In this Sports Geek Throwback episode, Sean Callanan interviews Ben Clink from episode 248, who is Head of Customer and Digital at South Sydney Rabbitohs

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Key Takeaways

The discussion revolves around development of a robust process to ensure seamless integration of digital assets and campaigns in sponsorship sales. This process became the foundation of Digital to Dollars, a comprehensive framework used to drive revenue through digital efforts.

  • Redefining sponsorship sales through digital integration
  • Understanding partner objectives for successful outcomes
  • Utilizing data and analytics to drive targeted campaigns
  • Harnessing the power of digital platforms to engage the audience
  • The importance of continuous learning and adaptation in the sports industry

This transcript has been lightly edited by AI

Sean: During workshops, I always look for those “light bulb” moments. Today, there were many of them when sponsors realized they can be more digitally active than they thought. The conversation shifted towards potential sponsorship for our jersey. We understand that deals need to be done without bogging them down. However, we need to frame the digital solution as part of the deal. It's a common structure in sports to have a budget for jerseys, hospitality, and digital. We've evolved from simply selling Facebook posts and tweets to focusing on what the digital solution will actually look like. Now that sponsors have a budget, we can guide them through the possibilities and find the right solution.

Ben: The demand from partners has been increasing, and their expectations have grown. In the past, digital allowance was mostly for display and media, where we knew we could drive traffic and apply a rate card. But now, partners are looking for more customized outcomes. The businesses we work with vary in digital sophistication, but overall they are more technically savvy than before. This has raised expectations, and internally, we have adapted to meet those expectations by speaking the same language as our partners. We've attracted a new breed of partners who see the value we bring, which has accelerated our success. It's a supply and demand situation, where partners are asking for more, and we need to continually improve our delivery.

Sean: One scenario we often encounter is when a deal is done, but we need to take action. We also consider long-term goals and the involvement of sponsors who provide resources and a great website. However, during the post-mortem, we realized the need to improve our approach. We questioned whether our capabilities align with the project, if we can deliver it, and what preparations are required beforehand. This is a common situation.

Ben: The biggest issue we found is when a project doesn't align with our expertise. It's crucial for our sales team to communicate this and offer alternatives. Sometimes, articulating a better approach can be challenging for them. We need to provide them with the tools and structure to do so. Defining expectations early on is important for all projects, as having no product is a challenge. We want to empower our team to handle these situations effectively.

Sean: We don't want our sales team to simply say no. We want them to propose alternatives. We had a productive conversation about finding the right language to communicate this. We have experience in similar cases, and we need to leverage that knowledge to offer a better solution. We also need to expand the definition of success beyond just conversions, as relying solely on that metric can be difficult.

Ben: Absolutely. Achieving desired outcomes is a process. Our audience, especially passionate fans like the Rabbitohs supporters, value a strong connection with our brand. Their loyalty goes beyond mere advocacy. We need to effectively convey this to our partners. We want them to feel like they're part of the club, granting them access to exclusive experiences.

Sean: We want to welcome our partners into the club and introduce them to as many fans as possible. Success is not just about engaging existing fans, but also reaching new ones. By broadening the conversation and incorporating digital strategies, we can create a win-win situation for both our sponsors and the team.

Ben: Absolutely. We want to be more than just a logo on a jersey. We want to tell a compelling story that resonates with fans. Many partners and marketers have excelled in digital marketing, leveraging platforms like Google and Facebook. However, our core business is not solely focused on that. We want to offer a unique relationship that can't be found elsewhere. It requires investment and time to build, rather than immediate results.

Sean: The value of being associated with the Rabbitohs goes beyond numbers and metrics. We understand the power of social media and the challenges it presents for corporate marketers. Our success is rooted in passion, identity, fandom, and great content. We offer solutions to those who are struggling to achieve similar results. We aim to provide multiple wins and meet their desired objectives.

Ben: Commercialising our brand while working with a sales team aiming for success is a challenge. We strive to offer a taste of what we can provide. It's easy to get caught up in metrics and compare ourselves to others in terms of social media management. However, our ultimate goal is to connect with people and tap into their passion.

Connect with Ben Clink

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