“How Long Should My Sponsorship Proposal Be?” 9th March, 2016

I am asked this everywhere I go – it seems to be the thing that most people think is holding them back from securing that perfect partner.  As much as I’d love to provide a one-size-fits-all solution, unfortunately (much like most of sponsorship) this is not the case and the answers vary with each sponsorship platform.  The golden rule is to keep it as short as possible, but still retaining all the information a prospect absolutely needs to know.  As most people are not quite sure what information a prospect absolutely needs to know, I’ve created some tips to help you when creating your sponsorship proposal:

  1. Keep it short, sweet and concise. Sponsorship proposals are not the latest Grazia or best Faulkner – put simply they aren’t interesting and regardless who you send it to in whatever format, people are not desperate to read them.  Sponsorship proposals are just not exciting regardless of how exciting your actual property or opportunity is.  Rather than accepting this, people overcompensate the boredom by writing excessive copy hoping to draw people in.  This is simply not the case – mostly because you aren’t a copywriter and even the best copywriters in the world are unlikely to make your sponsorship proposal a page turner from copy alone.  Therefore, don’t try and make your proposal exciting just by writing more about it.  In our digital age, if you can catch their attention and imagination – they will Google you.
  2. Following on from above – make sure whatever they Google is good.
  3. A picture says a thousand words. If you have great imagery – use it in the best format possible which is typically in a landscape format.  Saying this, don’t fill the entire proposal with a load of the same pictures – if they want to look at pictures of an event or people at an event, they will go on Facebook.
  4. Put a price on it. Don’t waste people’s time.  If you are going to go to the effort of sending a sponsorship proposal, make sure everything that the buyer needs is in there and this includes how much you expect from them in return.
  5. Be professional. I estimate that over 95% of all sponsorship proposals in the world are done by the person looking for the investment.  You are often the Founder, Marketing Director, Event Manager or Sponsorship person.  It’s not your fault you are not a graphic designer, you have other important skills.  But it is important to recognise you are not a graphic designer.  People like things that look good.  You wouldn’t try out the new restaurant in town if they handed you a hand-drawn flyer made out of copy paper and crayons so how can you expect someone to part with budget when you won’t even invest on your own sales collateral?

In terms of a litmus test, I recommend taking your sponsorship proposal to a brutally honest friend and asking their opinion.  They don’t need to work in marketing to have an opinion – they just need to not worry about hurting your feelings.  Listen to them.  They will definitely help.

Failing getting a friend’s sign off, get some actual professional help.  Speak to a sponsorship agency for feedback and/or hire them to put together a proposal for you.  Slingshot obviously does this, but there are also many other agencies who can help too.  It is such a shame to see people fail at securing sponsors for their event because of a bad proposal, but not a bad property so don’t go it alone!

If you are interested in having Slingshot review or create your sponsorship proposal drop us an email: proposalreview@slingshotsponsorship.com

1st March, 2016

ADM_0216_Jackie Fast-1 ADM_0216_Jackie Fast-2



Slingshot’s MD Jackie Fast named as one of UK’s Hottest Entrepreneurs Aged 35 or Under 15th September, 2014

Growing Business today names its 12th annual list of the entrepreneurs aged 35 or under behind 30 of the UK’s brightest companies.

Jackie Fast, MD of Slingshot Sponsorship, has been named one of the UK’s most outstanding entrepreneurs aged 35 or under, revealed today in Growing Business’ Young Guns ‘Class of 2014′.

Recognised at an awards luncheon held at the prestigious Kensington Roof Gardens, this year’s crop is made up of 54 entrepreneurs behind 30 of the country’s fastest-growing firms.  The Class of 2014 join an alumni already containing the founders of 330 businesses named since the Young Guns awards began in 2003.  Sponsored by law firm Keystone Law and chartered accountants haysmacintyre, Young Guns celebrates the most outstanding crop of young entrepreneurs the country has to offer with only 30 companies selected each year, and no repeat appearances.

