A sponsorship manager is responsible for the initiation and development of the partnership between a corporation and an outside marketing asset. This person can be engaged as an employee of the corporation or as an employee of the asset. The asset provides the sponsorship opportunity, which can be any viable pairing of the corporation’s name with the asset’s marketable collateral, such as a special event, an athlete’s fame, or a university building.
The sponsorship manager is one of a team of marketing professionals that handle outside collaborations around special opportunities. Employed on both sides of the relationship, the manager handles the day-to-day progress of the partnership, including communications, negotiations, proposals, problem-solving, project design, and implementation. This position tends toward the entry level side of the marketing position spectrum, and is ordinarily assigned accounts with low to medium level exposure.
Potential sponsorship arrangements begin with a pitch, typically made by the asset to the corporation. In some contexts, this could be a sponsorship proposal package sent out by event organizers or an endorsement profile presented by agents of a famous person. Whether the sponsorship manager works for the corporation or the asset, he is in charge of the process and the initial development of the relationship. On the corporation end he drives the selection of opportunities, while on the asset side he would shepherd the application through channels.
Once the relationship is established, the sponsorship manager handles the contract negotiations for new sponsorships and contract renewals of sponsorships with existing partners. His ongoing responsibility is strategic relationship management. From a marketing perspective, this means having an individual plan for maximizing returns from each partnership and adding value to the equation whenever possible. On the asset side, this might entail trying to sell the corporation on a more substantial investment over time, while on the corporation side this might mean looking for opportunities to further promote the partnership beyond what was originally envisioned.
The sponsorship manager is also responsible for evaluating the efficacy of the investment. He is instrumental in defining the goals and objectives of the partnership. It is his job to establish milestones and benchmarks to determine when and if key goals and objectives are reached. He has to implement a system to track progress towards goals and make a report and final recommendation regarding whether the partnership was worth the investment. Ultimately, the manager’s recommendation is important in determining whether the sponsorship is renewed year after year.