Something was recently brought to my attention by one of my loyal blog readers (who has no problem shooting me straight): I am a perpetual Negative Nelly in my posts. Yep, just one cynical, critical consultant throwing stones at just about everyone and everything. Thing is, when you make your living spotting potential sponsorship red flags and helping people improve their sponsorship program, you become trained to look for problems and admittedly, can overlook the good stuff.
Being a big-time believer in karma, I’d like to put something good out there too. So, this post is a step in the direction of setting my sponsorship karma right, I am actually going to talk about someone doing something well.
In today’s “flat is the new up” sponsorship marketplace, properties that have maintained or increased sponsorship revenue deserve credit.
Such is the case with last month’s Toronto International Film Festival, which managed to offset losses in the financial services and other categories to post a 1 percent increase in sponsorship revenue. New partners for the Sept. 10-19 event included Research in Motion’s BlackBerry; the Procter & Gamble Co. and shoe and apparel marketer The Timberland Co.
Anette Larsson, TIFF’s vice president of sponsorship and development, attributes the festival’s ability to maintain and slightly grow sponsorship revenue to the following three steps:
Most corporations spend the late spring through early fall setting the next year’s sponsorship budget and roster. As a property, if you don’t get on their radar screen over the summer, you don’t usually stand a great chance of having them become a sponsor for next year. This is especially true of larger deals.
However, there is one caveat to that general timeline. When I worked at Ameritech, we did spend most of the summer setting the following year’s budget. If you tried to pitch me a deal of any significance in October (say $100,000-plus), you were not going to have a lot of luck getting that deal done. But every year in the November-December time frame, I would get a note from my boss that said “pick two or three deals that were not in our finalized budget and get them to me by the end of the week.”
The City of Indianapolis recently jumped on the municipal marketing bandwagon, hiring agency Third Street Partners to develop a sponsorship plan and broker deals with prospective sponsors.
The five-month old firm was able to beat out more established agencies for the business, and we’re guessing a big reason for that—in addition to Third Street’s local roots—was its willingness to work entirely on commission, with no retainer or expense coverage.
According to the city’s Web site, the agency will take a 15 percent commission on deals it lands during the first two years of the contract and 10 percent on sponsorships signed during the final five months of the agreement, which expires at the end of 2011.
I have something to confess. My name is Diane Knoepke, and I have been a chronic multitasker.
While the tide has turned and I (and many others) now see great value in unitasking, sponsorship sales is the perfect role to flex both your multitasking and unitasking skills.
What makes a great property to work with? What are they doing that other properties are not? I recently posed that question to Todd Fischer, manager of national sponsorships for State Farm.
Fischer identified three attributes that help properties stand apart from the pack:
Properties that understand a sponsor’s business. Properties need to understand a prospect’s business—including their brand messaging and positioning—and build packages around those needs.
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.