand how to build a brand vision, making sponsorship rights work much harder.  

Did you always want to run your own business?

Yes. However, I always thought my business would be product related rather than service.

How important is it to build relationships with brands as soon as possible?

Building relationships with the right brands is key; however, building good relationships take time and so be patient.  Sometimes the opportunity isn’t right for the brand at that point – but that doesn’t mean the next event you have on won’t be.  What is more important than building relationships with brands is asking the right questions.  Do you know what the brand’s strategy is?  If not, it is impossible to create a sponsorship proposition that will help them reach it and if you aren’t doing that, you won’t be able to sell sponsorship.

How have you built your own relationships and has it always been a key skill of yours?

Getting out there, meeting people and picking up the phone.  The over-reliance of email reduces our ability to build strong business relationships; therefore, everyone at Slingshot works extra hard to overcompensate.  I wouldn’t say that building relationships is a key skill of mine, but I am a huge people person and am genuinely interested in other people.  That probably has a lot to do with it.

What's the best advice you've been given?

If you are thinking about starting your own business, stop thinking and start doing.

How important do you think it is for small business to tap into global markets?

With the advance of technology, it is now easier than ever to do this and when it’s done effectively, you are maximising your own profitability and building your brand.  Our world is shrinking rapidly so if you aren’t at least considering playing the market, then you inevitably will be squeezed out by other competitors who are taking advantage of tapping into global opportunities. 

How have you grown your brand? 

Content.  Our business relies on being able to impart knowledge to those that need it and so we utilise a number of channels to do this including our blog, newsletter, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channels.  By integrating these channels well with key search words, we rank high on SEO which is vital for new business.

What inspired you to create your own brand?

I needed a vehicle to help me leverage and champion my concept of best practice sponsorship and what I feel is the future of marketing.  I didn’t feel that a one man band would be strong enough to challenge the norms in the sponsorship industry, which is why I created Slingshot Sponsorship.

How would you describe your experience as a business owner?

It’s fabulous, but I still would very much consider myself an employee at Slingshot.  We are a small team and I would never want to be called ‘The Boss’.  We also pride ourselves as being truly innovative which requires constant learning and development – for the time being, our flat structure encourages the type of an environment where everyone’s ideas are not only heard, but implemented. 

Did you realise the potential of Slingshot Sponsorship or did it exceed expectations?

We are an incredibly ambitious agency – our vision is to become the global driving force changing the perception and relevance of sponsorship. There is still much more to be done before we realise that vision, but we are certainly on our way!

Have you secured sponsorship for your business or do you have any recommendations for fellow entrepreneurs? Let us know in the comments box below. Also, you can find out more about Jackie by following her on Twitter


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