If you’re reading what I’m reading, you’re seeing a fair number of articles talking about the employee retention challenges lying in front of companies once unemployment starts to go down. (Here’s one of the best ones: “Get A Head Start In The Coming War For Talent”) Specifically, I’ve been struck by those that point to a disconnect: employers are relatively confident in their employee retention abilities while a majority of workers report that they’re already looking for what’s around the bend.
Where there is a disconnect, there lies an opportunity.
Here are two opportunities to use this information to your advantage:
Just in the nick of time, sponsors came forward and there will be a U.S. Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo in China.
Considering the ease with which we field an Olympic team every two years, you might assume a U.S. presence at a world’s fair such as Expo 2010—which is expected to draw 70 million visitors, some 63.2 million more than the Beijing Games—is a given. It is not.
Sponsoring a world’s fair is a hard sell to corporate America. Similar to the rest of the world’s love of soccer versus Americans’ tepid support, world’s fairs are a much bigger deal outside the U.S. more
Having just hung up with the latest reporter doing their homework for post-Copenhagen-announcement stories, it occurs to me that I should share with readers of this blog first the ideas that may make it into general media publications later this week.
Most of the interviewers calling IEG are from stateside media wanting to know if Chicago 2016’s sponsorship revenue projections of $1.8 billion are achievable should the IOC award the games to the Windy City.
My response has been that although Chicago faces the largest challenge because it set its sponsorship goals much higher than the other bid cities, whichever contender ends up as the 2016 host (and I do hope it is my city) will have to change the way we think about Olympic Games sponsorship.
As the tennis season winds down, one sponsorship stands out in my mind as particularly interesting.
Video game maker EA Sports partnered with the Olympus U.S. Open Series for the first time to promote its Grand Slam Tennis title.
I find this sponsorship intriguing because despite the game’s subject matter, the tennis crowd is not normally the demographic that game makers covet. However, I took a closer look and some important details came to light that reveal it would be a mistake for tennis properties to scratch gaming completely off their prospective sponsor category list.
So what have you changed about the way you pitch sponsors since the financial fallout?
Something IEG tried recently—in pitching our sponsorship consulting services to a prospective corporate client—was dumping PowerPoint. Having made the final cut from an RFP, four of us were practicing our spiels when senior vice president of business development Tim Tlusty said the PowerPoint was not adding anything, and in fact diverted the focus from the speaker to the slide or the slide handout.
After years of presenting with the aid of PowerPoint, going naked was a jump. But we tried it and what a home run. The sponsor executives were downright giddy when they heard we did not have a PowerPoint presentation. Even better, they were totally engaged throughout the allotted 90 minutes, and in fact invited us to go longer, which we happily did.
Tough times call for drastic measures. Unquestionably the tough economy has led pro sports leagues and teams to make difficult decisions regarding both their brand and their bottom line. Although the practice was once uniformly (no pun intended) considered taboo stateside, the NBA and NFL have carved out an additional revenue opportunity for their teams by allowing them to sell sponsorship to their practice jerseys.
In one recent week, the NBA’s New Jersey Nets and Phoenix Suns, as well as the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks, signed deals providing sponsors the rights to their practice jerseys and coaches’ apparel.
Although these deals have created quite a buzz in the sports business world, I question what relevance (past the initial media coverage/shock value) these sponsorships will have with sports fans and consumers.
IEG chairman Lesa Ukman’s latest blog post (read it here) put me in mind of a phrase she coined about seven years ago to describe cosponsorships and cross-promotions conducted by complementary brands not under the same ownership: peanut butter and jelly partners. Like PB&J, they go together, but also stand apart.
In her blog, Lesa cites the example of a property with a spirits sponsor targeting a maker of mixers as a potential cosponsor. Based on actual sponsorships we have tracked the past few years, there are many additional PB&J partnerships that properties can consider.
It’s a week for analogies (what week isn’t, I say) and I’ve got another one for you. We all spend so much time thinking about, talking about, and practicing consultative servicing, solutions-based selling, ethical selling, and so on. All good, right things. But how tangible are they when you’re racking your brain to get the job done?
This is why I like analogies, especially on Friday afternoons. We live in the world of best practices ready for the taking, and yet sometimes we just need to think about things on a practical level to make progress.
So here’s today’s analogy: think of your sponsorship program like you’re running a hotel. You want to invite sponsors in, make them very comfortable during their stay, and have them want to stay with you forever.
So many of our rightsholder clients have been successful bringing in new sponsors by looking beyond the usual suspects.
One screen we use to identify new prospects is synergy with existing sponsors. For example, if a client has an official spirits company on board, it provides a hook to attract new dollars from complementary brands such as the Rose’s line of mixers from Dr Pepper Snapple Group. Include an activation overlay such as creating and promoting themed specialty cocktails, and you’re on your way.
The news this week that Jack Daniel’s is quitting its NASCAR team and Anheuser-Busch’s Michelob Ultra is not renewing title of its LPGA Tour stop in Virginia are but two examples of the scores of sponsors dropping title of pro golf tournaments and motorsports teams.
It is a tough environment for everyone selling sponsorship, but among the most challenged are pro golf events and motorsports teams. Rightsholders in these sectors have often sold on media visibility, and that’s a dangerous path for anyone in sponsorship.
On merely a CPM basis, sponsorship cannot successfully compete with advertising. When times were flush, marketers were willing to pay the higher CPM because intuitively they understood that sponsorship offered more. But intuition is no longer enough, and treating sponsorship as the “added value” piece and media as the main event, no longer works.