By Ken Ungar
Ask a real estate broker to identify the three most important factors in real estate: “location, location, location.” For the sponsorship practitioner, the three most important elements would be “audience, audience, audience.”
The reason is simple. When the property and brand share the same target audience (“shared target audience”), the likelihood increases that the audience finds the sponsor’s marketing message relevant and engaging. For example, you will not find Baby Boomer brands at EDM Festivals because the shared target audience is incredibly small or non-existent. A Gen Z brand? All day long. A shared target audience reflects a “fit’ between the partners.
Knowing your audience is the first step to sponsorship success for properties. To define the property audience, I advise our clients to break this issue down into two parts: the audience and the target.
Prospective sponsors want to understand everything about a property’s audience:
- Demographics: Their age, gender, race, place of residence and other descriptions that do not change or rarely change.
- Psychographics: Their attitudes and aspirations, including interests, hobbies, and lifestyles.
- Consumption Habits: Their interest in buying certain products and services over a certain period of time.
- Life Events: Their connection to certain life stages including marriage, birth, or retirement.
Frankly, audience definitions can include any other non-confidential data that makes a property’s audience interesting to a sponsor.
With the exception of foods like fruits and vegetables, few products are all things to all people. Most companies selling goods and services have a well-defined sense of their target market. For example, one company, selling energy bars, describes its customers this way: Socially conscious people between the ages of 22 and 45, with a household income of + $150,000, a college degree and most have never been married. To clarify, this company knows its target.
In sponsorship, the tighter the target match between sponsor and property, the more successful the relationship. Marketing messages resonate; brand images are enhanced; and sponsor products get sold.
Too often, I see property sponsorship presentations with no audience description at all. Yikes! With no description, these properties have no chance of demonstrating a shared target audience with the energy bar company. Last week, I observed an esports team presentation where the team described their audience as players of a certain video game, ages 12 to 64. The video game is played by 50 million people in more than 190 countries. Again, the energy bar company would be crazy to align with this esports team, as the energy bar customer is a tiny sliver of the enormous and amorphous audience the esports team claims. In fact, few sponsors sell to an audience as diverse as ages 12 to 64.
For most properties looking for sponsorship success, the pathway to audience identification starts with a survey. Surveys can be fielded by sponsorship agencies, market research firms, university groups or by the property itself. Do-it-yourself surveys have never been easier to field, although there is art and science behind the questions. Platforms like Survey Monkey have sample survey templates to help start a proper audience survey. Further more, with a current email marketing list, the property would be well on its way to full audience awareness.
In short, just as real estate brokers understand the importance of location, sponsorship practitioners know that audience is the key to sponsorship success. Identifying the audience, the target and the alignment with sponsors will yield powerful sponsorships and valuable partners.