Nov 18, 2013 at 02:55 PM
written by Kym Oberauer

How To Deliver Exceptional Value In Your Sponsorship Proposal

In part 1 of this 3 part series we looked at how to develop a sponsorship proposal that fits with the sponsor's marketing plan.

Today, in part 2, we're going to look at how to deliver exceptional value in your sponsorship proposal by illustrating why your program is the very best marketing option for a potential sponsor.

The key areas we'll explore...

1. Demonstrate a return on investment for your sponsor

2. Develop unique marketing initiatives for your sponsor

3. Highlight the competitive advantages of your sponsorship program

To work along with the exercises in this article download the sponsorship value worksheet.

1 - Demonstrate a return on investment for your sponsor Return on investment (ROI) is a fairly simple concept on the surface. If I spend $1 with you I expect to get my $1 back plus a % return in profit.

However, this is just one way of looking at ROI. From a sponsorship point-of-view, we also need to consider its strengths as a marketing tool that goes above and beyond dollars and cents.

Fundamentally, sponsorship is about tapping into the emotion and passion of your target audience and connecting them with a sponsor in a meaningful and positive way. This connection is the ROI sweet spot for a sponsor, whether the objective is to sell more products or increase brand loyalty.

The ROI sweet spot is the point where your target audience's expectations intersect with the sponsor's objectives leveraging your unique marketing initiatives.

To deliver ROI you must have a clear understanding of each.

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Target Audience Expectations

So what does your target audience expect from you, your organisation or event? Here are some examples:

- Entertainment – I want to be entertained and I want to have fun

- Exclusivity – I want an experience that few others have, I want to feel special

- Community – I want to spend time with like minded people

- Improvement – I want to improve my situation, be it mental, physical or financial

- Excitement – I want my heart to race, I want to feel the adrenalin

- Contribution – I want to play my part

- Gratification – I want to feel pleasure in my myself and my surroundings

This list is by no means exhaustive but it's a start in the right direction.

Let's say you run a 5 day cycling tour; why do people participate and what are their expectations?

Perhaps it's for the sense of community, riding along with their peers and enjoying the outdoors (gratification) while improving their fitness.

Ask yourself: What are my target audience's expectations?

Now that we understand what our target audience's expectations are, we can look at our sponsor's objectives.

Sponsor Objectives

As part of their marketing goals your sponsor will have a number of objectives.

Typically, these may include:

- Increase brand loyalty

- Create awareness of the brand

- Drive retail traffic

- Highlight community responsibility

- Capture sales leads

- Increase sales

- Showcase products and services

In this example, let's say we're approaching a digital camera company to sponsor our cycling tour and their main sponsorship objectives are to:

- Increase brand loyalty

- Drive retail traffic and;

- Showcase a range of new products

Our goal is to therefore connect the target audience's expectations (community, gratification, improvement) with the sponsor's objectives listed above.

And this is where you need to put your thinking caps on and come up with a number of unique marketing initiatives that bring together the target audience and sponsor in a meaningful and positive way.

Unique Marketing Initiatives

We're going to examine your unique marketing initiatives in the next section.

Right now however I'd like you to take this time and do a stock-take of your sponsorship program elements using the 4 categories below:

- Activities – what activities make up your sponsorship opportunity?

- Locations – in what locations do you operate?

- People Power – who are the members of your team?

- Physical Assets – what physical assets do you have at your disposal?

Using our cycling tour as an example here's what I've come up with:

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With our stock-take completed, target audience expectations and sponsor objectives defined it's now time to develop our unique marketing initiatives.

Note that I'm not including assets like your website or social media accounts. The assumption is that you will use these where appropriate for promotional purposes.

2 - Developing unique marketing initiatives for your sponsor

Your unique marketing initiatives don't include logos on vehicles, venue signage or any of the standard promotional tactics.

While they should be included in your sponsorship proposal as a matter of course, there's nothing unique here so we won't be discussing them.

We want to focus on those elements of your sponsorship program that can't be replicated by traditional marketing activities like signage, media advertising and mail outs etc.

We're interested in the essence of your sponsorship opportunity that engages with your audience through meaningful and positive experiences; activities that your sponsor can leverage to really connect with your audience.

This sounds tricky, but if you've been applying the principals outlined above you're already halfway there:

- We've defined our audience expectations: community, gratification and improvement

- We've determined what our sponsor's objectives are: increase brand loyalty, drive retail traffic and showcase a range of new products

- And we've conducted a stock-take of the sponsorship program elements available to us

The job now is to combine these elements together to create our unique marketing initiatives and develop ROI for our sponsor.

Using our cycling tour as an example once again, I'm going to come up with 5 unique marketing initiatives.

The process involves:

1. Selecting an audience expectation(s)

2. Combine these with the sponsor's objectives and;

3. Associate them with a number of sponsorship elements to;

4. Develop a unique marketing initiative

Initiative #1

Audience Expectations: Gratification, Improvement

Sponsor Objectives: Brand loyalty, Product showcase

Sponsorship Elements: Event ambassadors, On the road, Camp sites

Marketing Initiative:

Invite a well known and respected professional cyclist to join the tour as the event hero.

Pre-event and during the evenings of the tour the event hero will provide tips on how to improve their riding skills and share stories from the professional cycling world. Pre-event these would be delivered as a video blog using the sponsor's products.

Each evening the riders will also have the opportunity to have their photo taken with the hero on the sponsor's digital cameras. These can then be uploaded, tagged and shared via social media and a copy provided to the cyclist at the end of the tour.

