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Sponsorship Connection Tip #8: Give yourself Penty of Time - part A

by Emily Taylor
26 01 2010

Give yourself plenty of Time –part A: 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. Part B: This is also why it’s a good idea to pursue more than one sponsor at a time. Work smarter not harder!

So, obviously there are 2 parts to this tip –for the sake of your attention span and the degree of response required to cover the highlights about this tip, we’re going to break it into 2 parts.  Today we’ll start with Part A – sponsorship takes time. 

I hate to sound rough around the edges, but the truth is this: if you expect to land a top notch partner with contract signed and activation strategies dancing in your heads within a couple of weeks, or even a couple of months – you’re setting yourself up for some serious disappointment.  I like to think of myself as a glass half full kind of person, and we’d all like to think it’s possible we could be that random lucky Joe Smith who within a few days the stars aligned for just perfectly, and we do back flips in celebration of our new partner; but let’s face facts – these things take time.  Not only have times changed, making sponsorship highly competitive, but sponsor expectations have risen significantly, and budgets have been cut; and the serious sponsors aren’t going to pick you just because they like you anymore.  They need time to review what you have to offer, understand why you are going to impact the business growth strategies they put in place; gain approval from the executive decision makers, brainstorm how to maximize the partnership – and perhaps at this point they’ll be ready to sign a contract.  All of this requires multiple meetings, brainstorming sessions, presentations, all leading up to a signed legal document indicating the terms of the partnership.  Nobody gets that done in a matter of days or even weeks.  Now, clearly there is a range of the level of demands from one type of sponsorship to another – typically the larger the investment, the more details there are to work out…typically.  So if you are asking for a smaller investment, it’s possible you won’t have to wait on as much for as long as the decision makers consider you.  What we believe to be a standard is that for lower priced opportunities, local opportunities with a clear niche and a clear ROI; the wait time might just span out to be 2-4 months.  This is the type of sponsorship request where we encourage the sponsorship representative to have networked efficiently – it can be more about the connections you have made with key influencers for this level investment than for the larger ones.  If you have a medium sized opportunity with multi-faceted customizable benefits and packages – you need to expect an average of 6-8 months of time before your deadline to get in front of a sponsor.  If you have a larger opportunity with customizable package and benefits to sponsorship, it’s not uncommon to wait a year or more before a sponsorship partner has fully committed and an activation strategy has been established. 

I just had a rather lengthy call with a potential client who was desperate for some help selling a sponsorship opportunity for one of their clients.  Although they offered the sun, moon and stars for us to support their efforts I had to say no for the reason that the kind of support they were requesting would have distracted from our main efforts to support our SponsorPark members.  The scope of services they were interested in were separate from the vision we have for SponsorPark, and our integrity lies in our ability to wholeheartedly commit to our site users offering them the best possible services possible – and in addition, they wanted to sell a MAJOR sponsorship deal for an event that takes place in a matter of a couple months.  There is no way a sponsor will be able to take advantage of the most effective execution of activation strategies in that amount of time.  It’s like asking someone if they’d like to buy your Lamborghini – NOW.  You could hear it in his voice – he was terrified that he’d be unable to find a sponsor for the sole reason of timing; it would likely have been a pretty easy sell had he had a few extra months to work with.  This coming from a sponsorship agency – someone paid according to the success of their sales effort – how much harder for someone who would not describe their career to be focused on sponsorship? 

A quick thought to keep in mind that might encourage you: sponsors are in the habit of planning out well in advance their sponsorship strategies from year to year.  Typically they allocate funds well in advance – sometimes a full year in advance; now there’s exceptions to that for examples: end of year use it or lose it funds.  But they are constantly researching so that their money is best spent for future efforts – so while they might not move forward with a sponsorship now – they might recognize it as a fit when they conduct some research for their next year’s investment.  Getting exposure with a sponsor for your opportunity is never a bad thing – stay on their radar and you never know when they might shift efforts and remember you.  It’s one reason we encourage a lot of our site users to keep their proposal up for an entire year vs. a few months – if it’s annual, it’s worth the investment to keep it up and in the spotlight for a sponsor to see at each stage in their partnership discovery efforts.  You never know if tomorrow might be more beneficial than yesterday was.  It just takes one interested sponsor to seal a deal.  


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A Personal Success Story with Social Media

by Dan Beeman
19 01 2010

Dan Beeman, one of the founders of Sponsorship Insights Groiup, will be blogging as our guest this week.  Sponsorship Insights Group (SIG) is a principle-centered sponsorship agency.  We connect partnership opportunities with brands.  We connect sponsorship professionals with opportunities.  We help buyers and sellers increase efficiency and profitability.

Have you wondered about the value of social media as it relates to the return on investment of time?  With all of these weird-sounding names (Tweeting and fbing) and new mediums like blogging and micro-blogging, who has time for that and who cares?

In 2008, I decided to dive into this new media world to reinforce my position as a thought-leader.  Mind you, I am a 45 year old technophobe and I am reminded everyday how much I do not know!  With that knowledge, I seek to understand and learn every day.

My story is a good one, but comes more from sweat than strategy.  In 2008, I started my sponsorship consulting company under the name of "Beeman (my last name) Sponsorship Consulting.”  We sought to provide sponsorship valuation, advisory and sales representation services with a focus on retail destinations as clients.   A short while later, I started a LinkedIn Group for Sponsorship and Marketing professionals called Sponsorship Insights Group (SIG). 

The group membership took off with very little marketing and now stands at 4,600+.  It is the largest one on the internet for Sponsorship and Marketing professionals to network, share insights and find exclusive discounts on vendors goods and services.  My value proposition was simple to members: I would provide free quality content, a place to network and share information with others and a chance to learn more and find opportunities. 

