Latest Thinking from IEG
IEG’s sponsorship experts provide unique perspective on the latest industry developments, news and trends. These posts will make you think, challenge conventional wisdom, give you new ideas, and spark discussion.
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[Return on] Investment Strategy: Balancing Long- and Short-Term Goals
I was in my early 20s when I first sat in on a financial seminar given by a company’s 401k provider. I remember being very relieved that I had 40+ years to work to build up the amazing retirement I was sure to have–I have to admit I was almost gloating as I looked around the room at some of the folks who were my parents’ age. I wondered if they had been as smart as I was going to be.
But then as I started to really look at the different investment strategies they spoke of (conservative, moderate, aggressive), I realized what made sense to me intellectually (be aggressive, be-e aggressive!) was in direct conflict with what I felt like on an emotional level (savings bonds? hide it in the mattress?!). Thankfully after talking to my parents—trust me, I wasn’t gloating anymore—I found the right balance for me.
Filed under: arts, associations, evaluation, negotiating, packaging, selling, sponsorship measurement, sponsorship ROI, activation
The Rise of the Sponsors
An unintentional underlying subject matter in some of my recent blog posts has been brands (sponsors) that have created their own interactive consumer programs/properties (sponsorship opportunities). These companies, instead of partnering with an existing organization, choose to forge their own way.
There is a long list of companies that have created their own experiential consumer programs. Red Bull is always a shining example when it comes to sponsor owned or created properties including Red Bull Racing, New York Red Bulls, Team Red Bull and Red Bull Flutag. Other companies that come to mind are Burton (Burton U.S. Open, Burton European Open), New Belgium Brewery (Tour de Fat), Nike (Nike + Human Race) and Virgin Mobile (Virgin Festival).
Filed under: events, local, selling, activation
Central Intelligence: Cultural Considerations for Sponsorship Buyers
In my last post, I shared my observations on how culture impacts—and should impact—the way sponsorship sellers create their strategies. In this post, I’m taking a look at the buyers, for whom culture is a much different thing.
To once again oversimplify, a company’s sponsorship selection (to buy or not to buy) and sponsorship evaluation (to renew or not to renew) strategy is a process that screens each opportunity against a set of criteria. Those criteria are built to measure a given opportunity’s likelihood to help the company meet its objectives. This includes opportunities where the company instigates the conversation and/or the property cold calls.
Filed under: contracts, evaluation, guidelines, how to get sponsorship, negotiating, packaging, research, selling, spending, sponsorship measurement, sponsorship ROI, activation
Sponsorship Sales Tips: Preparing For Pent-up Demand
While sponsorship deal-making usually grinds to a halt during the dog days of summer—a situation that’s been exacerbated this year as a result of the economy—some veteran sellers are starting to see signs of looser budgets and more deals in 4Q ’09 and beyond.
While that’s good news for the sponsorship industry, properties need to be more strategic than ever to capture those dollars.
I recently spoke with Cary Chevat, president of sponsorship sales agency Sponsorship Resources, who shared some tips for securing deals during the 4Q decision-making time period.
Filed under: entertainment, how to get sponsorship, negotiating, selling, spending, agency
Strategic Philanthropy – Lee National Denim Day
Each year there are a handful of guest speakers at the IEG Conference that really make an impression on me for a variety of reasons. One of the presentations that stood out to me from the 2009 IEG Conference was a presentation by Liz Cahill, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Lee Jeans, who spoke about Lee National Denim Day.
What really impressed me was how the program has evolved since 1996. For a program that is fairly extensive, Lee National Denim Day is supported by a pretty lean staff and budget. Basically, the Lee team internally created and grew the program with a lot of hard work, a little bit of luck and some trial and error.
To me, Lee National Denim Day feels authentic, is a great fit with the brand and is a simple concept: wear jeans on a particular day and donate $5. The campaign materials never specify to wear Lee Jeans and the program is more about raising funds to fight breast cancer and less about selling a pair of jeans. With the recent criticism of cause marketing being called “consumption philanthropy”, I would think that the critics would have a harder time finding fault with this program compared to some of the other donation-with-purchase structured programs.
Filed under: IEG conference, nonprofit, selling, strategic philanthropy, cause marketing
Servicing 101 for Sponsorship Sellers
This week it seems survey findings abound. From info about the most engaged brands in the social media space (Starbucks took tops) to what customers want from customer service (it’s to be made to feel special) there sure is a lot for us sponsorship pros to take in and chew on.