Commenting on the win, Jackie Fast said: “It is an absolute honour to be recognised amongst this incredibly influential and successful group of people shaping the future of business in the UK.  As our agency is driven to enable and secure the future of other businesses commercially through securing partners, this award is particularly relevant to us.  We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Slingshot Sponsorship as well as the other Young Guns!”

Now in its 12th year, the awards has a track record of talent spotting, previously recognising the fledgling businesses started by the likes of Michael Action Smith OBE of Mind Candy, Holly Tucker MBE of Notonthehighstreet.com, Neil Hutchinson of Forward Internet Group, Matthew Riley of Daisy Group Plc, and the co-founders of Innocent Drinks, Huddle, YPlan, Nails Inc., Chilango, and Made.com.

 

View the full list of 2014 Young Guns and their profiles here:www.growingbusiness.co.uk/young-guns

In numbers: Who are the Young Guns Class of 2014?

  • There are 54 qualifying co-founders
  • The 30 businesses are 4 years old on average
  • The mean age between the qualifying founders is 29, with the youngest just 18
  • On average their companies employ 36 people, with the highest employing 200
  • Between the 20 companies that are equity backed, the total they’ve raised stands at over £114m
  • That means those 20 companies have raised £5.7m on average – the highest being House Trip, which has raised $60m and Nutmeg with $50m.
  • It also means 10 companies in this Class have grown organically
  • Their average turnover (for the 26 who told us) is £4.1m and they’re forecasting to grow that to £7.2m this year
  • Of the 26 who told us, they still own 61% of their equity

How To Get Sponsors Working For Your Business 4th August, 2014

The sponsorship industry is changing.  The opportunities are endless and ways of engaging are ever increasing.  And yet, the sponsorship industry still remains fairly static.  Since inception, the typical transaction includes rights holders trading ‘space’ to sponsors for money.  Everyone seems pretty happy.  But is everyone getting the most out of the relationship?  With ROI crucial to good business, I’d question whether everyone is getting as much return for the investment that is being put into the sponsorships created.

But money talks and quite rightly, rights holders utilise sponsorship to drive revenue.  However, sponsorship can do so much more.  When done cleverly, sponsorship can open business avenues and new profit centres rights holders wouldn’t have been able to create by themselves.

But it needs a rights holder who is willing to look at the bigger picture with an ambition to think outside of the box commercially.

Rather than just chasing money for logo placement, rights holders need to identify what their ideal ambition is for incorporating sponsorship revenue within their commercial objectives.  For many B2B events, it’s about attracting leading consumer brand names to their event.  For music festivals, it’s about differentiation and adding value to the festival experience.  For sport, it’s getting fans to engage with the team beyond the pitch.  Sponsorship does all these things, but it doesn’t happen overnight.

Many rights holders fail to realise that they have to consider their sponsorship ambitions in a series of steps.  Just like growing any business, in order to reach the end goal there are milestones of achievement – each one built upon success of the other.  A good sponsorship strategy should be developed in the same way – with the long view in mind including phases that drive to deliver objectives beyond the financial.

And even if money really is the only objective (although if you dig deep enough, this is rarely the case), you need to create phases which will allow you to continue building value in order to increase revenue year on year.

So how do you go about building a sponsorship strategy that does all this and more?

  1. Figure out if you have ambitions beyond money.  And if you do, find out if sponsorship can help you reach them.
  2. If you cannot offer a strong proposition to the sponsors you really want, carve out areas of rights that you can provide on a reduced rights fee or for free while still maintaining your core sponsors.  This allows you to negotiate with the right sponsors that can deliver on some of your long-term ambitions while still ensuring your financial targets can be met by the usual suspects.
  3. Talk with your current sponsors about your ambitions and find out how they can play a role in achieving them.
  4. Partner with sponsors whose long-term goals and objectives are aligned with your own.
  5. Stop thinking transactional.  Get creative.

