Addendum to the Sponsorship Article
The Newsletter team got a response back from Bill Ames of Make it Meaty. Bill has been a long-time supporter of MABA and sponsor of teams for some time. We appreciate him taking time out of the busy holiday season to respond. The newsletter staff wanted to make sure we got his take on sponsorships in the world of competition BBQ.
While first and foremost Bill has a product to sell. Anyone that knows Bill Ames knows his passion is just as much about educating cooks on how to properly use his products. BBQ sponsorships and relationships with teams are a means to this end…..and winning with his products never hurts either.
Some takeaways from his response to our request were:
- “Use common sense.” Spread the word about the product that is supporting you. MiM is a one man company. So when they take on a team to sponsor it comes straight out of Bill’s pocket. Support the brand and don’t be afraid to ask questions about the product to more effectively use it in your program. As mentioned in the original newsletter column, a common theme among sponsors is the need for good communication with the teams that they support. The sponsor and the team benefit from good results and good communication.
- Don’t send “form letters” to potential sponsors asking for support. This is especially true if you do not have a history of using the product. Build a relationship with the product and the product vendor, then go from there. I know that almost every BBQ class out there (including my own and every class I have taken) has a time when we talk about BBQ sponsorships. I encourage relationship building vs. the scatter gun method in my class. Not every product is good for your program simply because they want to sponsor you and the flip side is also true. Just because you may be a successful BBQ team, it does not mean that the product vendors will be knocking down your door to give you free product.
- Have some skills. “I am not looking for people who can’t cook. I sell ingredients, not unicorn fairy dust.” Probably the most critical statement in the entire reply from Bill. But it is a very true statement. There is no ingredient that is going to take someone who has no cooking or BBQ skills and turn them into the KCBS Team of the Year. I know that sponsors look at sponsored team’s results for intel for how to improve or add to their product line. Sponsors will also occasionally jump in and offer advice to teams that may be struggling with their product. The sponsored team has to bring some skills to the table.
- Sometimes relationships with sponsors come to a close. Bill says, “I think the most important thing I expect from my sponsored teams is enough respect that, before they jump ship to one of my competitors, they have the common courtesy to discuss it with me, first.” It really goes back to response #1. Communication between the sponsor and team should be the first and foremost priority in a sponsor/team relationship.
Bill Ames, thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts with the MABA membership! Best to you and Make it Meaty in 2018!