This is largely true but let me add that it depends on what leads the organization and who is perceived to be important and how a marketing department is perceived.
In FMCGs and Telcos, the marketing team is not perceived as a cost center. The head of Marketing is more powerful and seen as a driver of business. His activities drive sales. In fact, in some FMCGs brand managers have sales targets. They work closely with their sales reps to get insights from outlets and jointly plan activations to create awareness and boost sales, the sales and brands manager typically speak the same language and you can easily draw a straight line between a marketing campaign and a spike in sales. In such companies like Coca-cola, Guinness, etc you can even plan a promotional campaign and see results immediately. The career path for a brand and marketing person can go as far as CEO. These types of organizations are marketing-driven
Financial Services on the other hand is different. In banks, people often confuse the sales team and the marketing team. They are as different as night and day. Financial Services is more Knowledge and Operations driven. Even the sales team does not have as much influence as the operations and probably investment advisory teams. And because the customer buying decision pattern for financial services is different from that of FMCGs, it is very difficult to draw a straight line between marketing activity and sales and increased profitability. Hence in this sector, the marketing team is seen as a cost center. It also doesn’t help that many of the professionals in this team do not have finance backgrounds and hence do not speak the language of the business.
It will take a lot to get a typical MD that has an accounting background to appreciate branding and how it relates to business growth and profitability. This is because he thinks in naira and kobo. Profit and loss. Assets and Liabilities. An accountant has an Analysts brain. They don’t deal in intangibles.
You might be able to convince some of the bank MDs to come on board because of your personal brand and network and because you have a track record If you doubt me, stylishly ask them to explain how they feel that your event will grow their bottom line.
Ideally, when a typical finance background MD sees a proposal, they send it to the sponsorship team to advise. Advise means that they want you to justify the spending. Many do not want intangibles. They no longer want to hear increased Awareness, brand loyalty, etc because these are not metrics that can be captured in a financial report
At best you come with a positive Brand Health Tracker report.. but if the bottom line of the business doesn’t grow along with the brand growth, you that presented that report will start to look like a circus clown
Show me a financial institution where a Head of Marketing can grow to be CEO.
It is only in recent times that we have seen the Heads of these roles grow beyond senior Managers to be AGMs. I think Stanbic IBTC and Access Bank are the first few that have done that.
So like Edgar said, if you are looking for sponsorship from a brand that is not marketing-driven or retail. Just get the CEO or chairman of the board. From experience, I can tell you that the marketing team can create justification for just about anything if the buy-in is already there
But if the buy-in is not already there and your request comes from the marketing head – then the MD or ED will ask how the activity can increase profitability. He will expect the Marketing Head to explain in empirical terms, and if they are not able to sign a blood oath that it will, then it falls flat on its face. Many heads of Marketing know this and are not willing to go on that ride. The nice ones will ask you to get it to come from the top so that they can provide justification.
So the dynamics of the organization matter. My experience in Samsung (Marketing driven) was totally different from my experience at Stanbic IBTC (Knowledge and Operations driven)
This is not to say that there are no sponsorship requests that go through the right channel. There are. It has to do with alignment with the brand and also timing. In my time at the sponsorship desk at the bank, I received more than 50 proposals on average per day. Sometimes I’d receive more than 300 emails in a day.
So you can see how it can be difficult to present all. You want to push only the ones that you can easily justify. Sometimes you don’t want to push anything especially when you see that the organization is struggling with growth.