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Sponsorship Connection Tip #9: Don't Sell Yourself Short

by Emily Taylor
15 02 2010

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.


Since SponsorPark is not involved in the actual sale of the sponsorship at all, we want to make sure our members are well prepared to consider the best approaches when entering into sales conversations.   Sponsorship sales are more competitive than ever – we all know this to be true.  We all know that many corporate sponsors are cutting budgets, dropping sponsorships, and the “sure deal,” isn’t such a sure thing anymore.  It’s tempting to react out of panic and desperation in order to keep your events and programs alive, but stop what you’re doing, take a deep breath and let’s consider a few things to get a big picture perspective before you make a calculated response.  You have options, so consider them wisely before moving forward with negotiations.

Truth: it’s a buyer’s market.  Sponsors are really in a place right now that they can be choosy and even make demands that they never would have been able to before for the sole reason that they know you need them. 

Option #1: Add perks to sponsorship packages that you “throw in,” in order to make a package more valuable.  It’s better to add perks than to drop your price.  When you drop your price too low, you start to set yourself up for some painful sales in the future.  When a sponsor is used to getting a package of benefits at a particular price, they’re going to be a tough sell when you offer the same thing at a higher rate in the future.  This doesn’t reward their loyalty, and it will require you to communicate value under scrutiny.  Plus, when you reduce the cost of a package, you’re going to have to make up for it somewhere else, and we all know that finding more sponsors isn’t the best option - plus when there are too many sponsors, value of partnership is reduced - too much brand clutter.  What does this option require of you?  That you get creative about the perks you offer.  Dig in to uncover assets you’ve never considered valuable before, use sponsor summits, or access to your target audience in new and inventive ways that don’t cost you more money.  Maybe you’ll feature them in a newsletter as well as sending out an email campaign on their behalf – free and simple. 

Option #2: Offer a deal with a multi-year contract.  It’s true that sponsorship partners are able to accomplish more with longer partnerships.  The pressure for annual sales is relieved, and so maybe you give them discounts on year two and three if they sign now. 

Now, if you’re not going to undersell your sponsorship, you have to make sure you approach a sponsor with an edge.  What’s that edge?  Know your stuff.  This isn’t the season to not be sure about your target audience or know what to expect for attendance.  This is the season to have great ideas about activation, to approach with confidence knowing the power of your potential partnership and communicate the ROI you expect for your partner.  This is the season to know how your opportunity is distinguished from your competition.  You should get to the point quickly, ask for next steps efficiently, and approach with plenty of time in advance.  Don’t waste your time in multiple meetings with a sponsor when you can find out in meeting one whether or not this is a realistic partnership.  Can you deliver for one another what you both want in order to make this work?  Basically, apply the other 8 tips we’ve already mentioned! 

So, how have you applied some of these efforts in your sales push?  Are there some additional options you recommend to keep from selling yourself short?  We’d love to hear them – and so would many others in sponsorship sales!


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Categories:   Top 10 Tips
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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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Elements of a Sophisticated Proposal

by Emily Taylor
9 09 2009

You know that feeling when you get a good idea? Not just a “huh, nice thought,” idea, but an “oh my goodness! Where’s a pen?  Why has no one thought of this before?!” idea. Yeah, there are some entrepreneurs, event planners and brilliant marketers smiling right now - you know what I’m talking about!  It’s like it produces in you a supernatural drive, a hunger to taste the reality of this vision - you suddenly have unbelievable stamina – which is great!  If you can slow down for a brief second and think about what it’s going to take to get there, do the research, crunch some numbers, and get a good action plan in place. That’s why great teams have both a visionary- the one with the grand ideas and undeniable passion; and a doer – a doer is usually a thinker and implementer – someone who does their homework and researches the best route to take to make the concept work. 

Sponsorship Opportunities or Properties are almost always visionaries – they’re very excited about a particular idea or concept, and the next step is simply to slow down and make sure they are also being a planner, a researcher, and an implementer. There’s this interesting new show out called “Shark Tank,” where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to business sharks hoping for their monetary support – it always shocks me how many of them don’t have critically relevant information to offer, research to present which supports the why’s of the investment! Of course they are ripped to shreds by the sharks which is apparently what makes good entertainment… These days there are so many sponsorship opportunities or marketing mediums for a sponsor to market through; so as one who represents a great sponsorship opportunity, you need to gather some critical information and present it in such a way that a sponsor will look at you twice!  I recently chatted with a Strategic Partnership’s manager at Coca-Cola who informed me that it was incredible how many potentially fantastic properties pitched their sponsorship idea – without relevant information.  He politely told them to come back when they put together a relevant proposal, when they stared blankly across the table and finally dared to ask what he wanted to see, he said “well, I’m not going to coach you on how to take my money, but if you can figure it out we can meet again.” Wow.  That being the case we’ve decided to walk through what we inventoried from some incredible active sponsors as “relevant” and “critical” information in an initial proposal.  This initial proposal is not customized to the sponsor’s specific objectives yet – that is something you will do after you get in the door with the most appropriate sponsors when you’ve had a chance to cast your vision and ask them what they might want out of the partnership. Keep in mind this vision casting initial proposal is not just an emotional, feel good document. It needs to include quantitative evidence of success around the criteria most important to potential sponsors. Here’s what you include:

• Detailed Description
• Pictures
• Timeframes / deadlines
• Media Exposure
• Target Audience / Market Information
• Sponsor Packages and Benefits
• Event Analysis
• Current Sponsors Involved

Each of these items Stephanie and I will be breaking down in future blogs – so stay tuned! In the meantime, tell us about a time that you were able to present an idea to a group of people and truly generate excitement? What worked best for you?


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Categories:   Elements of a Proposal
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