Recently I had the opportunity to speak at and attend the annual convention of the Michigan Festivals & Events Association. With an audience of local events—most operating on shoestring budgets and almost exclusively volunteer-run—I expected to find a predominance of cookie-cutter sponsorships, mass-mail proposals etc.
While I came across several sponsorship don’ts, I was overwhelmed by the interest and enthusiasm for building genuine partnerships with local businesses. For the most part, these events are designed to draw tourism business to small towns throughout the state; so their success has a direct impact on local businesses, whether they are sponsors or not. While cash is still king, these events are also looking for ways to build buzz and drive attendance—objectives that don’t always demand cash. Such events would certainly seem ideal opportunities for events and businesses to collaborate.
I shared some of the insights heard at the ANA Annual conference in my last post. Below are more of the key ideas discussed by the “masters of marketing,” as the event is subtitled.
Eric Schmidt, chairman and CEO, Google
Schmidt had an optimistic message: “We’re about to enter a time of unprecedented opportunity as optimism collides with expanding platforms and accelerating uptake.”
Because audience data is crucial to properties’ ability to sell and renew sponsorship, I’m always intrigued to see creative ideas for obtaining such research.
We recently heard from Jeff Springut of Springut Group, producer of many events in Rochester, N.Y., on how he collected demographic info from attendees at this summer’s Party in the Park concert series and the Big Rib Bar-B-Que and Blues Fest.
Live events still are flourishing, despite the economy.
The Metropolitan Opera released its individual ticket sales figures for the ’09-‘10 season after its opening night: $2.5 million, up $500,000 from last year. Meanwhile, Seattle Opera has sold out its season.
Norm Langill’s fantastic Teatro ZinZanni, which just had its 10th anniversary in Seattle, fed and entertained one million people in the last 12 months. Anyone in the business of promoting or sponsoring entertainment and live events needs to experience Teatro ZinZanni, a dinner theater experience that combines circus, comedy and cabaret. With permanent locations in Seattle and San Francisco, its jaw-dropping tent holds 200 people. more
There were some pretty big sponsorship news stories during the past week or two and since everyone else seems to have a top ten list, I wanted to do one too. Plus, doing a top ten list pretty much guarantees at least some people will be interested. Personally, I always turn to the top ten lists in magazines first and click on any news stories that say “Top Ten”. Maybe this will be the beginning of a series…hmm…enjoy! more
Signage as a sponsorship benefit is often written off. When you compare signage to sponsorship benefits like VIP hospitality, mailing lists and sampling, it doesn’t seem as relevant or meaningful. Also, if you consider the per impression or per person value of signage, it is often on the lower end of the value range (although those impressions can add up). Additionally, signage has gotten a bad rap because, at times, it has been overused, poorly placed or is just not very creative. Plus, signage is hard to leverage and is considered “old school”. A sponsor or property rarely receives recognition around a great sign. However, as much as we would like to think otherwise, a lot of sponsorship packages started as primarily on-site signage or other visibility elements. I definitely don’t think that is what we should go back to, but I would like to make a case for signage as a sponsorship benefit. Signage has evolved a lot, the definition of it has changed, and if done strategically can be a great benefit as part of a sponsorship package.
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:
It was a sad day in the Kapraun household. With the start of the official NFL season I decided to conduct my own unscientific sponsor research. So, last week, during dinner, I asked my husband if he could name any NFL sponsors. He responded by saying “What’s a sponsor?” I was floored. How could he not know what a sponsor is? I was specifically looking for him to name some NFL league sponsors, but I would have accepted team sponsors as well. In response, I named some NFL league sponsors and he said “oh, yeah”, meaning that when prompted, he knew there was an association between those companies and the NFL.
A few days later I asked him if he could name any NASCAR sponsors and he rattled off at least a handful of sponsors including both series and several team/driver sponsors. At that point, I was feeling like not all hope was lost. However, how did the concept of a sponsor get lost between NASCAR and the NFL? Why would he know what companies sponsor one property and then not even understand what a sponsor is when connected to another property?
Hyperlocal involvement is a growing trend in the marketing world, and which could be readily applied to sponsorship as well.
Hyperlocal is, as the name suggests, the effort to focus on extremely local markets. For sponsorship, I apply the term micro-sponsorship to encapsulate both local market activity and sponsorship of small properties that may cover more than a single market.
Sponsorship has in essence always been hyperlocal. For years it has bankrolled local fairs, festivals, sporting events and other endeavors. However, for big name companies, these smaller sponsorships have taken the backseat to platforms that can be marketed nationwide. more
Punk rock band Rise Against caused quite a stir earlier this month after refusing to headline a music festival sponsored by the U.S. Army.
The band was slated to play South Florida’s Buzz Bake Sale on Dec. 9th but pulled out after learning the festival’s main stage would be sponsored by the Army. The festival is produced by Buzz 103 FM.
Rise Against asked the radio station if something could be done about the sponsorship, and opted out when the station refused. more