Why Lifestyle Brands Are Getting It Right 17th July, 2014

Our unique take on sponsorship has enabled us to work with some fantastic lifestyle brands such as Red Stripe, Majestic Athletic, Supreme Being, Monster Energy, Spotify, and New Era who are truly maximising the consumer shift towards culture brands.  In terms of sponsorship, these brands are getting it right.  They truly understand their consumer, their market, and most importantly understand how utilising effective sponsorship platforms make their marketing budgets work harder – often because their budgets are a fraction of their rivalling high street retail competitors who are vying for the same audience.

But what makes them different and why should you care?

It all boils down to engagement.  Lifestyle brands tend to have more success in engaging their market better than many other retailers.  They also know where to engage them and how to engage them.  If engagement is what brands are after because engagement sells, then this surely is something to take notice of rather than being complacent on your own brand image – even if you do only sell shoe inserts.

So here is my take on why lifestyle brands are getting it right:

  1. Challenged to be creative – smaller budgets mean you have to really think about what you are doing with them.  When lifestyle brands sponsor something, they maximise every single opportunity and asset they purchase ensuring nothing is missed.
  2. Commercially creative teams – lifestyle brands tend to have teams where everyone does a bit of everything, rather than job roles split up.  This forces individuals to be both creative and commercial – enabling people to fully understand how marketing activity drives sales, which is crucial.
  3. They are their target market – not only do they know their audience, they themselves tend to be active and avid advocates of the brand.  This saves focus groups, countless surveys, and allows them to tap into consumer insight easily.

If you want to see what we’ve done with Majestic Athletic, click here for the case study.


Slingshot Sponsorship Announced as National Business Awards Finalist for The BlackBerry Business Enabler of the Year Award 16th July, 2014

Slingshot Sponsorship Announced as National Business Awards Finalist for The BlackBerry Business Enabler of the Year Award

Britain’s leading businesses, business leaders and social enterprises have today been revealed as finalists for the 2014 National Business Awards and Slingshot Sponsorship is amongst them.

Slingshot Sponsorship has been shortlisted for The BlackBerry Business Enabler of the Year Award – recognising organisations that help businesses to increase profitability by improving efficiency, developing talent and implementing innovation.  This award recognises the impact of ‘enablers’ that offer value beyond services.

Commenting on the Slingshot Sponsorship award entry, Judge Simon Feary, CEO, Chartered Quality Institute said:

“Slingshot has positioned itself to address a niche market overlooked by the main providers. To do that profitably and sustainably, especially within the small business-low margin segment you really have to know your market. Small beginnings but the growth is there suggesting they have their model right.”

This year’s shortlisted businesses cover activities as diverse as retail, technology, men’s grooming products, telecoms, construction, advertising, entertainment, and publishing. Of the businesses shortlisted, 24% turnover under £5m, 26% turnover between £5m and £25m, 15% over a billion and 10% not for profit organisations. The smallest business recognised has a turnover of just £23k with the largest reaching £20 billion. Finalists collectively employ over 850,000 people, the smallest has just one member of staff while the largest employs around 165,000 people globally.

Jackie Fast, Managing Director of Slingshot Sponsorship commented:

“Having our business model recognised as a business enabler at the National Business Awards opens up a world of opportunity for our agency proposition beyond our typical market of sponsorship and marketing professionals.  As we champion the value of commercialisation in marketing, it is an honour to be recognised against some fierce competition in this category – especially from those organisations in the financial industry.”

Visit The National Business Awards for a full list of all finalists and to attend the event.


It’s Not Who You Know 10th March, 2014

Three questions you should be asking your sponsorship sales person before you hire them

I have been in far too many pitches where I dread the question and answer period at the end.  This is not because I don’t like answering questions, it’s because the questions are always the wrong ones.  It never fails that when people are looking to hire a sponsorship sales person (regardless of whether it’s an internal hire or contracted external agency) the questions they always ask are the same and include a variation of the following:

“How many brands do you know that you’ll be able to get to sponsor our platform?”

