The follow is a direct quote from a good friend of ours as well as racing partner/sponsor Brian Ma - BMSPEC.
"Received a serious email this morning which I feel deserves a serious response. Good companies need to stand up for the value of a good partnership and, IMO, educate those who have been taught wrong in order to stop breaking this very valuable system.
My name is _____ and I am contacting you about a small partnership . I'm a high school student from the city of _____ and I would love to help this company grow in my town and near by areas . I attend many meets , and I have a decent social media following . I daily drive my mazdaspeed 3 with minor bolt on's . I'm currently running a corksport _____, corksport _____ , _____ , corksport _____, and a corksport _____. I have also installed coilovers and _____ wheels . I want to help advertise this fantastic company in my community and I hope you guys can help. If you have gotten this far I do appreciate your time and anything helps, I hope to hear back !
Dear bmspec* I do apologize
You already know you made a mistake, but let me offer my perspective on how these things work.
1) Partnership is about exchanging value between yourself and a company. The first question you ask yourself before emailing out a proposal is "what can I do that they can't?" You have to offer something that the company itself is in need of, or could additionally profit from, and can't get without your help.
2) Bolt-on modifications, by definition the company already sold to you... and possibly hundreds of others. That doesn't fulfill condition #1 in the least. You already bought their parts, why start giving you free stuff if you'll just continue buying?
3) Advertising, unfortunately, is not special anymore. Social media makes advertising free, so long as the product itself has innate value. There is no need to pay anyone in parts anymore to "get the word out" because once you demonstrate the appeal and value of a product, the attention generates itself. That my customers willingly pay for my product AND they'll tag BMSPEC and push it at meets and shows, tells me that I've made something of value, I don't need to give it up for free. If a company needs help via your social media numbers, that means the product has no demonstrated value, and that means they just want to push garbage down as many throats as possible.
4) Real followers are acquired by what you do, whether you provide entertainment, sex appeal, education, social cause, innovation, etc. to society. A good partnership with a good company taps into what you do, because that's the long-term value an individual can offer to help a company grow. I can buy 100k followers for the price of sending you a free part, both of which approaches might get me 5 sales. If you track-test parts, collect downforce numbers, set lap records, win shows, or otherwise demonstrate the value of the product for me, I'll sell hundreds more, grow brand value and have an audience set up for my next product release -- how many or few followers you have is irrelevant.
5) Knowing this, it is actually an insult to me to suggest that your advertising potential is more important than what you can do to help me make better products. There are shit companies out there who don't care, but you've emailed Corksport and BMSPEC, two companies who really, really care because our pride and survival depends on it.
6) Please exercise greater care in your college applications, UCSD does not appreciate receiving mail addressed to UCLA.
Just FYI, I will be posting this to my Facebook. It's unprofessional, but I don't intend to roast you (I will anonymize your details), just really need to do some education. You've been taught wrong by the example of too many bad companies and I feel the rest of us have a duty to speak up about it.