Are You Responding to Corporate Marketing Priorities?

The way companies market is changing and so are their priorities. As sponsorship professionals seeking support from the corporate sector, it is imperative that we recognize this evolution in marketing and build more meaningful partnerships that address corporate objectives head-on.

From what I’ve read recently, the following marketing priorities will be occupying the minds of marketers in 2018:

1. Topping the list of priorities was Understanding the Customer and their Buying Journey. In a nutshell, companies are focused on data, to identify, track and convert prospects into customers. They are using this information to develop products and messages that resonate with a variety of customer profiles.

2. Movement towards One-On-One Marketing and Providing Unique Customer Experiences – in today’s complicated consumer environment, customers are looking for unique and engaging experiences. By creating social experiences and emotional connections, you can forge deeper relationships with your customers.

3. Brand Storytelling through visual imaging and content messaging. Companies are using a variety of mediums to build awareness and relationships with their customers about their products and values. Your brand story is more than what you tell people. It is what they believe about you based on all the signals your brand sends out.

4. Companies are using Content Marketing as a means of differentiating and supporting their brand as well as offering value back to their customers. Giving useful information without always including a promotion is the key to developing loyalty and trust.

5. Companies are relying more on Social Media for Customer Engagement with creative content, rather than simply sending ads or offers.

Although there were lesser priorities, these five stood out as essential in the marketing mix. As you can see, they are mainly focused on communicating brand attributes and building a unique customer experience that encourages repeat visits and long-term loyalty.

The bottom line is that if we are focused solely on logo exposures, we are missing the mark in supporting the unique priorities of companies. While visibility and exposure provide a good starting point, we need to move beyond logo placement to be relevant and valuable in the minds of sponsors considering where to place their marketing dollars.

What are you doing to update your sponsor benefits packages to better reflect today’s corporate marketing priorities?

Branding for Dollars

17860213-the-brandWhether you are recruiting new members, seeking sponsorship or selling exhibit space at an event, the value of your brand has a huge impact on how people perceive your efforts and respond to your “ask”.

Your brand is not just a logo – it is what people think of you – your reputation. A lot of organizations engage in revenue-building activities without giving a second thought to what kind of organization their prospects are buying into. If I am going to consider joining your association, investing in exhibit space, sponsoring an event or even donating for an activity, I want to know that I’m associating myself with an organization that is viewed as relevant (and valuable) to my customers or colleagues. Continue reading “Branding for Dollars”

Gaining Public Acceptability for Naming Rights and Title Sponsorships

I just returned from the Strategic Sponsorship Marketing: The Canadian Summit where I presented a one-day Municipal Forum on Sponsorship to a forward-thinking group of municipal representatives as well as a session in the general conference program on Winning Over the Public on Naming Rights and Title Sponsorships. Much of the discussion from both sessions focused on leveraging naming rights and title sponsorships as well as how to increase public take-up and acceptance for these types of partnership arrangements.

The following are some key considerations for implementing a successful Naming Rights or Title Sponsorship Program.

Focus on “Fit” – A proper “fit” has to be considered one of the most essential elements for an effective Naming Rights or Title Sponsorship arrangement. In other words, if the sponsor brand has a meaningful connection to the facility, event or audience, public acceptability will be easier to gain and likely more sustainable over the long-term.  Here are some key elements to consider when identifying potential naming / title sponsorship prospects:

  • Local presence (are they a known entity?)
  • Strong connection to the community (do they have personal community ties such as a large employer, do they contribute to the financial well-being of the community?)
  • Strong connection to the facility or event (does their product fit in some way with the property and needs/interests of the audience?)
  • Well-known and trusted brand (are they respected in the community?)
  • Easy to remember (will it be a name that people can easily adopt?)

Articulating the Value Proposition – The notion behind this consideration is that people will more readily buy-into a naming / title sponsorship if they can see the value that the relationship brings to their own experience. Therefore, every effective naming / title sponsorship agreement should communicate the value  of the arrangement to:

  • the direct audience (how will participants benefit from this arrangement such as improved program content or services)
  • the community-at-large (how the community overall will benefit such as new facilities for community events, increased tourism marketing dollars, etc.)
  • the community facility or event property (how the property itself will benefit such as new equipment, value-added programs, etc.)

Positioning and Communications – The third most important element is how the partnership is positioned in the eyes of various stakeholder groups and how the value of the relationship is communicated over the term of the agreement. One news release or launch event will not do it – every naming / title sponsorship should be accompanied by a formal communications plan that builds awareness and formulates positive attitudes about the partnering arrangement. It takes at least 2-3 years for a naming / title sponsorship to take a real foothold in the community, so communications needs to be both ongoing and consistent. The first step in the communications process is positioning the arrangement as one that brings value to the property, community and direct audience.

By developing naming / title partnerships with companies that make sense with the audience, articulating the value that the partnership delivers to the audience and practicing effective communications, public take-up and acceptance will dramatically increase for these arrangements.  This will lead to long-term success for the property, the sponsor and the audience. For a copy of my presentation, visit my SlideShare channel.

Later, BC