The Most Important Skill Many Sponsorship Professionals Often Overlook

Get Back to Basics: Becoming a Fan

The whole sponsorship process often requires complex, thorough and very specific skills in order to make it a success. Along with it, there are several moving parts that need to align to ensure that there are no details left out. Since there are various parties involved in the planning and execution, there is one skill that many sponsorship professionals often tend to forget — being a fan.

It is important to note that fans are crucial to the success of the sponsorship because they are the actual attendees at the events. Ultimately, they are the market and could potentially become sales leads in the process. Many event sponsors and organizes usually forget to put themselves in the shoes of the attendees that they only focus on their own business goals. It is important to note though that knowing who are the fans and the fan base is different from knowing and valuing what a fan experience is all about.

Forgetting what it’s like to be a fan seemed a common thing in the sponsorship industry. When sponsors go out on events, the focus is not much given to the event itself but its perks like being sheltered to some private hospitality suite or getting VIP treatment. And that is one of the industry’s greatest problems which can contribute to its failings.

Having a better understanding as to how fans behave during the events will give the sponsors and organizers better ideas as to how to best engage with them. Their overall experience during the event will dictate their impression and notion of the brand and its sponsors. That is why embracing the fan experience is a very important skill that people involved sponsorship need to learn and embrace. It’s like having first-hand knowledge of what your market is thinking and on what your potential sales leads will resonate to.

As what Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” Best practice sponsorship professionals know that the most important factor to any sponsorship deal is fans and that sponsor’s starting point is “interloper”. They very well know that curtailing fans rights, their passion and fan experience are counterproductive to both sponsors and sponsee. They also know that in able to achieve the sponsor objectives, one prerequisite is to understand, respect and add value to the fan experience, because no amount of research about fan experience can beat being a fan or experiencing the actual events as as fan themselves.

What Are the First Steps to Becoming a Fan?

The state of fan-nesia means forgetting about being a fan. Curing fan-nesia is simple and easy. For starters, going out with your family and or friends during events would be a great step. Discard champagne receptions and instead take your kids to a museum on a weekend morning to experience local events. Hang out with the normal ‘fans’ or attendees which not often done during sponsor function. To be able to experience what the rest of the population do, ride public transportation; buy your own drink and so many other simple activities that a normal ‘fan’ experiences. By being a fan, you need to pay more attention to what you’re there to see, experience and enjoy.

By allowing yourself to experience what a real fan is, you will be able to tailor the experience as to what most fans expect and implement them in your sponsorship best practices:

  • You’ll be able to get the best idea of what event fans love, because they offer meaningful and added value to the fan experience.
  • You’ll be able to adjust things that are overbearing or disrespectful to the experience.
  • You’ll be able to know what fans are ignoring.
  • You’ll be able to know to leverage the best parts of the fan experience in doing sponsorships.
  • You’ll be able to leverage the knowledge by pinpointing the worst parts of the fan experience
  • You’ll know what should be avoided during sponsorships that disrespect the fans or what might make them feel treated like commodities.


There’s no contest that there are many skills needed to to have successful events and sponsorships. It’s more than just selling tickets and closing deals. With these in mind, every sponsorship professional and organizer should not only master the skill of selling, but most importantly – fully understand the craft of the business and knowing what truly matters for the fans and tailoring the experience accordingly.