Marketing Week 2009
Issue No. 48 - August/September 2009
Surf’s up for sponsors
Surfing South Australia CEO Steve Reddy is a trained recreation planner who for many years has managed youth training and sport programs. Moreover he has worked in employment development and knows what goes into making an extremely successful, profitable businesses.
His knowledge has been instrumental in making SSA a very successful corporate sponsorship candidate.
“The (SSA) brand was pretty much already established, as was the portfolio of wonderful events,” he says. “The main issue was connecting with the media to assist with event promotion and recognition of the wonderful sponsors who support these events. Critical to this was working with Channel 10 to gain their confidence in our ability to deliver a sponsor, provide excellent content for the surf report, and gaining the major papers’ trust to run regular stories in sports and general interest columns.
“To be honest our original pitches were pretty much hundreds of letters with a few of our best photos embedded in a Word document. When I look back now I’m amazed at how positively companies received them.
“The key to all pitches - in any industry - was the follow up: respectful, persistent, with particular attention to all the staff in the chain from reception/admin to the top person. If you’re going to have a sponsorship/ partnership with a company it has to be the whole company, not just the marketing or brand manager.
“Once a pitch gets a hearing and it leads to a meeting you’re halfway there. The key then, as in all service industries, is to find out what the client needs: promotion, media, sampling connection with the youth market, etc.
“Our pitches have certainly improved since we employed Tim Doman our Business Development Manager. However this hasn’t changed our approach, which is still to sit down with potential partners and really find out who their target market is and how we could develop a package that meets their needs.”