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Turkey, Black Friday, and Top 10 Tips

by Emily Taylor
24 11 2009

The holidays are officially here.  As the mouth watering turkey finds its’ way into your eagerly anticipating belly’s in a couple of days, and the dusk of Black Friday emerges – every sale driven consumer’s favorite day of the year, and the fear of every sales clerk in retail – at some point, someone is going to ask you what you’re grateful for.  We’ve got our highest priorities; our faith, our family, our careers, our health… and if you’re reading this blog, odds are you’re considering your sponsorship efforts too!  Now, I know it has been a rocky year, and while I’m sure there’s some things you’re really happy about, it’s likely that your wheels are already spinning in anticipation for a fresh year of new strategies.  I’m a big fan of actionable check lists of to do’s, and so today I’d like to share what we have come up with as our top 10 key tips to finding a sponsor.  We’re going to be focusing on each of these ten tips over the next few weeks, and our hope is that it helps to equip you for an even more successful 2010.

1. Write a relevant initial proposal – This is not the final customized piece (which comes after you have already established interest).  The initial proposal communicates the most relevant information up front; which quickly established whether a partnership is realistic.  SponsorPark has developed a proposal template that walks you through this information.
2. Offer tiered packages / benefits – When you communicate the benefits of partnering to a sponsor, a quick way to kill interest is not to offer options, or worse, no insight at all as to what your asking price might be. Your tiers should also be cascading – make it worth a sponsors while to offer more support in exchange for a more extensive package of benefits. 
3. Cast a vision – Clearly as one who represents a sponsorship opportunity you have a passion for what you are doing, paint that picture for why it’s a big deal - tell your story. But be careful to pair feelings with thinking. Pair qualitative with quantitative reasoning. 
4. Quantify your value in as many ways as possible – While there are some benefits you can’t assign a number to, such as popularity or the loyalty of your customer base; there are many things that you can, such as: target audience information, media and broadcast exposure, and category exclusivity you could offer.  The economy has made consumers more aware of corporate spending and required accountability with decision makers. Make it clear and easy to defend as to why they should partner with you. 
5. Pursue those who have reason to be interested in you – This means you will need to do your homework and be sure to know something about what that company is doing and where they are going. SponsorPark does this for you by sending your proposal out to sponsors who have already indicated their interests and established search criteria. 
6. Build a strong network – If two equally beneficial opportunities are presented to a sponsor, they are going to pick the one that they have existing ties with. Connect with as many people as possible – a great time to start this is with current sponsors! 
7. Consider using an agency or connecting resource – Agencies generally speaking get paid when you see results, so they are working harder than ever right now. Best of all, SponsorPark allows sponsors to use our outsourcing tool for free – present yourself where sponsors are looking!  And read really good top 10 lists!
8. Give yourself plenty of Time – Sponsorship can take 4-6 months to connect with the most appropriate person, negotiate a partnership, and sign a contract. The larger the sponsorship deal the longer it can take to close. This is also why it’s a good idea to pursue more than one sponsor at a time. Work smarter not harder! 
9. Don’t sell yourself short – Even in a world where you might have to add perks you wouldn’t normally add to sell the sponsorship, or consider additional assets to bundle for more package options, make sure your pricing aligns with the value you’re offering a sponsor.  When the economy bounces back, you don’t want to be stuck in a rut because you undersold your sponsorship previously.
10. Ask your sponsor what they want out of the Partnership – Once interest has been established and an initial meeting set, ask your sponsor what they want. At this point you have done enough research to know the basics about what they might consider a goal of the partnership, but stay on top of the ever-changing corporate world. Who knows, they might come up with even better ideas than you initially considered. 
Our goal at SponsorPark is to help connect sponsors with sponsorship opportunities, and it’s my hope that this list will do a small part to support you in your sponsorship connection.  If you have additional thoughts and tips to offer along the way, I encourage you to comment!

Now – a holiday season wouldn’t be complete without a gift, right?!  So as a Thank you to our 4500 registered members, I’m happy to announce that once we hard launch in early 2010, we will be offering a significant discount to be used towards the package option of your choice – more to come.  We realize that connections can take longer during beta when we are community building, and we know there have been some patient people out there – and for those of you who have received some connections, the discount will be offered to you too!  And until we hard launch the discount is available for you if you register with us in the next couple of months.  Thank you for your feedback, for your patience, and for choosing to register with us as an active member.  We at SponsorPark are grateful for you. 


Categories:   Top 10 Tips
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One Size Fits All!... Or Does It?

by Emily Taylor
16 11 2009

I saw this phrase on a hat recently as I was browsing through the mall, trying to tackle some early Christmas shopping… not true.  In fact, I can think of very little that applies to this statement at all – there are as many variances in people as there are stars in the sky, and as many careers, hobbies and clothing styles to cater to each of them.  Even grocery carts are bigger when you go to Costco or Sams Club than when you walk into Wal-Mart; and belts have multiple notches in them depending on whether you’re Cindy Crawford and it’s swimsuit season or you’re Chris Farley in the middle of the holidays.  One size definitely doesn’t fit all.