Sometimes the person in question is slyer and the question comes across as:

“In terms of relationships you currently have, how many of those do you think you would be able to approach on our behalf?”

It always comes down to the black book.

Now in theory this makes a lot of sense.  Obviously the more brands they know personally, the easier it will be for that sponsorship salesperson to put your platform in front of them.  However, this doesn’t address the whole point of sponsorship sales.  Sponsorship sales are not transactional – unlike selling socks or vacuum cleaners, you have to understand how to derive value from set assets to drive brand objectives.  Creative thinking is vital.  Sponsorship sales are specific and not all sponsorship platforms are the best fit for all brands.  As such, it becomes less about the relationship and more about how the platform can help the brand meet certain objectives.  Even though I have drinks with the Marketing Director from Pampers, but that doesn’t mean they are going to sponsor Tough Mudder just because I asked politely over cocktails.

In addition, any sponsorship sales person or sponsorship sales agency who has lasted longer than 1 year will inevitably have a good black book. And even if they don’t have a strong black book in your specific sector, they will know quite easily how to build one quickly.  That is after all, what they do and why there are at the pitch to begin with.

So rather than waste time on answers that really won’t make too much of a difference to your end result, here are the top 3 questions you should be asking:

  1. How long is your longest running client and why have they stayed with you for so long?
  2. Have you ever lost a client because of not meeting your sales targets?  *To note, there are many variables that can affect sponsorship sales so if someone hasn’t met targets I wouldn’t write them off.  Instead, try to understand whether they took on the project without being transparent to their client about their own concerns such as pricing that is overvalued or timing that is unrealistic.
  3. What do you think the key USP of our platform is and what type of brands do you think it would attract?

Happy hiring!


Slingshot Sponsorship signs Warranty Direct as Headline Sponsor of the What Car? Awards for a third consecutive year 26th February, 2014

For a third consecutive year What Car? has announced that Warranty Direct will again act as Headline Partner for the What Car? Awards –  Europe’s leading and most prestigious automotive awards programme showcasing the best new car releases from that year.

 

The What Car? Car of the Year Awards are the most coveted accolades in the automotive industry. The Awards are presented to cars that set the highest standards in their sector after being put through the toughest, most rigorous tests by the most experienced team in the business.

 

The benefits of the sponsorship deal includes the alignment with the most authoritative and trusted brand in motoring, brand positioning and awareness, extensive PR opportunities, networking  and brand association to the awards via a multi-channel promotional campaign.

 

Chris Lowe, What Car? ‘Publisher’ said: “We are delighted to be working with Warranty Direct for the third consecutive year, which is the industry’s leading provider of direct consumer warranties.”

 

Duncan McClure Fisher, managing director of Warranty Direct Ltd, said: “We are looking forward to working alongside What Car? as headline partner for another year of the awards.  The Awards themselves set a benchmark within the industry and it is an honour to be a part of such a prestigious event.  We also hope car buyers investing in these award winning cars will want to look after them and that Warranty Direct warranties will be their first port of call.”

 

Chris Lowe continued: “Winning a What Car? Award is good for a car maker’s business. The authority of the What Car? brand sells cars, plain and simple. It adds power to advertising and marketing campaigns and is a huge draw for customers.”

 

The What Car? Car of the Year Awards event is attended by more than 1,400 leading industry figureheads alongside the most influential motoring correspondents from the wider media.

 

The event is to be held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on January 7, 2015 with top-class entertainment yet to be announced. Previous headline acts have included Jonathan Ross, Jimmy Carr, Al Murray, Jo Brand and last year Jack Whitehall.


I went to Glastonbury and all I got was this crappy T-shirt 1st July, 2013

As another Glastonbury passes, it makes me think of all of  the sponsorship activity that will be taking place over the next couple of months.  While much of it still remains the same (or the same but packaged up in a different box), I have noticed a shift into better commercialisation by the rights owner and more tailored sponsorship activation by brands compared to last year.

