Of all of the categories of tangible benefits (both measured and non-measured) that I come across, valuing “can’t buy” hospitality, unique access opportunities or interactive/highly integrated benefits are some of the hardest tangible benefits to value. Of course, these also happen to be some of the most valuable pieces of a sponsorship package.
Initially, I wanted to address all of these types of benefits in one blog but I quickly realized that there is too much information to cover, so I am going to do a three-part series and the first part will concentrate on VIP or “can’t buy” hospitality. Even for my blogs, this one is a little long, but I think that if you can stick with it, there is some really valuable information here (maybe too much).
Sunday’s article in The New York Times on corporate involvement in art museum exhibitions raised a number of compelling questions about the purpose of corporate art collections, the role of museums in society and the intersection of the interests of business and arts institutions.
As an art lover, it is easy to say that I want to walk into a museum and see what the very best curatorial minds have pulled together, free from constraints of budget, outside influence, geography, censorship, etc. Especially for those of us fortunate enough to live near cultural bastions such as the Art Institute of Chicago or New York’s Museum of Modern Art, we are afforded that luxury and have come to expect it.
Although IEG’s responsibility to identify categories primed to increase sponsorship budgets has been a challenging one this past year, we have scoped out new activity and are heartened by reports of new deals that support our conclusions.
For example, we reported in the spring that prepaid wireless services were good candidates for a wider variety of properties than they previously had been involved with. Now we hear from Peter Hansen of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center that he has concluded a deal for Boost Mobile to sponsor the Newark venue’s Sounds of the City summer series of free Thursday evening outdoor performances. Boost Mobile was attracted to the series’ demographics—core age group of 25-to-32-year-olds, 75 percent African-American, 15 percent Latino—and the opportunity for face-to-face interaction with nearly 3,000 attendees at each performance. The provider plans to activate through geo-texting and social media applications; NJPAC also could provide artist content for Boost Mobile to offer through its phones and Web site.
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. more
As this article explains, as part of a ₤1 million fundraising effort for a new museum dedicated to Robert Burns, the National Trust for Scotland is auctioning off “sponsorship” of a manuscript of Burns’ Auld Lang Syne. The Trust is hoping to get ₤50,000, which entitles the winning bidder to a plaque at the museum’s display of the original manuscript.
I have to believe that preserving an iconic work of Scotland’s native son could inspire Scots and Burns—lovers to step up with more than ₤50,000, provided they have a vehicle to do so. Perhaps a cause-related marketing campaign could have been that vehicle—not unlike American Express’ 1983 campaign to restore the Statue of Liberty.
I came across this story the other day about a Detroit-area arts festival that will need to start charging attendees a $2 gate fee after having lost Chrysler as a major benefactor. A $2 fee probably won’t prevent anyone from checking out the event. However, it might make repeat visits less likely—potentially threatening the success of other sponsors, vendors and the event’s charitable beneficiaries.
While we prefer to talk about how sponsors enhance the event, now might be a perfect time for hurting properties to start educating their audiences on sponsors’ bottom-line impact. More importantly, audiences need to know what they can do to help keep those sponsors coming back.
Flush times might have actually made it harder to convince consumers that sponsors were really making a difference. But a reality check is in order, particularly for those who pride themselves on being impervious to marketing. If people want their experiences subsidized by companies, they need to step up with their wallets.
A typical consumer target audience for an advertising or marketing campaign usually looks something like this: women, ages 25-54, with a household income $50,000+. The target geography is defined (e.g., national, top 20 DMA’s) and maybe there is something about household size, presence of children or stated ethnicity. For good measure, a target audience may also include some other sort of purchasing behavior, usage behavior, or other ownership criteria, such as “consumes soft drinks five times a week” or is a “heavy-user” of soft drinks.
As marketers we try to create a picture of our target audience by creating a lifestyle analysis or by developing some sort of “day in the life” exercise. I remember a particular time when I presented a media “day in the life/lifestyle” scenario to a client, only to have him protest the inclusion of the band U2 in the audience profile. He was certain that his target audience didn’t listen to U2. Besides the fact that U2 is super, super popular rock band, the scenario was meant to be directional, and honestly we didn’t have any really firm data to dispute or confirm the conclusion.
Because government support traditionally has been so high, arts organizations throughout Europe have rarely devoted resources to building robust private sector partnerships. European sponsors say proposals from arts groups typically read more like grant requests than marketing opportunities. more
Those of you who subscribe to IEG Sponsorship Report have seen the March 30 issue’s In Depth article, which takes a look at the Performance Research consumer study I mentioned in a blog post last week. more