Initiative #2

Audience Expectations: Community

Sponsor Objectives: Brand loyalty

Sponsorship Elements: Event ambassadors, On the road, Camp sites

Marketing Initiative:

Invite employees of the sponsor who are cycling enthusiast to join the tour as event ambassadors.

Event ambassadors will ride along with the group and provide support for the cyclists.

Initiative #3

Audience Expectations: Gratification

Sponsor Objectives: Brand loyalty, Drive retail traffic

Sponsorship Elements: Points of interest, Towns on tour, Post tour celebration

Marketing Initiative:

During the tour cyclists will be encouraged to pay attention to towns, road signs and points of interest.

Each evening there will be a quiz on the days leg of the tour including questions about what they saw.

At the post tour celebrations winners will be announced and will receive prizes from the sponsor.

Each participant will be able to use their race number as a discount coupon to purchase products from the sponsor's online shop.

Initiative #4

Audience Expectations: Gratification, Community

Sponsor Objectives: Product showcase, Drive retail traffic

Sponsorship Elements: Sports photographer, On the road

Marketing Initiative:

During the course of the tour a professional sports photographer will be employed to take professional actions shots of the cyclists using the sponsor's equipment.

Each evening the photos will be uploaded to social media where they can be shared and tagged by cyclists.

At the end of the tour the best photos will be made into a photo book which cyclists can purchase, subsidised and branded by the sponsor (including product info and a call to action).

Initiative #5

Audience Expectations: Improvement

Sponsor Objectives: Brand loyalty

Sponsorship Elements: On the road, Camp sites

Marketing Initiative:

For the more competitive cyclists, each stage of the tour will include a number of sprint sections.

Categories will be based on age group and sex.

Nominated cyclists will then race off for points during these sections – 10pts for and win down to 1pt for 10th.

The sports photographer will be positioned at the finish line to take a photo finish pictures.

The results, photos and leader board are published each night at the camp sites.

See, that wasn't so hard. Now we have 5 unique marketing initiatives we can take to our prospective sponsor.

They combine elements that make our event special while delivering ROI for our sponsor.

3 - Highlight the competitive advantages of your sponsorship program

Now that we've got our unique marketing initiatives sorted, it's time to look at ways to highlight the competitive advantages of your sponsorship program, and build a business case around why your sponsorship program is the logical choice of the available marketing options.

Reach, frequency and relevance

Reach and frequency are used in the advertising industry to provide metrics which businesses use to measure their potential impact on an audience.

Reach is the number of people who see an advert while frequency is the number of times the same person sees the advert. The number of impressions is reach x frequency.

So if 1,000 people see the same ad 4 times, then the number of impressions is 4,000 (within a given time frame).

Where sponsorship has a huge advantage over other forms or marketing and promotion is relevance. Your target audience is already actively engaged with your sponsorship program (and your sponsor if you've done your home work).

Your sponsors can therefore spend their time and money leveraging this engagement rather than trying to create it, putting you ahead of other marketing activities.

Ask yourself: What are the reach, frequency and relevance of my sponsorship program?

Sales touches

There's a generally excepted rule in sales that you must "touch" a potential customer a number of times before they convert into a qualified sales lead.

These sales touches can range from a phone call or email to a social media referral or print advert. Any time a business interacts with a potential customer this is considered a sales touch.

The effectiveness and required quantity of these sales touches is based on three factors: quality of the sales touch, purchase price and interest level. As a rule of thumb 7 to 13 sales touches are needed to effectively qualify a sales lead.

What does this all mean? Well, when you consider that numerous sales touches are required to make a sale, it's fair to say that frequency is more important than reach in this context.

4 sales touches to 250 people is more effective that 1 sales touch to 1,000 people. The number of impressions is the same (1,000) but you've created a deeper connection in the first example and moved closer to a sale.

Why is it important? What makes sponsorship so special it that it's primarily driven by the emotion and passion of the audience. While the overall reach may be lower than mass (interruption style) media, sponsorship provides a targeted audience which businesses can engage with in unique and interesting ways in a fairly short period of time.

Sponsorship - trade reach for frequency and provide a greater return on investment.

Ask yourself: What type and how many quality sales touches can I provide as part of my sponsorship program?

Social media engagement

Social media is a big deal. It's changing the way people interact with each other and share information. If your target audience is using social media then you need to carve out your niche, build your fan base and contribute to the conversation.

So why is your social media strategy important to your sponsor?

1. Sponsorship is all about using emotion and passion to create memorable experiences

2. People share experiences

3. Social media is all about sharing

Unlike most other forms or marketing, sponsorship is made for social media and you can use this to your competitive advantage.

Putting it all together

Let's recap.

The ultimate aim of any sponsorship proposal is to convince a sponsor to invest in your program by clearly illustrating why it's the very best marketing option available to them.

This can be achieved by:

1. Demonstrate a return on investment for your sponsor

- Audience expectations

- Sponsor objectives

- Marketing initiatives

2. Develop unique marketing initiatives for your sponsor

- Selecting an audience expectation(s)

- Combine these with the sponsor's objectives and;

- Associate them with a number of sponsorship elements to;

- Develop a unique marketing initiative

3. Highlight the competitive advantages of your sponsorship program - Reach, frequency and relevance

- Sales touches

- Social media engagement

[Download the sponsorship value worksheet]

If you include all three elements in your next sponsorship proposal I have no doubt you will significantly improve your chances of success and put yourself ahead of the pack.

To see part 1 of this 3 part series visit The 6 Ps of the perfect sponsorship proposal.

Happy sponsorship seeking... cheers, Kym.

Kym Oberauer is the author and head sponsorship seeker at Practical Sponsorship Ideas; dedicated to sharing experiences, tools and resources to help you find, attract and keep your sponsors happy.