What is a sponsorship consultant

What is a Sponsorship Consultant?

Did you know that sponsorship is a massive $78 billion industry that any person or organization can access? Sponsorship is a powerful marketing tool whether you’re a small non-profit or a large international corporation.

Sponsorship, like other marketing niches, can be complicated and confusing. That’s why sponsorship consultants have become increasingly popular over the past decade to help navigate this complexity.

Can A Sponsorship Consultant Help Me?

Sponsorship consultants help the buyers (“brands” or “sponsors”) and sellers (“properties” or “rights holders”) of sponsorship. Sometimes they share the same problem. For instance, buyers and sellers want to know the “right price” for a sponsorship. Other times, their focus can be quite different.

A buyer may need help with the following:

  • What are the best sponsorship opportunities to solve my marketing challenges? A consultant would identify the properties best fitting for the buyer’s goals.
  • Are my sponsorships performing well? A consultant would lead an evaluation study of the sponsorship and make specific recommendations.
  • How do I measure success? A consultant would identify metrics (KPIs) relevant to the buyer’s marketing objectives.

A seller may need help with the following:

  • Where do I start? A consultant may have a course or coaching series for new sellers, like the Sponsorship Success Method.
  • Where can I find sponsors? A consultant would help the seller create a specific prospecting strategy.
  • What assets can I offer a sponsor? A consultant would recommend specific sponsorship categories, levels, and packages.

What do you look for when hiring a consultant?

Sponsorship consultants need to be a jack of all trades. They usually have the following experience sets:

  • Knowledge and experience in both sponsorship buying and sales processes
  • Strong business strategy skills since they need to blend their recommendations with the client’s existing business strategy
  • Working knowledge of significant marketing disciplines, including advertising, social, experiential, digital, and market research
  • Increasingly, experience in analytics as sponsorship measurement grows in prominence and complexity

Is the time right to hire one?

We have fielded inquiries from many sponsors and properties. The common theme of those needing a consultant’s help is that they know their program is as good as possible and want to know how to improve it. All clients are cost-sensitive, but they understand that the consultant’s fee is a fraction of the potential value of a high-functioning sponsorship program.

A few categories of organizations may not have use for a full-blown consulting relationship.

Startup Companies

We disagree with the articles claiming to push strategies for startups to find sponsorship. They’re just blowing smoke. Sponsors crave a sure thing. Startups don’t have a track record and the defined audience necessary to attract sponsors. Unless the startup wants to invest in the future potential of a long-term sponsorship program, there is not much that a consultant can do for a startup.

One-Time Events

We have heard from parents with kids on youth sports teams or volunteers from annual local festivals. It’s hard to justify the investment in a full-blown sponsorship consultant. Instead, we recommend a nuts and bolts course like the Sponsorship Success Method or excellent books on sponsorship selling like The Sponsorship Seeker’s Toolkit.

Final Thoughts

It is common for clients to research the background and process of consultants before deciding to hire them. Ultimately, it is up to the client to determine if the timing is appropriate for hiring a consultant.

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