In particular the customer service findings – while damn near as straight forward and common sense as it comes – were a great reminder that what we expect as paying customers (research says it’s to wait no longer than 90 seconds or else we deem the service a total breakdown and failure) is really no different from how a paying sponsor feels with the properties they are backing. So, I think a quick sponsorship-focused translation of the top four things customers are looking for is in order:
Filed under: selling, servicing, how to get sponsorship
Coming Clean: Cultural Considerations for Sponsorship Sellers
I get a fair number of questions about “sponsorship models”—as in, which sponsorship model will work for my organization or company?
Frankly, I bristle at this, as it is the strategic equivalent to handing out oversized oven mitts to do the dishes, when only custom-sized rubber gloves will do.
Thus, in this post, I’m speaking to how each property’s unique culture impacts strategy creation. In my next post, I’ll speak to how culture comes in to play for sponsors’ buying strategies.
Filed under: guidelines, hospitals and healthcare, how to get sponsorship, medical societies, negotiating, nonprofit, packaging, selling, government/municipal
Is It Time for Sponsorship’s “Back to School” Sales to Begin?
This is about the time of year when the first Back to School ads start running, another example of the retail industry’s annoying—but understandable—need to jump-start a selling season (holiday displays in September, anyone?), not to mention a crushing reminder of the fleeting nature of summer for both kids and kids at heart.
Not to throw a wet blanket on sponsorship sales professionals who may be trying to enjoy a few days in the sun, but this also might be the time to get a leg up on the fall sponsorship selling season. Although sponsorship sales is a year-round activity, we know from our annual IEG/Performance Research Sponsorship Decision-makers Survey that the largest percentage of sponsors make their decision in the fourth quarter, and thus many properties seek to get proposals out in September and October.
But given the tightened budgets and increased scrutiny that every new opportunity and renewal faces this year, those who get their proposals in early may stand the best chance. So folding up the chair, putting the book down and getting to work may sound like a Cruel Summer (yes, a Bananarama reference, deal with it) but it could make for a much happier winter for those who do.
Filed under: selling
A Rant on Post-Event Fulfillment/Sponsorship Recap Reports
After reading Bill Chipps’ recent blog on post-event fulfillment reports, I realized that I had a lot of opinions on what a post-event fulfillment/sponsorship recap report should and shouldn’t be.
I have to be upfront, as a Senior Valuation Analyst, I don’t write fulfillment reports and I don’t typically give a lot of advice on them (I leave that to our expert consulting staff), but as someone who reviews and sorts through boxes and binders of sponsorship information for both properties and sponsors, I have some pretty clear ideas of what types of information I like and what information makes my job easier. Additionally, as an objective third-party, I often hear sponsors’ gripes about their partnerships, which can include complaints about lackluster fulfillment reports. Frankly, sometimes I feel like a sponsorship therapist. Finally, I’ve seen quite a few fulfillment reports, some good and some not so great.
Filed under: agency, ambush marketing, contracts, research, selling, servicing, activation
Don’t Make Selling Sponsorship Like the Worst Date of Your Life!
For all of you out there married 15+ years like me, you may have to get in the way-back machine, but think about your worst date ever. You know the one when the other person did nothing but talk about themselves for three hours straight? They asked, “Where did you go to college”? Before you could breathe, they said, “I went to Michigan State, majored in accounting, played intramural sports and definitely hit my fair share of parties.” The next two hours were just as bad! You desperately wished the date was over and you even considered faking an early exit claiming stomach flu. (For the under-30 crowd, 20 years ago we did not have cell phones set to ring from an emergency call pre-arranged with our best friend.) There was no second date.
So here you sit today. You are preparing to go to your initial presentation with a top prospect who may become a new sponsor at your association or aquarium. You have put together an entire list of rights and benefits you want to go over with the prospect, including price. You have a fancy 20-slide presentation, the first ten of which describe your property in great detail. You have collected an assortment of publications, meeting statistics, maps, performance schedules, etc. You are positive that if you can show the prospect what your organization is all about and educate them on your offering they won’t be able to refuse.
Unfortunately, that sounds like a really bad first date to me. What did you learn from that awful date? You learned you don’t like it very much when it is all about the other person. This translates to selling sponsorship more than you can possibly imagine. Heading into that first meeting with a key prospect, do everything you can to make the day about them, their objectives, their agenda and needs. If you are lucky enough to then get a second date, maybe you can use some of that fantastic 20-slide presentation you put together. Good luck dating!
Filed under: selling, associations