Brand Marketers Are Missing Out
I have always found impressive individuals selling sponsorship. Be it my earliest days screening sponsorship solicitations for Powerbar, AT&T Wireless, and Dockers at FCB Sports, to the first time I pitched Sponsorwise to the IFEA, to just last week talking with an NBA account executive and a leader of a relatively under the radar property, the level of knowledge I find usually impresses me.
Sure there are a certain percentage of people selling sponsorship in a way that has turned off brand marketers so much that they sometimes will pay tens of thousands of dollars per year on software and/or agencies to avoid talking to them. The reality is however, there are many smart people with good ideas and value to offer that never get a hearing. Brand marketers miss out on them all the time because they just don’t take the time to really understand the market and what is out there.
The fundamental problem I see is that many brand marketers don’t know the difference between sponsorship and advertising or media buying. And more importantly, they don’t recognize that not all properties require the same activations to create value.
There are essentially two factors that determine a property’s value, irrespective of size. The first is the loyalty fans/supporters have toward a property. This loyalty is available to be transferred to sponsors of the property. The second factor is how dependant the property’s supporters know the property is on a sponsor’s support to exist. Let’s call this combination of attributes the “fan sponsor loyalty quotient.”
An NFL sponsorship may come with a lot of media exposure, but it is expensive and requires up to 3-4x the rights fee to activate because though it reaches a lot of people, the NFL is not going away if I don’t buy Budweiser whenever the NFL decides to play games again. It has a relatively low fan sponsor loyalty quotient. I need additional incentives to buy (aside from the fact Budweiser is a sponsor), and those incentives need to be communicated to me. This drives cost and the need for more NFL-based sales to make the investment worthwhile.
It is far less expensive and requires a much less complicated approach to leverage a property that couldn’t function without sponsorship support with a high fan loyalty quotient. If Budweiser sponsored this property, the property manager could directly tell all 100,000 supporters why they should buy Budweiser, and see purchase, loyalty, and advocacy, I’m guessing in much higher numbers relative to what the NFL returns on a dollar per dollar basis.
Has anyone ever done the research and compared the value per dollar spent that a portfolio of small properties with a higher fan sponsor loyalty quotient might return vs. major ones with smaller fan sponsor loyalty quotients? If so, please bring them to my attention.
Last week in Ahead of the Curve, J.W. Cannon of UPS said brands must start sharing more information in order to get better results from sponsorship. That is a market driven approach. A need someone says they have is disclosed and a good/service provider tries to fill it. What I am advocating here is allowing a more product-driven approach to also be considered. This means brand marketers taking time to talk to different people selling different properties to learn what is out there. Think of it like how you didn’t ask for an iPhone, but when you saw it you thought “wow, I need that!” There are “iPhone sponsorship properties” out there. Brand marketers just have closed their minds to learning about them.
My suggestion is to take an hour, maybe even just 30 minutes a week to have a conversation with a sponsorship sales professional from a property your brand isn’t sponsoring. Learn about some properties out there you didn’t know about. Discover just how knowledgeable these people selling really are.
Where do you find sponsorship sales professionals you can trust to be savvy, forward thinkers that won’t waste your time, and might even teach you something? One place you can find them is in the SponsorPitch member directory. They have a red star next to their name like this:
It indicates they are serious professionals.
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The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the publisher, SponsorPitch, LLC.