If you haven’t conducted a thorough review of your sponsorship program in the past two years, you’re probably out-of-date with a lot of trends in sponsorship and likely not in line with the current economic environment. Here are a few key trends that will help you determine if your sponsorship program is in line with today’s reality:
Everyone thinking that “Social Media is the answer to everything” There is no doubt that social media is an extremely powerful marketing tool, but it still needs to be considered as only one part of the marketing mix. Unfortunately, many people are beginning to think that social media is the answer to all of their marketing problems. Both current sponsors and prospects need to be educated on the role of sponsorships in relation to social media and other marketing tactics as well as how all of the elements need to be integrated to achieve maximum results. Therefore, in order to effectively sell your sponsorship program, you need to be able to articulate the value that your sponsorship solution brings to the marketing mix and in particular, how it can be integrated with a company’s social media efforts.
Inclusion of Social Media in Sponsorship Benefits Packages Further to the above, most companies are looking for some level of social media engagement as part of their sponsorship packages and if you are not addressing this need, you are probably missing the mark from a value perspective.
It’s a Sponsorship “Buyer’s” Market The economic downturn has created an environment where there are significantly more organizations seeking sponsorship dollars than companies with money to spend on sponsorship marketing. Simply stated, companies with money to spend have the “pick of the crop”, so the question you have to ask yourself is “does my sponsorship program have what it takes to be seriously considered among the hundreds of proposals that some companies receive each week”?
Shift from Interruptive Messaging to Relevant Communications The Internet has created a whole new culture where permission-based communications is becoming the norm and where intrusive messaging is no longer being accepted, often creating a long-term, negative impact for a company. There is a growing reality that messages need to be timely and relevant to the audience’s needs in order for these messages to be well received and even welcomed.
Focus on Customer “Value-Add” Further to the above, there is a growing realization that if the customer experience is enhanced through a sponsorship, the customer will likely look more favourably on that company (and ultimately purchase their products). As a result, sponsorship activation is becoming increasingly important as a means of demonstrating a brand’s attributes in a way that’s relevant to the audience and contributes to their overall experience. In the new game, the audience needs to benefit from the sponsorship as much as the sponsee and sponsor.
Shift from Generic Partnerships to Targeted Sponsorships More and more, we are seeing companies shift their sponsorship resources from generic properties and benefits to more targeted activities aimed at achieving specific corporate objectives. As a result, many organizations are witnessing a significant drop in revenue from their traditional “strongholds”. To counter this shift, organizations need to revamp their current benefits programs to build in more tangible marketing opportunities or build additional inventory in their other activities (i.e. events) to allow for the cross-pollination of benefits packages.
These are just a few of the issues I will be addressing in my upcoming Designing and Selling Your Sponsorship Program workshops in Toronto and Ottawa this fall. For more information, click on the Upcoming Workshops bar at the top of the page.