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Ken Magill

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Tale of Two Pitches

7/22/14
 
By Ken Magill
 
Personalized marketing doesn’t only work in email. It works everywhere there is a potential sale to be made, even in business-to-business marketing.
 
Case in point: my media-buyer wife recently was contacted by two sports brand sales reps with two distinct approaches. The wife’s client—who I cannot name—prospects for parents with children ages zero to six.
 
The wife is always on the lookout for unique ways for her client to interact with these parents. She is not in favor of simply buying in-stadium or in-arena advertising.
 
“I don’t want my client to be in logo soup,” she said. 
 
The wife believes in the sales process. She answers every call and follows up on every lead on behalf of her clients.
 
She works on a regular basis with major sports brands such as the New York Yankees, Mets and Buffalo Bills. She is always happy to spend time with sales reps to explain her clients’ needs and listen to—or read about in the case of email—what the rep’s brand has to offer.
 
Below are the two different sports-brand pitches she received recently. One rep is clearly working for the sale. One rep is sending boilerplate. First the boilerplate:
 
[Wife’s Name]
 
Our [Sponsorship Name] partners are significant partners of the [Regional Sports] Association that, through mutually beneficial partnerships, support our efforts to grow the [RS]A Tournament in [City] while we in turn work to meet their marketing, sales and branding objectives. Our [Sponsorship Name] partners often have a distinct eye on community outreach, branding, or programs that benefit the greater [City] and [Regional State] communities directly. They are known as partners that champion strong, vibrant annual community events (such as the [RS]A Tournament), and provide opportunities to attend our tournament games or gain access to the positive messaging of our student-athletes and coaches during unique events that focus on youth health and wellness.
 
We are currently in discussions with several prospective partners for a youth mini-[sports] tournament at the [Major Branded] Arena leading into our championship game and a presentation to youth sports parents that would provide the latest information regarding concussions, to cite two examples of our collective focus being on youth, family, and community.
 
We would be happy to walk you through this conceptually if you would like to set up a short call or even meet in person if the latter were convenient for you.”
 
The preceding pitch could be sent to anyone just by changing the salutation. Yes, it’s less work, but it shows no thought has been given to the wife’s client’s brand or its marketing needs.
 
Contrast it with the following proposal from a major university:
 
[Wife’s Name]
 
We had some great conversations with some of our other schools on their [Wife’s Client’s Brand] programs. We worked on a few ideas ourselves and I wanted to reach back out and share them with you. Most of these ideas are directly targeted at parents of young children and would be a much more efficient buy compared to a mass branding campaign. We’d be happy to develop any concept in more detail if you feel they could be right for your client. 
 
• Expectant Mother Parking- Preferential [Client Brand]-Branded Parking near arena and University
 
• Recognition of current [Client Brand]-students that are currently attending the respective university- purpose of this is legitimizing the program and giving it credibility with real life examples of [Client Brand]-students
 
• [School] Stars Program recognizing and rewarding pre-school and kindergarten students for achievements
 
•[Client Brand]-branding attached to the [School] Stars program, Co-Branding on all [School] Stars merchandise, promotional items, and advertising Ex: “READ” posters, award certificates etc.
 
• Pre-game reception for parents and children before sporting events and group tickets bought for students in surrounding areas
 
• Pre-game Interactive Fun Zone area for parents and their children
 
• Enter-to-win Data Collection Contests for scholarships and second place prizes for birthday parties for kids
 
• Future [University Sports Team]- Fans will be able to submit photos of their children dressed up in [University] gear, a few select photos will be shown at each of the home basketball games as well as online on [university brand]sports.com. At the end of the season, based on a total vote one family will win a VIP experience courtesy of [Client Brand] and [University] included with a nice gift basket for the child
 
Additionally, we looked at the Scarborough data and found that [University Sports Team] fans are approximately 70% more likely to have children between the ages of 2-6 years old than the average [State] Parent.
 
I look forward to hearing your feedback.
 
Exit question: Who do you think the wife is recommending that her client consider?
 
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