Building Sponsor Value – Creating Sponsorship Opportunities

The Sponsorship Landscape

Marketing professionals agree that the sponsorship landscape has changed. Social media and digital content has provided additional touch points and opportunities to create engagement and drive additional value from sponsorships.

What has not changed is that organisations need to justify their sponsorship spend in commercial terms – there is very little chance of sponsorship on a “feel-good” basis.

Sponsorship opportunities are rigorously examined in terms of;Watch movie online Logan (2017)

  • The commercial value and opportunity they create
  • The fit with the brand values
  • The match between target markets
  • The return on investment they deliver

Events, not-for-profit, sporting associations and other organisations that rely on sponsorship as a major source of funding, need to structure their approach to soliciting sponsorship to demonstrate how it will meet the marketing strategy of the partner company.

The most successful sponsor partnerships create commercial value in exchange for the funding provided by the sponsorship through application of the following principles;

  • Targeting the approach
  • Building commercial sponsor value
  • Creating a realistic business case
  • Establishing the emotional connection
  • Matching brand values
  • Pre & Post event support
  • Measuring & demonstrating sponsor ROI

Whether you are seeking sponsorship or evaluating an opportunity to sponsor an organisation or event, these principles will stand your organisation in good stead to ensure real value from a sponsorship.

A Targeted Approach

A targeted approach is essential but often overlooked as organisations mass-market their sponsorship opportunity in the quest to secure a sponsor. Different sponsors will have different needs and will seek different sources of value from a sponsorship opportunity.

Take an individual or at least segmented approach to preparing the sponsorship documentation, consider the sources of value that each target sponsor will find most appealing and customise the presentation to each particular sponsor.

If possible, speak to the target sponsor about the opportunity to determine what they are looking for in their marketing program before you prepare the submission.

As a potential sponsor, if you have received a submission which lacks elements of value that you feel are key discuss this with the organisation that is requesting the sponsorship as they may be able to support you in these elements.

Building Commercial Sponsor Value

Building (and evaluating) commercial sponsor value relates to matching the return from the sponsorship to the objectives of the sponsor organisations marketing strategy.

The return should match in terms of overall marketing objectives and be consistent with elements of the marketing mix such as; target markets, brand values, promotional messages, other campaigns and positioning.

If any elements do not match they should be considered in terms of their overall importance to the sponsorship achieving the desired results and their potential to de-value the sponsorship ROI.

Business Case – Do the numbers stack up?

The business case is primarily concerned with the financial return on investment for the sponsorship. This return on investment in typically considered in terms of positive brand equity that the sponsorship will build in the market place and the sales that the organisation can expect to generate from the opportunity.

At a very simply level the organisation will need to consider the following;

  • Is this our target market?
  • How do we typically reach this target market & how much does it cost?
  • How many do we expect to convert into new clients?
  • How many will be existing customers with whom we will re-enforce the brand?
  • How many will infect other clients who will purchase?
  • Are we evaluating in terms of lifetime value or one-off purchase?
  • How many sales do we need to generate to cover the cost of the sponsorship?
  • What is the positive brand equity we expect to generate?
  • How else may we generate those sales and brand equity?
  • Is the opportunity good value?

The Emotional Connection

The emotional connection is an important part of the commercial value of the sponsorship as this creates an important link between the sponsor, the opportunity (cause or organisation), and the sponsors target customer.

The emotional connection should be both stated and visually represented in the submission.

Matching Brand Values

Matching brand values relates to ensuring a fit between the brand values of the two parties and is an essential part of an effective sponsor relationship. From a sponsor perspective, sponsoring an event, charity, sporting team or organisation that does not have compatible brand values is most likely to be a wasted investment. For an organisation seeking sponsorship, make sure that you demonstrate the link between the brand values of the two entities to put your prospects mind at ease.

Pre & Post Event Support

Pre & post event support involves the Marketing Manager of the sponsored entity (event, charity, sporting club or organisation) working proactively with the Marketing Manager of the sponsor organisation.

The purpose of pre & post event support is to maximise the commercial value of the sponsorship opportunity for the sponsor.

Pre & Post event follow up also relates to the $1 for $1 rule which holds that for every dollar an organisation spends as a sponsor, they should also spend $1 promoting that sponsorship in the marketplace to create the link and gain commercial value.

A critical role of the Marketing Manager of the sponsored organisation is to assist their sponsors in achieving commercial value from the sponsorship. In addition to making good on the obligation to provide a return on investment for the sponsor, proactive support is likely to lead to long term support from the sponsor.

Measure & Demonstrate ROI

The return on investment from any sponsorship opportunity will have tangible and intangible benefits for the sponsor. An important component of any sponsorship relationship is the demonstration and documentation of the benefits and overall return on investment from the sponsorship opportunity.

A full debrief, evaluation and follow-up occurring at the end and at key intervals during the sponsorship opportunity is recommended.

Post event follow up and evaluation should include key focus areas such as; measurement of elements of value, media exposure, sales increases, new customer acquisition and brand equity gained through association.

MJH Group are experienced marketing consultants who can take responsibility for the end to end development and delivery of the marketing program.