How Long Does it Take to Secure a Sponsor?

34163969_lThis is a question I get asked all the time. The short answer is: as long as it takes for the prospect to decide they want to invest in your project, whether it be a program, an event sponsorship or a naming right.

I have a Naming Right being approved for a municipality at the end of the month for $600,000 over 15 years and it has taken over two years to get it to this point. I also have five (5) other Naming Rights being approved for a non-profit corporation over the next few weeks. The average amount of time to get them on board has been about nine (9) months and they are worth significantly more of an annual investment than the first one. So, the pricier naming opportunities have taken less than half the time to close than the municipal one – so, what gives? Continue reading “How Long Does it Take to Secure a Sponsor?”

Why Traditional Marketing Still Works in the Digital Age

iStock_000009603802SmallAs you know, marketing in one format or another, has been in existence for a long time. It evolved from the simple trade era where raw resources were exchanged, through the mass production and sales eras to the emergence of the marketing department and marketing company era where business realized that they exist to meet the needs of customers and that everyone in the company has a role in delivering value to these customers. This modern era of marketing likely began in the mid-20th century when competition for marketplace share increased and companies had to work harder to sell their products to consumers; and is still very much in play today.

According to Phil Kotler, one of the world’s leading marketing experts and author of over 55 books on the subject, “marketing is the science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit.  It defines, measures and quantifies the size of the identified market and the profit potential. It pinpoints which segments the company is capable of serving best and it designs and promotes the appropriate products and services”.

He goes on to say, “Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make.  Marketing is the art of creating genuine customer value.  It is the art of helping your customers become better off.  The marketer’s watchwords are quality, service, and value.”

He also makes a distinction between marketing and selling. “Selling starts only when you have a product.  Marketing starts before there is a product.  Marketing is the homework the company does to figure out what people need and what the company should make.  Marketing determines how to launch, price, distribute and promote the product/service offering in the marketplace. Marketing then monitors the results and improves the offering over time”.

If all this sounds familiar, it’s because the principles of marketing are still very relevant in today’s digitally oriented environment. While communication technologies such as social media have dramatically changed the landscape and how we do things, the core concepts of marketing remain in place; with the tools and communication channels we use constantly evolving.

To illustrate my point, Eric Rasmussen, Vice-President of Consumer Insights at GroupOn summarizes where his priorities lie: “I think it all goes back to really knowing your customer and understanding the intersection of what you can offer and what they want – then delivering that in the best possible way. I think segmentation is the key ingredient to personalization and targeting.” This approach is clearly using marketing to identify core customers and products that will appeal to them.

While I have been discussing the business side of marketing, these concepts hold true in the public and non-profit sectors as well. If you take the above definitions and replace the word profit with impact or generating sustainable revenue or even affecting social change, the principles of marketing very much apply to these sectors. Marketing is clearly taking a foothold in these sectors as organizations of all types adopt a more strategic approach towards their business.

The bottom line is no matter the new technologies and channels marketers have at their disposal, the goal is the same: Understand the customer, figure out who wants what, and give it to them. It`s that simple. An effective marketing strategy lays the groundwork for tactical execution such as social channels, face-to-face marketing or advertising.

This is why events like MARCOM (June 13-15, Ottawa) are so important for the public and non-profit sectors. The learning content at MARCOM combines the traditional principles of marketing with the latest enabling technologies such as social media to give a well-rounded view as to how these sectors can use marketing principles to better meet their objectives and serve their customers.

Marketing has been around for a long time and will continue to offer a powerful set of tools for understanding the markets you serve, segmenting audiences, establishing products or services that people want, delivering these products at the right time and place and at the right price and measuring progress. While tactics might change, the principles of marketing are as sound today as they were 50 years ago.

Later, BC

5 Reasons Why Every Association Should Have Someone Attend MARCOM 2013

Now in its 15th year, MARCOM (May 27-29, Ottawa Convention Centre) is Canada’s national conference for marketing and communications professionals and executives who want to take a more strategic approach towards improving their business operations and results.

As someone who considers himself “in touch” with the marketing environment in the public and not-for-profit sectors because of our work in these sectors, I think that marketing provides a framework for organizational growth because it pushes traditional thinking.

Here are five reasons why I believe that every association should send one or more persons to this once-a-year event.

Reason #1: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  Albert Einstein

Associations are in a period of significant change as they deal with the challenges of stagnant or declining membership, competition for mindshare, changing technologies and “doing more for less”.  Simply stated, the old way of doing things just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Marketing provides a disciplined approach for assessing the environment around us and making evidence-based decisions that lead to a different result.  At MARCOM, experts will share strategies and tools for change and demonstrate how innovation can become a part of an organization’s everyday vocabulary.

Reason #2: Every Association Needs a CHANGE AGENT

If we now live in an era where every function within an organization is being fundamentally redefined, then every association needs a Change Agent to drive innovation.  Marketing and communications professionals are ideally positioned to take on a leadership role because we have a pulse on our customers, members and stakeholders and can drive change based on their audience needs.

MARCOM’s theme: Mission Possible: Change Agent is all about Inspiring, Influencing and Acting. MARCOM understands your multi-dimensional role and the skills you need to be an effective Change Agent. You’ll learn Hard Skills to help you grow your expertise, Soft Skills to help you work effectively with people, and Execution Skills to help you get the job done through perceived barriers and inevitable politics. You’ll be inspired by other Change Agents who will share their stories and help you re-kindle your drive for what is possible.

Reason #3: MARCOM Educational Content

MARCOM educational content is developed by an Advisory Committee of practitioners who understand the challenges faced by the sectors they represent. At this years’ MARCOM, you will pick-up new strategies and tools to help your association to function more effectively:

  • Branding your organization
  • Building credibility for the marketing function
  • Changing demographics and how you can capitalize on the latest trends
  • Customer experience and the impact on your brand
  • Integration of traditional and new media platforms
  • Internal communications and employee engagement
  • Key message development for funding proposals and effective advocacy
  • Social media engagement
  • Visual communications

Reason #4: Inspiring Keynotes and Panel Discussions

On Day 1, New York Times and Wall Street bestseller Julien Smith, author of Trust Agents, The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise? and The Flinch will “surprise you, push you, scare you and possibly stick with you for years to come” with his insights on adaptation and change and how to stand out, change yourself, and do what is necessary to excel in today’s changing environment.

On Day 2, senior executive panelists George Weber (Royal Ottawa Health Care Group), François Morissette, (Human Resources and Skills Development Canada) and Ondina Love (Canadian Dental Hygienists Association)will discuss 7 Truths About Change and examine how to remove threats and make change more inclusive, how to get started and the relevance of a clear destination.

Reason #5: You’ll Be in Good Company

When was the last time you were able to meet with your peers from other associations to discuss the issues and challenges you face in your jobs?

MARCOM is all about sharing ideas and learning from the successes (and mistakes) of others. Through MARCOM’s Pre-Forum Workshops,  Peer-to-Peer Roundtables and Networking Events, you’ll have the opportunity to meet marketing and communications professionals from across Canada and find new solutions for your association challenges.

In this period of constant change, there is no better time to learn new skills and play a leadership role in your organization. Register today or learn more about how it can be Mission Possible by visiting the MARCOM web site.

Later, BC