Sponsorship Resolutions

Today, around 41% of Americans will start New Year’s resolutions to improve their lives or careers. There’s no doubt I have lots of room for improvement. However, rather than focus on my eternal battle with the bathroom scale, my resolutions involve helping people improve their outcomes through the incredible marketing platform of sponsorship.

After reflecting on my 2022 experiences, here are my three resolutions to make 2023 a better sponsorship year.

Social Media

I resolve to help properties understand the contribution of social media to overall sponsorship value.

In 2013, a robust social media platform was “nice to have.” In 2023, a solid social media platform will drive sponsorship sales. A large social media audience makes a property attractive to sponsors while serving as the pipeline to deliver marketing and sponsorship messages.

While we watch collegiate athletes cash in on million-follower TikTok feeds, I’ve had too many conversations in 2022 with sponsorship properties neglecting to build their social platforms. Unfortunately, many sponsorship sellers still view their social media programs as “nice to have.”

In the coming year, we will find better ways to communicate social media platform value and coach properties on ways to build their digital audiences.

Know Your Value

I resolve to help properties better understand the value of their offerings and structure deals that work.

Over my career, sponsorship buyers have become much more adept at identifying the value of sponsorship and pricing their deals accordingly. However, in my opinion, too many sponsorship sellers still undervalue their deals. Sellers have been too eager to underprice their rights fees, agree to exclusivity when there’s no need to, or accept value-in-kind in place of cash. I sense sellers don’t have the same access to valuation models and marketing pricing data as buyers.

In 2023, we will find new ways to help sellers access information to properly value their deals and structure a fair exchange with sponsors. Sponsorship works best when sponsors and properties structure relationships that achieve solid ROI for both.

Make a Change

I resolve to help sponsors and properties change their sponsorship programs when circumstances warrant it.

Some people remain in a job they don’t like because it’s too complicated or intimidating to find a new one. For the same reasons, sponsors and properties sometimes fail to make changes to underperforming or unfairly structured arrangements.

In 2022, I heard sponsors or properties complain about unfair rights fees, anemic ROI, or restrictive terms. However, few would make a change because it was too expensive, embarrassing, or difficult to change. Unfortunately, these relationships often end badly, with the parties blaming each other for underperformance or claiming that sponsorship as a tool “doesn’t work.”

Change happens when there is a clear plan for doing something different with attractive potential outcomes. A plan could include renegotiation of the relationship, a civil end of the sponsorship, or developing new strategies and tactics to replace old, worn-out ones.

For this reason, in 2023, we will find better ways to help sponsors and properties access the tools for change when change is warranted.

Final Thoughts

New Year’s resolutions should create change for the better. Sure, I need to lose some weight. However, I resolve to focus on making sponsorship work better in 2023 … AND lose fifteen pounds.

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