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Why Mobile is an Essential Piece of Sponsorships

by Brad Dolian
25 05 2010

Sponsorship has always separated itself from alternative promotional mediums by allowing brands to establish an effortless connection with self-selected fans at a specific time and place.  The thought process being that the association alone can provide enough of a branding play to justify the investment.  However, as rights fees started to increase and demand for measurable ROI became more of a fixture brands started looking for additional ways to bring a sponsorship to life.  Sweepstakes, experiential areas, street teams and the likes have all become increasingly more common as they allow the brand to become more ingrained with the consumer experience and get credit for it.  But why stop there when one can initiate an even more powerful and specific two-way dialogue with the consumer?  It’s 2010 and the next wave of sponsorship activation involves a device that nearly every consumer has on them at all times – the mobile phone. 

First, consider some of the facts.  At the end of 2008, the number of mobile subscribers had reach 270 million, reaching 87% of U.S. households.  In 2009, U.S. consumers sent over 110.4 billion SMS messages per month.  That is more than 3.5 billion per day!  The numbers continue to grow rapidly, fueled by the emergence of smart phones and easier and cheaper access to unlimited data and text messaging plans.

But the numbers alone do not justify the attention when it comes to integrating mobile marketing into a sponsorship.  A mobile phone is also one of the most personal devices that we have.  They are literally attached to our hips at all times as they hold our schedules, our contacts and our connection to almost anyone anywhere.  It can be used for media, navigation, commerce and more recently, boarding a flight.  The uses are never-ending as the technology continues to evolve.  What does this all mean to sponsors then?

If you are investing money with the intention of reaching a specific target, why not go the extra step to have the chance to communicate with them on the most pervasive and convenient device that they have?  Mobile applications can be varied, but the objectives at hand should determine the appropriate tactics.  But just consider some of these simple tactics:

  • If you have a sign, why not include a mobile call-to-action such as “text [BRAND NAME] to 55333”
  • Create a compelling txt-to-win promotion where consumers can send a text message for a chance to win seat upgrades, tickets, merchandise, etc
  • Display a custom game or a voting application so fans can have a voice and become part of the action

The potential for the initial consumer hook is vast, but the most important piece to the brand is the direct marketing that can unfold after the initial engagement.  Whenever a text message is submitted, that consumer receives an automated reply message back to his or her phone. This initial message is extremely valuable as it serves as a direct and personal connection.  Again, the content and the direction that the messaging takes should completely be determined by the objectives of each individual campaign but some common and effective examples include:

  • Include a link to a mobile website to allow for a more rich content experience.  Content can be viewed and downloaded, information exchanged and databases can be gathered
  • Provide a mobile coupon or discount code to be redeemed online or at a retail outlet
  • Opt-in consumers to an ongoing text club/alerts program.
  • Promote a custom-built mobile application for download or purchase

Each of the above tactics extends the interaction and if they provide value to the consumer, then the brand is portrayed in a positive light.  More importantly, each can be measured and have a specific value tied to it, whether it be impressions, redemptions, leads, etc.  The barriers for implementation are minimal and the costs are low relative to comparable marketing tactics and the overall sponsorship investment. 

In sum, mobile is everywhere and it is not going away any time soon.  When applied to sponsorship it offers brands the ability to personalize, be relevant and immediate and measure the overall impact.  It cannot and should not be ignored when one is putting together their sponsorship strategy. 

Brad Dolian is the VP of Client Services at Txtstation.  If you're interested in this insight into effective and relevant activation, feel free to contact him by visiting their website.  Brad works with their clients to identify their objectives and consult with them on how to best utilize mobile to achieve them.  From there, Txtstation works with you to execute, implement, and then follow up with reporting to recap results.  At SponsorPark we're very interested in referring our site users to trusted and experienced sponsorship professionals who will impact your efforts as a complement to the services we provide.  Feel free to post questions and comments!

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Proactive Activation Tips - Create Your (almost) Perfect Activation World

by Emily Taylor
18 05 2010

The day we wake up in a world where vendors are never late and volunteers always go the extra mile, contracts are scarcely looked at twice because everyone implements their part after being asked once… until then we’ll have to come up with some strategies to make sure we do all that we can to proactively prepare and react when the unexpected rears its ugly head. 

