What is defining the future of the industry?

2012trackWho are the thought leaders?

The UK is back in a recession. The London 2012 Olympics has been promised to largely benefit the country, playing a crucial role in helping to ease the country’s current financial situation. However, we’re now witnessing a growing scepticism over the extent of these economic benefits, with Moody’s report this week stating that the Olympics is “unlikely to provide a substantial boost to the UK economy”.
With the current financial climate a much debated topic at the moment, it’s been suggested that sport is a niche market that can still perform through these challenging global economic times. The agency sector, frequently positioned in the frontline of the industry, is often recognised as a good barometer for the overall health of the sports market.
GlobalSportsJobs has asked the CEOs from three of the leading sports marketing agencies  -  Octagon, Threshold Sports and Momentum, about what role they think agencies are currently playing in the development of industry and what are the current 'thought leaders' anticipating as they drive the industry forwards post London 2012.
The role of agencies
GlobalSportsJobs: What role do you think agencies are playing in the development of the sports marketing industry?
Glen Lovett (Octagon): Agencies are playing a critical role because we are continuing to hire the best talent. We are continually getting pressured to deliver the best value and results. Every brand is looking at all forms of their marketing spend and pushing for a greater return on their investments. So our challenge is to continually deliver great value, particularly leveraging international best practice. So we work for the best brands all around the world across all sorts of different sports platforms. We work to engage and connect brands to fan passion.
Julian Mack (Threshold): It’s the best of times and the worst of times for our industry – agencies have always filled the gap between sponsors and rights holders and they have played a key role in making sports marketing more creative, innovative, digital but they are becoming ‘all service’ without the necessary skills – this makes a competitive market even more complicated.  Stick to what your good at to paraphrase a McKinsey mantra.
Simon White (Momentum): Agencies are not playing a significant role in the development of the industry, and it’s something that has to change. There are a number of factors as to why, but overall agencies are simply utilising their time looking inwards to their own business and are not looking outwards to the general landscape of the sports marketing industry. The frustration lies in that agencies are the bodies that are most capable people of evolving the industry. They are uniquely positioned with a perspective of both the client and the rights holder’s side and therefore have the opportunity and potential to evoke change.
The future
GlobalSportsJobs: What does the future hold for the agency?
GL: People are getting smarter about how they spend their money, for example what they invest in their properties and what aspects are within their properties- they have to leverage them. There is a real focus on ROI and ROO. Everyone is getting smarter in order to deliver value and this is something that will be projected into the future.
JM: I’m not sure if this is a new learning but a sponsorship or partnership (to use the trendy word) is only as good as the agreed marketing objective.  Dear CEOs please be clear about the objective!  Also, global rights holders of big sports need independent regulation to avoid the problems we are seeing with the likes of FIFA.
SW: Thought leadership and action leadership will subsequently distinguish the excellent from the average agency in the future.  One characteristic of a successful agency will be the ability to maintain a spirit of independence and to not remain tied to one sector, one rights-holder or one part of the sports marketing world. It’s these agencies who can afford to challenge convention. Success will also be found in those dissatisfied with the current status quo and who will challenge those around them to create new deals, models, structures, ways of activating and ways of evaluating.

Find out more
Momentum UK - A fully integrated marketing communications agency: www.momentumww.co.uk
Octagon - A sports, music and entertainment company specialising in marketing, personal representation and rights representation: www.octagon-uk.com
Threshold Sports - A sports events and consultancy agency: www.thresholdsports.co.uk

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