For the most part, job titles and their related tasks and responsibilities are the same as those at a property. The progression goes as follows:
Vice President of Consulting
The principle difference between jobs at the two types of organizations is the vantage point. As an agency professional, you work on behalf of your client(s). While invested in the client, you are still able to maintain a third party perspective, which is a critical benefit. Corporations and properties seek out representation from agencies to leverage their objective expertise on the current sponsorship landscape and the direction of the client’s brand.
Some other principle differences are as follows:
Travel – Agency professionals often travel more than those at a property because of the increased number of stakeholders. As a middle party, an agency has to liaise between the client, potential sponsor, and all the middlemen in between. This leads to many meetings, which may require frequent travel, both domestically and internationally.
Variety – At a property, a sponsorship sales professional has only one sport or event to sell. In other words, an employee at the Phoenix Suns sells access to basketball fans and thus must be an expert on the local market, fan demographics, and consumer preferences. At an agency, on the other hand, a professional must have access to information on a variety of sports and their respective fan bases. Any given agency might have clients who are involved in motorsports, the Olympics, Major League Baseball, running events, etc. Clearly, the breadth of knowledge and expertise required is vast.
Resources – Because of the aforementioned variety in sponsorship involvement, an agency must have access to incredible resources to serve their clients. Most full-service marketing agencies are able to take advantage of their assets in event management, sponsorship activation, hospitality management, and other elements previously discussed to provide the best possible sponsorship program to their clients.
Jobs at marketing agencies are among the most competitive in the industry. Virtually all account coordinators, account executives, etc. get their start as interns. Agencies are notorious for not paying their interns, but are equally notorious for hiring successful ones when the timing is right. Because of the high number of qualified candidates, pay at entry levels tends to be quite low. Roughly commensurate with property salaries, account coordinators can expect to make $18,000 – $40,000 Account executives, with 2-5 years experience in a coordinator role or similar capacity, make $27,000 – $55,000. Once at the manager/director level, increased responsibility, accountability for revenue generation, project management, negotiating expectations, and established expertise, lead to a higher pay range. These professionals make between $50,000 and $150,000, depending on the agency’s size and profitability. Account directors must have 6 to 10 years of work experience, with at least 4 years in a significant management capacity. Finally, at the helm of the division, the vice president can expect to make $150,000 to $250,000 on average.