One area that is undeniably a huge commercial opportunity for festivals is merchandise and licensing.  This is a completely untapped market and one that is bountiful.  Although no ‘Hard Rock Cafe’, the festival ‘brand’ is growing through social engagement and digital interaction.  The offshoot benefit of a larger audience is the commercial potential through new revenue streams.

For such a global, well-respected and creatively-driven festival, I was surprised this wasn’t reflected in their merchandise choices  (found here).  Although, their approach is not dissimilar to many of the other UK festivals, highlighting that their resource allocations are based predominantly on core revenues of ticketing, pouring rights, and sponsorship.  It still is surprising that the pinnacle of the UK festival experience, Glastonbury, hasn’t taken the time to create truly memorable merchandise to combine with the memorable experiences of the festival.

Which leads me on to how smaller musical festivals can be a much better sponsorship platform to create brand experiences and conversations due to their drive of innovation and flexibility.  One of our clients Outlook Festival recently launched their Outlook X Majestic Athletic Varsity Jackets this year in collaboration with festival sponsor Majestic (check them out here).  Used for Outlook Festival competition giveaways, special VIPs, and of course for purchase – this limited edition jacket something you’d actually purchase – and something I’d much rather walk away with compared to the Glastonbury coffee mug.

Some of Slingshot Sponsorship’s key tips for creating merchandise partnerships with music festivals:

  1. Think of your audience and what they want to buy
  2. Create something completely unique
  3. Allow for creative input from all parties and, when appropriate, your festival go-ers
  4. Think big

Corporate Events – 5 Tips to Driving a New Experience 19th June, 2012

Whether for team building or client hospitality, corporate events can be a great day out or a truly horrible one – think back to the recent Vodafone anti-team building campaign.


Having organised corporate events for both clients as well as staff teams, here are my top 5 tips to ensure your next corporate event is remembered:

  1. Competition – competition can be a great way to really engage people in the activity chosen.  Furthermore, it provides the Finance Director the chance to shine by beating the Sales Manager in an environment that everyone is equal on (Just don’t kill each other!)
  2. Make sure it’s an even playing field – as above, choosing an activity that everyone can take part in is essential.  There’s no point in taking a large office team on a round of golf, as the range of abilities will inevitably be so varied.
  3. Interaction – time to speak to other people.  If you are constantly ‘doing’ then it can take away from what the day is supposed to achieve.
  4. Something different – far too often corporate events tend to take the shape of drinks.  Whilst this is always a great thing, sometimes it can be monotonous – especially if you are organising client hospitality.  In order to truly achieve ROI in putting on a corporate event, you need to be memorable.
  5. Convenience – location is always important to consider as you want to ensure that everyone can make it to the event without jeopardising their personal time.

One of our most recent clients Caterham Cars has put together a corporate event programme that ticks all the boxes above.  I recently took on the challenge and attended one of their public days – watch Slingshot Sponsorship’s YouTube Channel here to see my race against the clock.

If you are interested in discussing Caterham for your corporate event, please get in touch with us: 0207 226 5052.

More than Cold Hard Cash: How to Get More From Your Brand Sponsors 7th June, 2012

What Else Should Sponsoring Organisations Be Getting Out Of Their Sponsors?


This blog actually comes from a question I received on Twitter last week – always a great source of inspiration for posts.  Although I’ve alluded to the answers throughout our blog, I have never written a blog about what the property rights owner should be getting out of their sponsorship.  The reason being, the most obvious answer is money.  However, a sponsor’s investment should not end there – there’s so much more they can offer to benefit the rights owner.

Brand Awareness

As a rights owner, you tend to focus on issues that are of the most immediate concern. Once all sponsors are on board you’ve then got to focus on ticket sales and the invites (and let’s not forget the small matters of sorting out catering, setting up the venue etc.). Before you know it the event has finished and you are back to square one of renewing the event’s sponsors and the cycle starts again.  Time is needed to integrate departments and partners and typically with the urgency of sales and action during a slow economy, there is little time to do much else.