I quickly realized that the social media practices that I put in place generated a significant amount of recognition for Sponsorship Insights Group.   Then, I realized there was more equity associated with SIG in the marketplace than BSC.  So, I changed the name of my business to that of my group. 

On January 1st, 2009 my New Year’s resolution was to learn how to blog.  The following on that has lead to my being a source on recent articles on Tiger Woods sponsorship problems in Sports Business Journal and LA Times among others.  I have also built a group on Facebook which replicates the LinkedIn Group and have thousands of followers on Twitter.
Recently we enhanced our website and secured a series of alliance partners.  Now, we serve every need for sponsorship professionals and have broadened our services and scope to meet every need.
Now, I literally get inquiries for my services Every Day from properties and agencies throughout the world.  They want to join my group, tap into our knowledge and seek our services.  If you look at my profile, you'll see that LinkedIn is a tool that I use on a daily basis for business.
Time?  I’d say it was well-spent.  ROI? Absolutely!

For more information about Dan Beeman and his services, please click on the links below:

Sponsorship Insights Group - My business website
www.linkedin.com/in/danbeeman - My profile, recommendations, work examples and more
Sponsorship Insights Blog - New content daily  enter your e-mail address and get it in your in box!
Join my LinkedIn Group on Sponsorship - Get connected with thousands of sponsorship professionals!
http://twitter.com/danbeeman - My tweets for Twitter folks, I post links to blogs
Sponsorship Insights Group on Facebook - A replication of our group on LinkedIn for the facebookers

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Sponsorship Connection tip #7: Consider Using an Agency or Connection Resource

by Emily Taylor
11 01 2010

Consider using an agency or Connection resource: Agencies generally speaking get paid when you see results, so they are working harder than ever right now.

So we submitted last week that it’s a good idea to build a strong network.  One way of taking the same concept of making valuable connections and networking to the next level is to work with an agency or sponsorship resource.  When you build a house you don't leave without your tools - there are resources that equip you with the best tools for your sponsorship toolbelt too! We’ll talk about why a sponsorship agency is valuable, what to consider when pursuing an agency for support, and then we’ll move on to other sponsorship resources.

The connections that a sponsorship agency has are typically some of the highest quality (considering their job puts them in contact with key players in the sponsorship world on a daily basis).  They know intimately the needs of the sponsors they are in contact with, and it’s their job to research others that might be a good fit for your opportunity.  Sponsorship sales is typically one of many tasks a property owner manages – someone who sells sponsorship as for a living obviously has an advantage.  Why?  Because it’s their full time job to do that, and experience matters.  They have access to decision makers that the average person might not be able to reach so easily.  The best part is, typically they are paid much better when they place a sponsorship, so they’re truly “singing for their supper” right now in such a competitive sponsorship environment.  They have very good incentive (commissions) to get your opportunity a sponsor; and unless you are a full time sponsorship sales employee, an agency rep will likely better know the ins and outs of what’s happening in the sponsorship world, what’s popular and what is not, how to communicate value and how to get their foot in the door better than you do. The truth is that it’s a tough economy and sponsorship is as competitive as ever.  People that make it in this era are those who are resourceful and innovative.  But you don’t want to use just any agency at any time – there are some good questions to ask before taking the next step:

  • What kind of sponsorships do you typically place?  Sports, entertainment, arts, cause-related, etc.  If you are an athlete looking for sponsors you shouldn’t reach to agencies who place sponsorships for Broadway musicals.  It’s not their area of expertise.
  • What kind of success have you seen?  It’s good to know their success rate, their testimonials, and their activation examples.  Don’t move forward with an agency if they can’t tell you these things.  You should be able to take a look at an old proposal as an example of their direct efforts. 
  • What is your fee structure? Since agencies vary so much in their rates, it’s very smart to ask this question before assuming too much.  This obviously has the potential to be a deal or no deal kind of a question.  Most agencies do ask for a retainer of some sort which is nonrefundable – don’t be surprised by this; as well as some kind of commissions for the deals they place. 

The clear fact about working with a sponsorship resource is that there are specialists in a particular focus of sponsorship that can add value to the sponsorship partnership in some way.  The question is to do your research on what’s out there, and then determine based on your unique opportunity what would give you affordable value that you couldn’t implement without them.  There are resources that help with determining your target audience information at an event (like txtstation) which improves ROI information, there are resources which assist with activation efforts and hospitality, resources that help with sponsorship connection (like SponsorPark), and there are companies that focus on Valuation or reporting (like SponsorshipPRO+).  Regarding the topic of targeted networking – if you’re not a member of Sponsorship Insights Group (SIG) on LinkedIn, and you’re involved in sponsorship in some way, you’re missing out.  An entire community interacting with one another, asking and answering questions as well as connecting is what SIG offers – a smart place to be.  Obviously when doing your homework on sponsorship resources you’ll cater the same questions as above to their specific focuses.  We do have several great resources listed on our website for reference in case you are curious and want to know more.  Some of the resources might have long term value to consider – for example, if you provide sophisticated reporting on the value of a partnership, it’s possible you’ll have a long term partner as a result. 

Like most of life, there are resources that can take something we start with and make it better.  It’s about determining affordability, asking the right questions, and managing multiple relationships that make you better able to grasp great results vs. a mediocre effort.  Sponsorship really has transitioned into more of an event planning role, lots to manage but lots to gain.  You can’t be an expert at everything, but you can harness the knowledge and influence of others so your sponsorship experience is well rounded and well done. 


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