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Birds of a Feather Flock Together - The Power of Your Target Audience

by Emily Taylor
29 09 2009

We like those who like what we like.  Whew – there’s a mouthful!  Why?  Because it’s easier.  In fact, generally speaking, really good marriages are truly really good marriages because those priorities that are most important to one person are also important to the other.  The likelihood of a couple living happily ever after hangs on this truth.  Why?  Because if you have vested interest in something and it captures big portions of your heart, your thoughts and your time, you have a desire for your partner to relate and share that with you; it helps you grow, and it makes the relationship so much more enjoyable!

The same is true for sponsorship partners.  There are some combinations that to be frank, just aren’t going to work, because this relationship is a give-take, and it’s based on a foundational parallel interest – the Target Audience.  Target audience information includes gender, household income, age, household structure, etc.  I would argue that you can have excellent surrounding offerings; activation can be fantastic, the fulfillment reporting can be top notch and deeply insightful, the media coverage and scope of the exposure you offer could be out of this world, but if the target audience isn’t aligned, the rest is moot.

Take note of this carefully: target audience is information you MUST have clear, quantitative information about in your initial proposal.  There are some things that are tough to assign a number to, they’re intangible – this is not one of them (obviously if you’re a first time event you don’t have a history to strengthen  your projections, but you still know who you’re marketing to – make an educated estimate when you communicate numbers).  With a strained economy, the truth is that sponsors are under strict, judgmental scrutiny from their consumers as to how they are spending their money.  Consumer awareness for how companies are spending their money is so much more significant than ever before.  While all of you who are active in sponsorship know that it’s a marketing method, a business development method, and not a luxury; the consumer doesn’t process it that way when they see a corporate sponsor offering partners or key players in business VIP tickets to a golf tournament.  How can you help your sponsor survive the scrutiny of their critics?  Offer them real, tangible evidence that their investment in you will without a doubt allow them to connect with their target market as a relevant marketing effort.  Your target audience must bet the same as the audience they want to get in front of.

Tell me your thoughts?  Do you agree?  If you have been part of a partnership like this we want to hear about it - tell us your successes.


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Categories:   Elements of a Proposal
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Some Advice from Mom- Stop it... or your face will stay that way!

by Stephanie Lochmiller
22 09 2009

Growing up, I swore up and down I would never become my mother.  Ever.  Well, as we age we start to realize maybe our mom’s weren’t so full of nonsense. Now, I’m not here to tell you that your face will get stuck if you keep doing that, or that you’ll go blind if you sit too close to the TV, but I am here to encourage you to be patient.  I believe my mother used to sing a song…. “Have patience, have patience, don’t be in such a hurry.  When you get impatient you only start to worry”.  I’ll stop there, I have a terrible singing voice.

I enjoy working with sponsorship opportunities.  Maybe it's my development background, or maybe it's because I love seeing people get excited about their proposal and their upcoming events.  However, I often find myself encouraging properties to be patient. Sponsorship is a process and it takes time to make a connection.  For starters, many companies have already allotted their annual marketing dollars to other opportunities, and are now under contract with them.  If you have an annual event, shoot for getting your next event sponsored rather than the event you're holding this year. Sponsors need to be certain that their marketing objectives align with what you have to offer them.  Does your event take place at such a time that is conducive to their schedule and budget planning?  There are any number of factors to keep in mind when you are pitching a sponsorship proposal.  Also consider that you’re asking a company to spend thousands of dollars on your event.  Call me frugal, but when I’m considering spending a few thousand dollars on anything, I don’t do it on a whim.  Plan on allowing 4-6 months minnimum for the initial stages of connecting with appropriate sponsors.  These things don't happen overnight and you will find yourself discouraged if you assume any differently.  In the mean time, check out this blog from IEG offering tips to getting sponsored in a tough economy.

So what can you do to speed up the process and find a sponsor?  If your event is annual (and you're listing your proposal on SponsorPark) keep it listed year round.  Take a look at your proposal, is it complete?  Or did you leave your "location and dates" blank?  Sponsors see hundreds of proposals, so if one isn’t complete chances are it makes it’s way into the shred bin.  Sponsors need to know your time frames in order to determine if the partnership is well timed for their own marketing purposes - and to ensure they have the necessary funds in the budget.  Make sure you have a clear idea of what your potential sponsor is looking for and then make sure you can communicate with them.

