Sponsorship (or as way too many people spell it Sponcership)
‘Tis the season for the stacks of letters and proposals to completely take over my office. In one corner I have three large paper boxes. Each one has a specific label. One labeled Teams, one labeled Solo and one labeled Races. As the mail comes in I make a donation into each box. Each box contains the dreams and life stories of hundreds of passionate people who are doing what they can do be part of this crazy bike culture. Racers, advocacy groups, charity events, blind dog sled racers (yeah, we get some strange stuff) all looking for a handout. In one hand it is totally flattering that so many people want to be affiliated with our brand. On the other hand if we sponsored everyone who would buy our stuff from dealers?
A few years ago a group of us started emailing the craziest and most ridiculous proposals around for all to share in the amusement of what people honestly think they are going to get. Some of the more amusing ones have been donations for a high school cheerleaders bake sale, a pro bull rider willing to throw a logo on his vest in exchange for cash and one guy looking for chain lube to ride his unicycle around the world. I didn’t even know unicycles had chains.
For those playing the home version of the game here is a user guide on how to properly ask for sponsorship from small bike accessory companies with super-busy marketing directors:
1. Take the time to know who you are sending your proposal to. For the first couple of years I worked here I considered changing my name to Whom It May Concern Wiedemann.
2. DVDs, CDs, etc are great but there are not enough hours in a year to look through every one riding their bike in Moab.
3. Pictures are good, words are bad. I am a visual person and they help to show me what you are doing.
4. If you do use words, use spell check. It is one of the greatest inventions of the digital age.
5. Nothing will get your proposal into my trashcan faster than a letter addressed to me but praising my competitor’s products.
6. Please don’t call everyday to see if I have made a decision yet. In the time it takes me to answer my phone I could get through another two proposals and one could be yours.
7. Don’t ask for the world. Most companies in the bike industry don’t have GM sized marketing budgets. Know your audience and company size.
8. Be happy with what you get. If we were a charitable organization we would be a .org not a .com. Budgets are budgets.
9. Don’t threaten to go to my competitors if you are not happy. It is a small industry, people talk! And you don’t want to be on one of our secret industry blacklists!
10. If you don’t get something this year, try again next year. All three boxes should be empty by then.
Posted by Karl Wiedemann at 1:49 PM