By integrating the objectives of the sales and marketing departments you can make the cycle much smoother for everyone involved and add value to the sponsors of your events.

Brand sponsors tend to have significantly larger customer databases than the rights owners they sponsor.  As such, it can be a cheaper way to bring brand awareness of the event in question through effective marketing campaigns.  These campaigns can then drive ticket sales without the added costs of advertisements and new creative.  Furthermore sending communications to the sponsor’s database helps the sponsor as they want to bring awareness to their customers of the events that they are involved with – that is why they have got involved in the first place.

Joint communication is just a starting block, but once you start thinking more integrated you can come up with a range of communications that benefit all parties, saving you time and money.

Physical Space

One of the things we have started to really push with our sponsors and rights owners is physical space.  For larger brands, they tend to have an abundance of space with the presence of roof top terraces overlooking the Thames that are rarely used to whole floors that no one is working in.  This presents a fantastic opportunity to integrate the brand and the rights owner.

Venue costs are typically the area where most events fall down on – especially charities.  Charities tend to be very rich in terms of content – with celebrity brand ambassadors and a meaningful cause; however, tend not to be able to put on the events they wish they could based on up-front costs such as venue hire.  We have started working with our sponsors more directly and have hosted a number of events within sponsor buildings instead.  This not only saves the charity (or rights owner) money, but also shows a truly integrated approach to brand partnerships.  Furthermore, this provides the brand an opportunity to showcase their own building, their culture and their internal teams.

People

Another benefit that sponsors can bring to rights owners is actual people.  In terms of staff engagement, this tends to work best in charities and is often a key reason that brands get involved with national causes – to get their teams working together on something greater than the 9 to 5.  It also helps create a team environment even with their staff are based all over the country.  Staff engagement or volunteering for the sponsored charity is a key benefit that charities should try and incorporate within their sponsorship proposal whenever possible.  This not only provides additional volunteers for the charity which is always needed, but also can go a long way in terms of securing internal buy in from the brand itself – future proofing the financial investment.

These are just some of the benefits that sponsors can bring to organisations apart from cold hard cash, but there are many more.  The key is to find the synergies between the rights owner and the brand sponsor – understanding every party’s objective and collaborating with each other to help achieve something that is greater than the sum of its parts is what a true partnership is all about.

Slingshot's Top Ten Sponsorship Blogs You Should Read 2012 9th May, 2012

I wrote a Top Ten Sponsorship Blogs You Should Read article last year (to view the last list click here) and thought I’d revise the list for 2012.  There are some old favourites that have remained on our list, but also some new blogs that have launched which are fantastic reads and definitely worth subscribing to.

As the sponsorship industry changes so much and encompasses so many disciplines and mediums, blogs are just one of the ways that the Slingshot team continues to learn from others.  Here are our Top Ten (not in a particular order!):

  1. Synergy Sponsorship Blog: Great overall sponsorship blog from both a sponsorship and brand perspective.  There are many different bloggers and so it provides a good perspective from different angles and the content is always excellent.
  2. Mike Walsh/Tomorrow Blog: although not technically sponsorship, we discovered Mike at our client’s event the BBC Showcase.  Truly inspirational, we’ve been following his blog ever since.  A forward thinker in terms of brand innovation, partnerships and the future of marketing.
  3. Generate Sponsorship Blog: Regularly updated and always worth a read.  It is great for sport sponsorship activations and opinions in the sponsorship industry.
  4. Unofficial Partner – Richard Gillis provides insight on a variety of sponsorship related topics, not to mention he’s a great blogger so it always makes for a great read.
  5. Ben Wells Blog: This is a fantastic blog – Ben thinks very much in line with us at Slingshot and so we wait with anticipation to receive his insight in our inbox.  His experience in the sponsorship industry makes him uniquely placed to provide great opinions into today’s sponsorship marketplace.
  6. Power Sponsorship: Well known in the industry, Kim Skildum-Reid provides practical sponsorship knowledge and best practice tips.
  7. Sponsor Park: A good blog, but more helpful in terms of what sponsorship rights are being purchased, where and by whom.  Sponsor Park highlight the sponsorship deals signed via Twitter so I’d recommend following them @SponsorPark if that’s a key thing you are interested in.
  8. IEG Blog: Provides international insight on the brands that IEG works with – namely in reference to analysis and best practice.
  9. Sports Marketing Frontiers: Another good blog to track newly signed sponsorship deals as well as new sponsorship opportunities that have recently become available.
  10. Slingshot Sponsorship Blog: And of course, we couldn’t miss out our own blog featuring sponsorship insight, top sponsorship tips, and general sponsorship and brand partnership developments.  If you haven’t yet, you can sign up to receive our newsletter here.

