I’ll be honest, there’s really not a lot that turkey dinners and themes have in common – except for the fact that they are both very important from my perspective. Coming from the brain of an almost 9 month pregnant lady, the thought of turkey, mashed potatoes and rich gravy followed by some pumpkin pie and whipped cream are up there on the priority list as a non-negotiable this holiday season. I just can’t think of much else that will put quite as big of a smile on my face as that wonderful, brilliantly crafted meal. I feel almost equally as passionate about the need for sponsorship themes.
From a sponsor’s perspective, without a theme, you’re chopped liver next to turkey (ok, I’ll stop my food references now). Think about how basic marketing is done, brands are constantly trying to drive a particular message home, they have a slogan, possibly a short song or quip, something that identifies that brand message and drives it home in the mind of their target audience. Geico has the Gecko, and the quote “I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico!” Burger King has “the King” and their famous line “have it your way.” And those examples are basic marketing examples, in sponsorship where your efforts are more customized and your activation is multi-faceted, it’s even more important to stick with a theme to drive a message home. That’s why we’re seeing many sponsors pick a theme and require it for all sponsorship consideration. Ex: ConAgra will not consider sponsorship outside the realm of meeting child hunger needs. When a sponsor themes their sponsorship efforts, their message becomes more and more clear, their audience understands what values they affiliate themselves with, and they are able to leverage many efforts into a main message; and the truth is, there is strength in numbers.
So as a sponsorship opportunity representative, what do you do with this information? Don’t bust your behind trying to get in the door of a sponsor who has never invested a dollar into anything in your opportunity category. There are very few moments when this will work, and you’d better be riding the tail of major new launch, brand transition, or truly have a phenomenal new way to impact their target audience through the partnership. The truth is, the economy has not fully come back around yet, sponsorship is still ultra competitive, and since cash is not flowing out of the sponsor pockets like we hoped I would be by now, you can’t afford to risk the time and investment into risking a sponsor that’s not perceived to be ideal. Dig around, find out what kinds of themes a potential sponsor is interested in, what audience are they trying to reach? The more you know about their previous efforts anyway, the more valuable you’re going to look as a partner since you took the time to find out what matters to them. Not only are you perceived as an informed match to their interest, but also as an unselfish, valuable potential partner. At SponsorPark, we ask a very specific set of questions around your opportunity that gives us the ability to allow targeted searches by sponsors. So while the sponsor is typing in their search criteria there’s no room for bias, and they’ll see only those opportunities who align with their interest. Who cares if you’re a squeaky wheel if you’re a squeaky wheel with the wrong people? The name of the game is to target by themes.
So as you’re munching on holiday treats, and gobbling down a delicious turkey dinner, keep in mind that it’s just as important to market around themes – and that includes sponsorship! Does this resonate with the way you pursue partners? What other best practices are out there around identifying good sponsor fits to your opportunity?