Looking at all the wrapped boats at a tournament one starts to wonder how to get a sponsor of their own. Sure, you can start by looking in your tackle box and start blindly contacting the manufacturers of your favorite products. But, this will only get you so far. It’s time to think outside the boat.
When it comes to marketing Steve Kuchenberg knows a thing or two. As an associate director of global strategic marketing for a life science company he does it every day. So to find a title sponsor he decided to look at colleagues that he already had a professional relationship with and who he knew shared his passion for the outdoors.
The perfect fit came with Cherney Microbiological Services, Ltd. Having worked with them as he was cutting his teeth in the life science industry he eventually developed a friendship with the owners. This lead to many bird hunting and fishing trips and now a title sponsorship. The key to this was developing and nurturing a relationship with his customer. “Taking the time to learn about the customer and their needs meant developing a personal and professional relationship with them, “Said Kuchenberg. “It’s not just about what they can do for me, but what I can do for them, and their ROI.”
Kuchenberg provides quarterly updates to each of his sponsors which include metrics on things like Facebook posts, press releases, trade show appearances, impressions from mobile advertising and the impact on their business. Remember you are not asking for a handout you are selling yourself and your skills to improve these companies’ marketing reach.
So if you are in the hunt for sponsors take an inventory of the people in your personal and professional life. That’s step one. Step two, think about what you can do for them and provide them with concrete, achievable examples of how you can benefit them. Once you find success you can add their name(s) to your jersey or wrap. Step three is to prove they made a wise investment in you by delivering on the promise you made to them.
It’s not an easy road to make fishing a full-time career but if you ever want to have a chance you have to start by treating fishing like more than a passion. Being a great angler certainly helps and when you combine that with a professional approach your chances of success are sure to increase. Kuchenberg also strongly believes in being a member of professional organizations like the NPAA to help develop his skills and grow the sport of fishing.