When you’re talking sponsorship proposals, one size most definitely doesn’t fit all, and every seasoned Marketing Director or Executive decision maker will tell you the same thing.  When you’re looking for funding, and you create a proposal, you want to give the impression that you care as much about what your sponsor (partner) is getting out of the partnership as you are – in fact, that’s what they care most about – it’s not the cherry on top, it’s the cake itself!  Very rarely can you communicate this to them unless you’ve considered their unique marketing needs and incorporated them into the proposal.  Let’s be honest, ConAgra definitely doesn’t have the same marketing needs as Principal Financial or Porsche North America, so why would you hand them all the same proposal?  Does it take more time to research a company’s needs and write a proposal that speaks to them – initially, yes; but in the long run, you’d spend more time being ineffective in your attempts and attracting nothing than if you spend a little more time to do it the right way.  Here’s another way to put it – when you’re in the dating world, if as a guy you plan out the same first date, same pick up line and same gifts for the women you pursue – and you pursue a lot, what do you think their response is going to be?  As a woman I think my response would be – he doesn’t really know me, he’s not trying that hard, and all he has in mind are his own needs that he thinks I’m going to fulfill even though this is clearly about him.  Don’t trust him, not going there.  Wowsa!  I’ll be honest – sponsors feel the same way.  Remember – this is mutually beneficial, if you want their support, you have to make a unique request that indicates you have their interest in mind as well as your own.  Customization is key.

Now, I’ll take just a moment to clarify how SponsorPark works, because we often hear the concern of not being able to customize a proposal.  The beauty of using SponsorPark from the perspective of a sponsorship opportunity representative, is that we’re essentially cutting out the research step, and getting the most relevant pieces of your proposal in front of the sponsors most likely to consider you based on their marketing interests (target audience information, media exposure, size of audience you’re reaching, description of the opportunity) – notice these are all things that won’t change once you customize, your target audience doesn’t change depending on your sponsor.  We’re introducing you to the most likely sponsors, and upon their interest you’ll uncover their needs and create a customized proposal that fits them, in the meantime, we’re helping you get in front of multiple appropriate decision makers.   We’re allowing you to present the elements that they need to know before committing to a second meeting.  Consider the template that we take you through a skeleton proposal, or the initial proposal – the first step.  It is by no means intended to be the customized final product; once we get your foot in the door with the most appropriate sponsors, it’s your job to sell the sponsorship and customize.  We strongly encourage you to do this – because let’s be honest, it might work for a hat, but one size doesn’t fit all in sponsorship. 


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Categories:   Elements of a Proposal
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Who's on First? Or more importantly, Who's Playing?

by Stephanie Lochmiller
10 11 2009

To quote Abbott and Costello's baseball Comedy act, "Look Abbott, if you're the coach, you must know all the players."  Or more appropriately, if you're presenting a sponsorship opportunity, it's important that you reveal active players/sponsors.  Sponsors have indicated to us that this is very important information, for the following reasons:

  • It offers your current efforts credibility.
  • Sponsors want to know if your opportunity/partners align with their marketing efforts.
  • Sponsors need to be aware of any competitor involvement.   

These factors can make or break a partnership opportunity, so to save time and energy for everyone involved it's important to lay these things out up front.

Let's say you have a high profile event and you're working to secure a title sponsor, and you want to reach out to both Pepsi and Coke to offer them the opportunity. My advice here is transparency. Let both Pepsi and Coke know that you're working with the other and that you're willing to offer brand exclusivity for the event to either party.  Not only will this light a fire under each company to start making decisions, but assuming you really do have the right event, you may be able to negotiate repeat sponsorships.  IEG's blog recently highlighted just how important brand exclusivity can be for a sponsor, and how it can make or break a partnership.

Next, lets consider the opportunity for cross partnerships among your sponsors.  Consider what one may have to offer another when it comes to activation programs and added value within your sponsorship opportunity.  By bringing another sponsor on board you can make current sponsorship programs more valuable, but first you'll have to communicate who these sponsors are.  Once you've established these relationships, why not offer a Sponsor Summit where all of your partners have the opportunity to come together and network with each other.  This builds loyality among your sponsors and gives them the opportunity to forge relationships/partnerships of their own, all worth the extra steps involved.

Now suppose you work for your local non-profit that is dedicated to lowering underage drinking rates among college students, and you've invested a substantial amount of money sponsoring a welcome wagon kit for your local college or university.  This welcome wagon kit goes to each student on campus so numerous local vendors are sponsoring it for advertising space.  Brilliant way to reach your target market right? Get to the college kids before they are influenced by their peers and other sources?  Well... Maybe.  Your ad comes to you in the mail and you see that you have been sandwiched between a giant Budweiser ad and another ad featuring "College Night at Tony's Tavern" featuring $1 draws with your student id.  While you scramble to fix this error, 25k copies have headed to the printer and are en route to the school.  Whoops! 

While this could have been a great campaign, the sponsorship opportunity should have been more aware of this potential conflict, and placed the sponsorship ad accordingly.  Again, by being transparent with your partners, a potential disaster can be avoided by something as simple as ad placement. This is just a mild example in my make believe blog world, and I'm sure you've been through worse.  To make yourself feel better check out these other Sponsorship deals gone wrong.

So in conclusion, you should be upfront about who your current sponsors are and who your potential sponsors are.  Not only can it make you look more credible and boost sponsorships, it could potentially save you from embarrassment and poorly executed sponsorships.


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