What does Peter Raymond at ESA do?
Having spent over 30 years in marketing, been a director of two agencies and Head of Global Sponsorship at Orange for 8 years, my career path changed slightly when I set up my own small consultancy and found myself wanting to use my experience to put something back into the industry. I suggested to the European Sponsorship Association that our industry badly needed a training qualification and so the ESA Diploma was born. I am now the Course Director with responsibility to deliver the course which, after 8 years in existence and having qualified nearly 450 people, has become almost a mandatory requirement for those wishing to practice in sponsorship and partnership marketing.
What route did you take to this role, i.e. what did you study in college, experience on the way?
I have a BA Hons in Business Studies and was lucky enough to be sponsored on my degree course by Cadbury Schweppes who gave me a role as a brand manager when I left college. This propelled me into the world of classical marketing which I’ve always loved. Although my first love has always been sport, so after a year away travelling, I hunted down a job in ‘sports marketing’ which, in those days, didn’t really exist. So, I’ve been involved in the industry since its inception. I’ve been lucky enough to have worked on some incredibly influential and exciting people and projects (in sport, the arts and entertainment) and benefitted greatly by deciding to join a sales promotions agency which gave me a brilliant grounding in how consumers are motivated. This gave me a unique insight into how sponsorship can be activated and I credit this period of my life as enabling me to create, negotiate and implement ‘Orange Wednesdays’. Working for a large telecoms brand with deep pockets gave me an enormously privileged opportunity to develop my strategic skills and it was enormously challenging and rewarding to develop an art-based sponsorship portfolio. All of this experience gave me the acumen to run my own consultancy, during which time I developed sponsorship strategies and partnership-based campaigns for a number of leading brands. All of this experience enabled the building of a course suitable to train and educate people in the world of sponsorship and sports marketing.
How important do you think continued upskilling and continuous professional development is to marketing?
Beyond essential. Sponsorship has become a specialism and so needs specific training. Also learning best practice techniques is vital for an industry that, in many ways, is still evolving. The Diploma offers its students the opportunity to see the 360° world of contemporary sponsorship which many aren’t able to grasp until they are quite advanced in their careers. I also see our course as being a vital piece of training for people across the whole marketing spectrum. Sponsorship now crosses over into all areas of the promotional marketing mix and, so, is a vital and often highly-influential artery of an integrated campaign. In marketing knowledge is power, so training is imperative for people who wish to fast-track their careers.
What do you consider as the key criteria for training to be effective?
As well as inspirational learning materials any training programme needs elements to motivate its students and keep them focussed and engaged. The Diploma not only has compelling Study Notes, it also has a monthly seminar programme with presentations from experienced and charismatic speakers. Also vital is our assessment programme which requires the students to demonstrate their acquired knowledge via an assignment programme and a long-term project which is a real-life marketing challenge which we develop with a brand or a rights holder. We also believe that providing a proactive level of personal interaction is vital to engaging students, to this end we always try to be accessible as tutors and mentors
What do you believe are the challenges facing marketers today?
Marketing has never been as fast-moving or as rapidly-changing. Keeping up and being at the forefront of social change is an ongoing conundrum. Also, in sponsorship, being able to justify spend is an ever-evolving and progressive challenge. Being able to demonstrate credible return on investment is increasingly vital. On the broader front media channels are being challenged as never before because of the sheer number of channels that now facilitate communication. This is placing many traditional marketing disciplines under pressure to deliver more precise targeted solutions. Our world is generally more challenging (and exciting) than ever.
And finally to whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?
I base my assessments for inspiration purely on people I know and have worked with. So, I admire a handful of people who head up and run a small number of agencies who are passionate and inspirational. I also greatly admire creativity and love nothing more than discovering brilliant work which stands out from the crowd. I also admire people who have taken the time to write books about sponsorship which, needless to say, are highly credited by being on the reading list for the Diploma!
Peter Raymond is the course director and founder of ESA Diploma in Sponsorship and Sports Marketing. Learn more about European Sponsorship Association (ESA) and their Irish Diploma in Sponsorship and Sports Marketing here.