An Eventful Way To Market Your Clients
Guest Contribution by Mandi Frishman, who works in the field of Meeting and Event Planning for (an undisclosed) major corporation:
The search for new ways to differentiate your client can take a lot of time and energy away from pursuing other, more fruitful goals. There are certain tried and true strategies that work- the challenge is carrying them out in a way that is geared towards maximizing your client’s potential and expanding their realm of influence. An event planner is an incredible asset to sports agents and their knowledge and experience in dealing with appearance, aesthetics and entertainment can prove invaluable to you.
There are many different goals in marketing through an event. Some might seek to use it as a way to get the athlete recognized by mainstream media, while others attempt to utilize the networking and image building potentials. The end goal would dictate the type of event and the event planner would take your insider knowledge and use it to advance your goals.
Large events can be a major draw for the press. An event planner can create a situation where just by the sheer magnitude and intricacy of an event, the press show up. When looking to market through an event, size isn’t the most important factor. Smaller, more intimate events can have as much of an impact if planned properly. If the event is created with certain potential attendees in mind (for example, managerial proponents of a team that you’d like to have meet your client) and the marketing of the actual event is handled properly, the athlete could find himself hosting his potential bosses and teammates. The event planner could initiate a “toast to the host” and reiterate the importance of your client to the entire event. Sometimes the smallest things can have the biggest impact – a good planner knows this and lives by it. Sports agents should keep it in mind as well. The personal side of business should not be neglected and an event is an easy way to make a big impression.
In the case of a philanthropic event, the client can gain the support of potentially influential people just by lending their name and time to a cause. Let’s face it, charity events are many time an excuse for the wealthy to shmooze, see and be seen. Rich people tend to have influence and know other rich, influential people. If good relationships are forged between the athlete and benefactors, the natural process of networking will bring forth new career opportunities. Along with the advancement of your client’s career would come the advancement of the benefactor’s cause. It’s a symbiotic relationship and the agent should be sure to inform the client of the importance of presenting themselves well at such events.
These events are more about marketing the person– and many times, the person behind the uniform is what differentiates them and makes them desirable for marketing campaigns and nationally broadcast interviews. These events are also a very good way to get the athlete’s name in the paper. Enough good press and good will from the community where the athlete plays can potentially be used as leverage when renegotiating contracts. No fan wants to lose “their” player – and fans are the source of the income. This is a lesson that I, along with all South Floridians, taught the Florida Marlins after they traded away “our” team in 1997.
As an agent you need to be aware of your client’s strengths and weaknesses and be able to articulate them to others. A skilled event planner can take this information and help you to create an environment in which the entire event is focused on making the athlete shine. Knowing your target audience and creating an event that would appeal to them would be the first step. The planner would then be able to integrate ways for the athlete to display their talents and impress the attendees. If you were targeting children and pre-teens, something as simple as a basketball player hushing the crowd, having the lights dimmed to create apprehension and then throwing a crushed can into a strategically placed trash can would create delight and awe. An event planner can not only help you come up with ideas but can integrate them into the program so seamlessly that no one present would know that they were sitting in the middle of a marketing campaign. How many people would be conscious of the lights dimming and realize the impact that it has on their perception of the event? A good event planner can make the ordinary extraordinary- when applied to an athlete this difference in perception can mean millions of dollars in contracts. Ideally, a person should be able to walk into the event knowing little to nothing about your client and end up leaving as a fan.
Event planners are trained to make memorable moments. Integrating your client into those personal memories is priceless. Start making friends with the kids in the hospitality school. They may end up being one of your biggest assets as you continue on your path to a career as sports agent.