  1. When delegating responsibilities, always create accountability – I believe there’s a way to create pressure that results in negative performance, and there’s a way to create pressure that results in inspired, positive performance.  Breathing down your team’s neck and barking orders like a walking time bomb only creates an atmosphere motivated by fear – they typically aren’t loyal, neither do they grow or improve.  They’re just trying not to survive.  When you create positive pressure, this results in an inspired, motivated team that wants to perform, grow ; and they’re typically pretty loyal.  Creating accountability is one way of creating positive pressure.  How do you do this?  Require smart action plans turned in at specified times, assign periodic peer reviews, give credit where credit is due (many teams thrive on receiving recognition for their efforts). 
  2. Ensure cohesive role clarity – this might mean you go over details of activation the week before, have a “dress rehearsal” or step by step recap on what efforts are supposed to look like from each key player.  Is your event extremely large?  Have hundreds of volunteers?  Assign team leads who can effectively cascade information to their teams and ensure open and effective communication.  Keep in mind, so many of us that give instruction are great at talking and terrible at listening… it’s a pretty common downside to leaders who often delegate.  Ask your implementing party to walk you through what they understand of their responsibilities and their action plans.  This will underscore a cohesive understanding for who is responsible for what, and how it’s going to get done; that way when you’re waiting for that ice to show up for the drinks you’re about to serve, you won’t wonder who the heck is supposed to be there or find your implementer passing out tickets instead!
  3. Confirm expectations with vendors the week before and if possible the day before you need them.  Do they need anything special from you in order to activate?  Make sure you know that before they’re walking through the door the day of their activation effort.  Do they understand what you expect to see from them pre-activation, during activation, and post activation?  Make sure this is clearly understood before D-day, and if possible, ask for a 5 minute call the day before you need them just to confirm you’re both on the same page.
  4. Reference your history – unless this is a new program, event or effort, it would be crazy not to reference what happened before.  Was there a particular effort that just didn’t work?  The dumbest thing you can do is make the same mistake twice; come up with a plan B, or rethink the particular effort entirely.  I knew of one property who had to sign in their guests and confirm reservations before they would let them in, at the same time they created an incentive for being there by a certain early time.  The lines became congested, the women (it was a women’s event) became frustrated, the mood started to drop, and the volunteers were bottlenecking.  The next year they responded by creating more check in points, more lines, line hosts that entertained the guests with product presentations and trial samples while they were waiting; and there was music playing that helped set a mood.  As you might guess , their guests were much happier, much more interactive, and their vendors benefitted so much so with the product sampling, that desired results skyrocketed.  All because they uncovered a root cause of a problem, and addressed it – they didn’t make the same mistake twice.

As you can see, much of these efforts revolve around effective communication.  Establishing clear expectations, checking for understanding and responding with clarification.  These efforts will truly make you a better leader, a better activation expert, and generally speaking just keep you happier!

So while the “perfect activation world” might be fiction, we can feel like we are living there if we get proactive about the way we prepare for these efforts.  Remember, no event or program will ever be 100% lacking in an opportunity to improve on, but you can always grow and develop intelligently and with foresight.  Who knows, we might just catch you whistling your favorite tune and skipping across the street!


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Spotlight on Sponsorship! The Original Miami Beach Antique Show

by Stephanie Lochmiller
11 05 2010

As a way to draw increased awareness and attention to some of the standup sponsorship opportunities on our site, we have decided to set apart one blog per month to put the “Spotlight on Sponsorship”! If you have a premium level listing on SponsorPark, and would like to have your event featured, please contact [email protected] to submit your event.  This month our spotlight shines on the The Original Miami Beach Antique Show. 

What is The Original Miami Beach Antique Show All About?

Next year The Original Miami Beach Antique Show will celebrate it’s 50th Anniversary.  The show is most well known for the incredible variety of merchandise featured at each show including, 17th – 19th Century furniture, paintings, American and European Silver, objects of virtue, Art Deco and Modernism, textiles and rugs, antique jewelry and watches, porcelain, sculpture and much more. 

The shows age and reputation makes them a “must” for gallery owners, museum curators, serious and novice collectors.  They regularly have visits from celebrities and socialites.  With more than 800 exhibitors, the show is always sold out.  Many dealers have been participating in the show for more than 25 years as the show is well known for its reach with international customers and is always profitable for them.

Surviving Sponsorship in a Heated Economy

Despite the fact that the show is entering its 50th year, sponsorship wasn’t a part of their business plan until 2009. According to Assistant Fair Director, Mary Dworin, while selling sponsorships in this newly challenging economy did prove difficult, they were at a unique advantage launching a new sponsorship program.  “We were completely flexible.  We had free reign to offer packages based on what our sponsors needed, even if it wasn’t a package we originally thought of.”

They also found that using SponsorPark helped as they ventured into the Sponsorship world. According to Dworin , not only did using SponsorPark make the proposal creation process simple, the customer service was outstanding.  “When I solicited feedback on our opportunities, Emily Taylor really took the time to offer some great advice on how our opportunities could be improved. I’ve always felt like our opportunities and business is really important to SponsorPark, much beyond a casual business relationship.”

What Makes this a Stand Out Event?

The Original Miami Beach Antique show is the largest indoor antique show in the world.  The event has continued to grow with Social Media trends and has established a Facebook Fan Page that is updated daily showcasing merchandise featured at the show. They have also created a twitter account that is more than 1,000 followers strong.  Earlier this year, they launched a blog featuring guest bloggers focused on educating readers on a myriad of topics.  They also use these social media outlets as a way to add value to their partnerships by mentioning their partners, sponsors and supporters on these outlets.  This is combined with a strong marketing plan consisting of TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, digital advertising and outdoor advertising. 

Preferred Partners

The attendee demographic for the show is typically in a higher financial bracket, and those attending enjoy travel, fine cars, solid investment opportunities, home décor, and upscale shopping.  With over 800 exhibitors and 20,000+ attendees, any sponsor with offerings in these categories would be a perfect partner for The Original Miami Beach Antique Show. To read more about this event, visit their listing on SponsorPark. 

Categories:   featured listings | General | Social Media | Sponsorship resources
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