By Ken Ungar
Sponsorship is a buyer’s market.
In the current economic climate, if they have budget, sponsors can choose from any number of property partners. Yet, too many properties continue to have a ready / fire / aim approach to sponsorship. It’s not that their sales technique is lacking. It’s that too many properties are not “sponsorship ready”. Is your property ready? Read on.
Just like no one should run the Boston Marathon without training, properties shouldn’t take to the sponsorship field of play without being ready. First you market, then you sell. Sponsorship readiness means answering the following questions with a resounding “YES!”.
Do you have a clear sense of your audience?
It is not enough to know your attendance number. Properties must demonstrate their audience aligns perfectly with the sponsors’ potential customers. The first step is a detailed demographic profile of the audience. Their gender, age and other unchangeable characteristics. Then, what is their psychographic profile? How do they behave and what do they believe.
The truly sponsor-ready properties can also tell their potential sponsors what brands their audience prefers, the purchases they are about to make, and their attitudes toward sponsors. Sponsors need to have a crystal-clear sense of the quality of the match between property audience and future sponsor customers.
Do you have a marketing strategy and plan?
Sponsorship is a marketing tactic that is based on the partnership between a sponsor and a property. Its success depends on both partners being able to market well.
Sponsors want to see that properties have the fundamentals nailed. This includes clearly defined strategies and plans for building an audience through advertising, social media, email marketing or public relations. The property must be able to demonstrate a strategy and plan for how it would promote its sponsors’ marketing message.
Do you have above-average marketing KPIs?
Sponsors do not care if a property has a web site or a Twitter feed. They look for properties who have the marketing heft to reach an audience with compelling messages that achieve strong marketing outcomes.
If you have a website, do you have a high number of unique visitors and strong conversion rates? If you have a Twitter feed, are your engagement rates the envy of your property category? Finally, if you have fans, are they the incredibly loyal followers who would move heaven and earth for you…. and your sponsors?
Do you have staff dedicated to sponsorship service and fulfillment?
Anyone working in sponsorship understands it’s a tough game. Successful sponsorships require great strategy, detailed planning, and excellent execution. It’s hard work.
Sponsors respond to properties that have dedicated staff to service their relationship and solve inevitable problems. Even if the property is too small to have a full-time service staff, it must, at least, specifically assign that responsibility to someone. This role also helps in keeping sponsors around for the long-term in the renewal process.
First you market, then you sell
I hope that all properties someday answer “yes” to these questions. However, it’s OK if you didn’t. The pathway to sponsorship success is demonstrating marketing prowess first. That way, when you line up at the starting line of the sponsorship sales marathon, there’s victory waiting for you at the finish.