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Profile of the Educated Professional

by Emily Taylor
27 04 2011

Knock, knock, knock.  Our well educated sponsorship professional is about to walk into the office of a potential sponsor for his second meeting.  We’ll call him Joe.  Joe is purposeful, he’s prepared,  he has a transparent agenda – and one that both with benefit from at the end of the day.  He is invited in.  The small talk is kept to a minimum as they move into the purpose of the meeting.  Joe confirmed their appointment 24 hours before with a brief overview of the agenda he wished to cover for the sake of efficiency.  The dialogue begins.  But before we go there, let’s back up.

Joe was in charge of securing sponsorships for a major festival in Miami. The festival had grown 20 percent each year since it’s kick off 5 years before, and they were ready to really take it to the next level with a partner ready to come alongside them.  Joe had put together a survey for the attending audience the year before where he acquired valuable information about what the attendees did and didn’t like about the festival. He learned a lot – including the major areas of opportunity they needed to address.   He spent the next several months researching potential partners who might be a good fit for meeting those goals and winning the appreciation and loyalty of his audience. He found 3 companies that he felt would benefit most from committing to a partnership – they all had participated in like events in the past, they all had interest to a common target audience, and he had brainstormed some very creative and interactive activation strategies that would prove to be mutually beneficial and memorable at the same time.  Most would stop there and have done more than most as they picked up the phone and prepared to pitch – but Joe didn’t stop there. He had a formal, customized proposal put together for each of these potential partners.  It was complete with an introduction, valuable stats on the unique nature of the opportunity as well as a clearly informed understanding of brand he was addressing as well as a few unique ideas for how they might activate a partnership with some photos to capture the potential – just to give the sponsor something to envision.  The price was offered as negotiable upon the interest of and unique interests of the sponsor upon a meeting.  All of this information was sent in a notebook to the office of the brand manager of the company with a personalized brief introduction.  The only ask was for a meeting to discuss the opportunity. That meeting happened.  The two discussed more details around what the event was about, and why they were pursuing this particular brand as a partner.  After several pointed questions were answered and the interest was obviously there, Joe asked for a second meeting.  The purpose was made clear – to discuss the marketing interests of the brand and to brainstorm ideal activation strategies if they were to become partners.  The focus was on the brand. 

Now they’re sitting down in their second meeting – Joe knows what he wants and he has a list of questions he has prepared to walk through with the sponsor in order to be both efficient with their time and gather valuable information to further edit and formalize the final proposal.  As the discussion ensued, time flew.  Joe looked up only to realize there was only 10 minutes left before their allotted time was up, so he stopped and gave the sponsor a heads up, asked for an email with a few items they had previously discussed would be helpful for him to know.  He then promised a formalized document including the items they discussed and invited the sponsor to communicate other insights upon any fresh concepts.  He gave timeframe for the next expected correspondence and gave a heads up that they were speaking with two other sponsors, but for xyz reason, they’d love to gain a partnership with him as soon as possible.  They shake hands, the timeframe is honored, next steps are established, and Joe walks out the door and on his way to meeting number two.

So what did Joe do right?

  1. He put together a customized proposal that stood out – a little extra effort goes a long way.
  2. He did his research – he knew WHY the relationship could be mutually beneficial.
  3. The proposal was custom – he brainstormed a few ideas of his own off the bat.
  4. He honored the sponsor’s time
  5. He focused on the needs of the sponsor and the conversation revolved around the brand – not the property.
  6. He ended the meeting with a call to action, a next step.  They both knew when and how and who would participate in the next correspondence.
  7. He was honest about their pursuit of other partners – giving credibility to the value of the property and lighting a fire under the feet of the sponsor to make a decision and commit.

Anything we missed here?  Any other great profiles of the educated professional?  Send it in – we’ll highlight it.  Keep in mind – this effort is truly an effort – sponsorship sales professionals are singing for their supper, but that extra effort that makes you stand out is one that will help you actually get that supper instead of singing until your voice is hoarse with no results.  Let the fun begin!

Categories:   sponsorship sales | tips
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Profile of the Well Intentioned but Poorly Prepared

by Emily Taylor
20 04 2011

This week is really about “what not to do” when seeking sponsorship, which I realize can be a little negative, but take heart; in a couple of weeks there will be a profile on some best practice professionals!  Keep in mind – if you have any great examples that you think would positively impact the sponsorship world, please submit them to me at: [email protected] and I’ll consider including it in our next blog in this series.  The example should be of a specific case study – an example of an individual engaging in sponsorship sales who does a dynamite job.  But back to the present…

I recently received a sponsor request from a very well intentioned individual from South Africa. So here’s the profile.  The gentleman is from out of the country, and sent us a letter on our “info” account because he’s interested in sponsorship, but wasn’t sure who to reach.  The sender name only showed a long string of numbers instead of anything personal, which honestly I would typically pitch without opening.  The email stated: “Good day.  Please find attached word document regarding sponsor request for your perusal.  Thank you.” Once you opened the document you could read on. There was an invitation to respond upon interest, and a picture of the gentleman to put the cherry on top and personalize it a bit. 

