Exposure, by Josh Connell

One of the major aspects of the Marketing Academy that attracted me is the exposure it gives you to such talented and experienced people. Even a couple of hours spent listening to someone share their thoughts and opinions is time well spent. And that’s what makes the mentoring element of the Marketing Academy so special.

My first mentoring session was with Ellen Marzell, Global Sponsorship Director of Sports Brands. Ellen has held international business development and sales roles at IMG Media, WPP/Global Sportnet, In Game Advertising Worldwide and the Perform Group and has over twenty years experience in sponsorship, marketing and media.

Since my mentoring session I’ve been contemplating all the interesting insights and learnings Ellen kindly shared with me. I loved discussing the ins and outs of sponsorship and how brands need to find the best way to communicate with their audience. I‘m now looking more critically at brand sponsorships and looking not just at who’s making great connections but who’s really creating a relationship and a conversation with their audience. I read an interesting article in the Evening Standard about a piece of Kantar research suggesting that only 20% of fans knew Carling was the backer of the League Cup. Simply securing a sponsorship deal clearly isn’t enough to create brand awareness and brand affinity with the target audience.

The one on one time with Ellen was invaluable and the opportunity to get to know Ellen will no doubt stand me in good stead. I think perhaps the greatest challenge for the year ahead is retaining all of the advice and insights I’m picking up. My sponge-ability (for want of a better phrase) is being put to the test and I can’t wait for my next mentoring session…

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