When a property accomplishes a nearly 70 percent increase in sponsorship revenue in one year, the assumption is that it must have made a series of major overhauls involving its sales approach, inventory, even personnel.

But Baltimore’s Artscape festival achieved such success this year by taking a few fairly easy steps, many of which had to do with tying sponsors more directly to relevant programming of the city-produced July arts festival.

The free, three-day event, which attracts about a half million attendees, sold roughly $400,000 in sponsorship this year, up 69 percent from $236,950 in ’06, said Bob Sicard, director of corporate development for the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts.

Below, the steps Artscape took:

Offer mobile marketers tailored sponsorship opportunities. Artscape reached out to mobile marketers interested in setting up shop at the festival and pitched customized packages that went beyond a parking space for their rigs.

For example, McDonald’s Corp. enhanced its interactive exhibit by presenting the festival’s Ferris wheel.

At the same time, Abbott Laboratories Inc.’s ZonePerfect nutrition bar supplemented its on-site presence by sponsoring the festival’s information booth.

“Mobile marketing agencies used to focus on price. Now they’re dissecting Artscape looking for areas they can own,” Sicard said.

Other new mobile marketing programs for ’07 included Kraft Foods, Inc.’s Crystal Light; The Procter & Gamble Co.’s CoverGirl; The Mutual of Omaha Cos.’ Wild Kingdom Adventure Tour; and Smoothie King Franchises, Inc.

To stay top of mind with agencies that oversee mobile marketing programs, Sicard sends out periodic email blasts to those firms, highlighting sponsorship opportunities.

Leverage event programming. Artscape has used ties to fashion, DJ culture and other new programming to secure sponsors looking to align with specific platforms and/or reach specific audiences.

For example, the festival this year secured Crystal Light as the presenting sponsor of Fashion At Artscape, an event introduced in ’05 that showcases apparel by more than 30 local and regional designers.

“We’ve added more to our programming menu, and it gives us new ways to match our demos with those of our clients,” Sicard said.

Crystal Light leveraged the sponsorship by offering makeovers in its adjacent mobile marketing rig.

In addition to Crystal Light, the festival signed CoverGirl as a cosponsor of the fashion event, Sicard said.

Upsell existing partners. Recognizing that it is typically more cost-effective to expand relations with existing sponsors than research and secure new ones, the property has put more emphasis on persuading current partners to commit to larger programs.

Its strategy for doing so mirrors its approach to attracting new sponsors: offering proprietary areas within the festival that they can “own.”

For example, the festival upsold Target Corp. from a $5,000 donation in ’05 to $15,000 title of the Family Performance tent in ’06. The retailer this year stepped up to a $33,000 package that included title of the Family Art Park, an area that includes the Target Family Performance tent and the Target Make It At Artscape tent.

In addition to pitching programs within the festival, Sicard also tries to upsell partners by tying in other events that BOPA produces. For example, Verizon Communications Inc. this year signed a new partnership with Artscape, a tie that enhances its two-year-old sponsorship of BOPA’s Baltimore Book Festival.

Use post-event sponsor surveys. The property sends each sponsor a questionnaire the day after Artscape ends to gain feedback on how the event went, whether they feel the partnership is working, and what they want and need going forward.

The survey asks sponsors to rank their sponsorship goals, whether or not they would rate the partnership a success, their criteria for measuring return and other questions. (To view the survey questions, go to www.sponsorship.com/artscape.)

“We get immediate feedback on their experience while it is still top-of-mind,” Sicard said. “It helps build our relationships with existing partners, and it also gives us testimonials, the number of samples distributed and other information that we can use to secure new sponsors.”

To further aid renewal efforts, Artscape produces a post-event recap report. Reports are tailored for each partner and include media reports, audience demographics and other pertinent information.

“It helps us show that we delivered what we promised,” Sicard said.

Start sales cycle earlier. While BOPA used to wait until December to begin selling, it now starts the process shortly after the festival’s conclusion.

“We want to strike while the iron is hot. We try to find out who is setting budgets and get on their radar screen.”