  •  Here are just a few observations:
    The gentleman is planning to participate in a bike race, and is seeking sponsorship support from SponsorPark or any of the sponsors we work with – I’m assuming, it wasn’t clear. I wasn’t sure if he was actually asking for our support in actually sponsoring him, or in getting his information in front of the sponsors we have access to. If he wanted us to sponsor him, the issue is that either he really didn’t do his homework, or he didn’t think it through. We are based in the U.S. and currently offer services just within the U.S.  Why would we sponsor an event/effort for an individual in South Africa?  Even if he had access to getting us eyeballs with millions, it’s not currently our target audience, it would be a terrible partnership for us as there is no clear benefit.  A sponsor will not offer funding to a partner when the benefits you have to offer them are not relevant to their needs.
  • He sent us an inquiry because he came to our website and realized that since we only offer service within the U.S. and he was unable to post a listing on the site, he would send it to me directly… just in case.  Really?  If you’re unable to post on our site, what makes you think we’ll offer our services to you on the side… and without pay?  Remember, the audience we’re accessing probably isn’t a good fit for you anyway, or else you’d be able to post.  If something doesn’t appear to be a good fit, don’t force it.  It’s like trying to put on a shoe 2 sizes too small.  It’s not going to last long if you even get it on, and it will likely cause some serious pain.
  • Within the first 2 paragraphs he said “I” or “me” about 12 times; never once in the 2 page document was there any mention of our brand or our marketing priorities, aside from the logo he placed at the top of the document.  First of all, if he were sending us a custom sponsorship request, 2 pages probably isn’t enough to draw us in and communicate value – but that’s beside the point.  We blog about this issue often – do NOT approach a potential partner with the mistaken assumption they want to hear all about you.  Obviously there’s proper introductions to be made, but you should never talk more about yourself than your sponsor. Ever. 
  • The email itself was a brief hello and a one liner about the attached sponsorship document – it wasn’t until I opened the document that I was able to understand who this was and why he was reaching out to me. Sponsors won’t likely take the time to open an email so informal and without a clear purpose.
  • The description of his sponsorship opportunity was in “specialty” verbiage, specific to the activity/event.  As I am unfamiliar with this type of activity, it was hard for me to follow, the language didn’t reflect an understanding of the reader.
  • The attachment did include our company name, though it was misspelled.  SponsorPark, is branded as being all one word, not two.  An easy mistake, but simply indicates a lack of research into our company.  If a sponsor were to receive a request with their company misspelled, they wouldn’t likely open the document either.  It’s kind of like saying you’re great friends with someone and then mispronouncing their name. It doesn’t indicate value or interest in a mutually beneficial relationship.

Now, his overall demeanor was respectful and polite.  He seemed to attempt to make things personalized, but his lack of research into our company revealed his intentions to be selfish vs. a true partnership. His picture was great and I’m sure he’s a great guy who really needs some financial support; unfortunately his attempt at being a nice guy earned him nothing, and honestly really wasn’t worth the time he took to put this together.  Perfect example of an individual working harder but not smarter. 

Categories:   Introductions | sponsorship sales | tips
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Spotlight on Sponsorship! Life is but a Dream

by Stephanie Lochmiller
13 04 2011

As a way to draw increased awareness and attention to some of the standup sponsorship opportunities on our site, we 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, as we are currently looking to fill our 2011 Spotlight calendar.  This month our spotlight shines on “Life is But a Dream”.
What is “Life is But a Dream” all about?
Life Is But a Dream is a motion picture event that will feature a talented cast of actors and an original music score that promises potential of winning an award. This will be the first feature-length film release for TrackstarPro Entertainment, a newly formulated production company. However, the people behind this particular project are experienced and well educated, making it possible that the release can be more than a success.
The film, written by Gus Carter, features Roxanna Hernandez as the leading actress. Roxanna has a resume that proves her to be well accomplished as an actress and model. She has been featured in a variety of major movie releases, movies made for television (MOW), the NBC hit series, Just Shoot Me, and guest stared in Love Boat: The New Wave.

What makes this opportunity unique?
There are three distinctions that set Life Is But a Dream apart from many others. First is the intent for which this film is being produced. It is being designed specifically to appeal to a broad and diverse group of people. Too often independent filmmakers tend to cater to extremely small specialized groups of people, limiting the demographic of the potential audience. Life Is But a Dream is being produced with the intent of getting major distribution to a much larger; and carefully following industry guidelines makes major distribution certainly a goal within reach.
Secondly, the initial marketing plan for this project is one that mimics those that have already proven success. The finished product will be marketed to movie executives through trade magazines, conventions, film festivals, and private screenings. And will allow public marketing to be handled by the experts at the proper time that it should be done. TrackstarPro Entertainment adopts the principle that premature exposure or mishandled marketing of motion picture projects can potentially spoil the chances of winning over a mass audience, and they are working to be sure that doesn’t happen with this opportunity.
The third reason Life Is But a Dream will stand out from the rest is that producers are taking a patient approach to putting this project together. Instead of rushing to complete it and taking the risk of cutting corners, our production team has agreed to seek the consultation and leadership of a noteworthy Executive Producer. This strategy is one that is sure to gain favor with major film distributors, sponsors, and eventually the audience.
Surviving Sponsorship in a Heated Economy
Research and pure observation leads to the realization that sponsorship programs across all industries are on a decline due to the economy.  And, the sponsorship pool is simply getting smaller as corporations are either budgeting for less or eliminating sponsorships altogether.  According to Executive Producer, Gus Carter “The best way to address this challenge is to raise the bar in offering incentives. I am well aware that the current trend is to find creative ways to balance sponsorship reluctance with greater benefits for the sponsor. One of the benefits Life Is But a Dream offers is noncompetitive ad opportunities and testimonials to be incorporated within the film.”                      
Preferred Partners?
According to Carter, the three main categories that could benefit from a potential partnership are beverage, automotive, and apparel and accessories. With the project still in its growing phase, it offers new partners a chance to customize their partnership and grow their success along with the film. To learn more about this opportunity visit their SponsorPark Listing.

Categories:   Elements of a Proposal | featured listings | General | sponsorship activation | Sponsorship resources | sponsorship sales
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