And as much as we don't want to consider that a sponsor just isn't for us, sometimes you have to face fact's and realize when a sponsor just isn't into you.  Sponsorship is sales, and sometimes you have to realize that not everyone wants to buy what you're selling.  You'd be better off thanking that sponsor for their time, and moving on to something more promising. 

Do your part, make sure you cross your “t’s” and dot your “i’s” and then take some advice from mom and just be patient... and eat your veggies.  Or I’m going to have to start singing again, and you don’t want that.


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Be a Good Storyteller; Cast Your Vision

by Emily Taylor
14 09 2009

Good storytellers have the uniquely intriguing ability to capture the attention of their audience.  People simply stop and drink in their words and the voices of the items on their attention seem to fade while they listen.  Stories are powerful - people identify to themes, plots and characters unlike the dry to do lists and hum drum conversations that seem to control much of our days.  People like stories most when they can relate to them.  Even more when the story is about them.  Every noticed how easy it is to get people to talk when you ask them to tell parts of their own story?  Leaders throughout history have earned the trust and intrigue of their followers with the ability to illustrate meaning through stories.  As a sponsorship opportunity looking for sponsors, consider yourself a story teller; you are painting a picture for your audience (the potential sponsor) that not only captivates because of your passion, but also because of how it could affect their brand.  It invites them into the story, unfolds the possibilities for them and the results of their involvement.  I like to call this “casting a vision.”  Seth Godin has a similar marketing parallel which he refers to as “idea-viruses,” and “sneezers,” the idea has to be catchy, and you need a group of people to spread the word – sneezers. In sponsorship, you need an opportunity to offer that’s worth “sneezing” about. If it doesn’t generate excitement for anyone but you, it won’t likely catch the attention of a sponsor.  There really are two parts: telling your story, and involving your sponsor.  We at SponsorPark consider your description section as well as your uploaded photos to be the place where you summarize these details and cast a vision.

When you cast the vision by telling your story and inviting your sponsor into it, you are offering emotionally charged, exciting, impactful information as well as factual, intelligent, relevant information.  You need both.  People want to be involved in something that is much bigger than themselves - look at hollywood, celebrities are not alone in their desire to impact and affiliate with something big; but when it comes to a brand, you can't just be a feeler - they are looking for an outlet to meet their own needs as well.  If you can't connect the dots in your story for how their support is going to strengthen their marketing objectives, you are in the wrong place. 

I sat through a speaking engagement where Gary Haugen from IJM (International Justice Mission) presented.  He was riveting, and by the end of his speech I was ready to go overseas, to counter injustice, to take action!  I bought his book, I researched their company, and was further fueled in our business efforts with an interest in supporting such organizations.  Why?  Because he cast a vision for me to easily grasp, identify with and catch the excitement for.  Now, truth be told, when you sit down with you potential sponsor after interest has been established, you will without a doubt need to stop, ask and listen to what it is they want; but initially you need to illustrate the possibilities for them.  One of the biggest mistakes you can make is assuming they’ll figure the benefits out on their own - don’t rely on the creativity you expect them to have before you invite them into your perspective.  Start the vision casting up front.   

The second part of the casting of your vision is to make sure they have an idea of how their involvement impacts their own objectives.  Let’s face it; nobody invests that which is most precious / influential to them (time and money) unless it strikes a chord with their values.  What’s important to a sponsor?  The ability to create good exposure for their brand, build loyalty with their customer, and growing their bottom line.  Communicate the history of your opportunity, the ways in which you might have supported other sponsors, the loyalty of your audience, and the assets you have to offer (tangible and intangible).  It’s a good idea to include quotes from those audiences your sponsor identifies with (attendees and other sponsors), and any property specific information that might intrigue a listener.  Remember, people absorb information differently, and are primarily either visual, auditory or tactile learners, so include other mediums to capture this information - such as your pictures.  They should capture sponsor involvement, audience size, sponsor to audience interactions, logos, venue, etc.Your perks need to resonate with these make or break realities.  When your potential sponsor is intrigued with what you are doing, and  they listen to your story, they need to be able to envision their company meeting their marketing objectives and growing because of their support.  If you can’t offer this insight, your chances of landing their partnership significantly diminish - most sponsors won't take the time to connect the dots on their own.  Cast your vision well and watch while the right people say “yes” to your proposal.


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Categories:   Elements of a Proposal
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