Enjoy!

Make Money with your Blog – Monetising Social Media through Sponsorship 25th October, 2011

Monetising social media is a tricky business.  Although we are not experts in this (for social media experts, get in touch and we can pass on some recommendations!), we are however experts at sponsorship and utilising sponsorship to reap financial rewards for our clients.

These sponsorship tips can be utilised on a number of social media platforms, but more commonly can be found and developed on a blog. Freely available (see WordPress), blogs can not only drive conversations and showcase expertise, but can also provide the perfect platform to integrate new sponsorship revenues.

A great example of integrating sponsorship with social media can be seen with the DMA Email Marketing Blog.  A fantastic source for everything email marketing and written by industry gurus, this blog is read globally and has become one of the prime resources for email marketers.

Here are some of our tips for integration:

Audience

Sponsorship is only possible if there is an audience.  Fortunately, the DMA Email Blog had been going for some time and had a significant number of registrants already.  This not only proved that there was appetite for the content, but also that any sponsors involved with the blog would be guaranteed to reach an audience.

Do not try and sell anything until you have a proven audience.

Assets

A number of integrated benefits were provided within the DMA Email Blog sponsorship proposal.  These assets were tailored to reach the prospective sponsor’s objectives – the two most important included:

  1. Opportunity to write guest blogs – providing industry expert positioning
  2. Online display advertising – to promote the services or run competitions

Always think about your prospective sponsors before you look to build the assets into your sponsorship proposal.  What might be something key for you may not be of value to a brand.

Cost

Pricing for sponsorship can vary, but should always have a value attributed to the tangible benefits you can offer.  Tangible benefits typically include media rights, physical space (events), access to a database, etc.  As the DMA already provided online advertising on their homepage and throughout the site, there was a base CPM rate for the audience.  The sponsorship of the DMA Email Marketing Blog was based on this precedent.

In the case where you do not have anything to base your pricing on, refer to other advertising costs for online display in similar fields bearing in mind that your reach with a blog will be far less than with an online publication.

Measurement

Ensure that you have analytics to back up the cost and show the value to the sponsors you are aligning with.  Without measurement in place, sponsorship will have no value and you will not be able to attribute ROI to the brand.

For more information on social media and sponsorship, make sure to check out the presentation Property Rights Owners Make Money with Social Media on SlideShare.

Price Follows Prestige: Brand Asset Valuations 22nd September, 2011

Do you know how much your sponsorship proposal is truly worth?  We do.

One of the key causes of poor sponsorship sales is over-priced fees. This is often down to a methodology which focuses on covering the production costs of a property, rather than looking into the actual market value of the assets offered. Although making a property available for sponsorship can be a lucrative revenue stream, key factors such as the quality and quantity of rights and benefits, establishment of the property and brand exposure are all highly influential in determining the degree of investment a sponsor will be willing to make for association.

Therefore despite an event potentially carrying high production and running costs, rights holders need to be realistic ensuring that sponsorship fees rise in correlation with the calibre of the assets offered. The concept of price following prestige can also be seen by other rights holders within their respective industries, such as a start-up magazine, with the initial focus on publishing quality content and building circulation figures in order to then attract advertising revenue.

In order to create a fair and realistically priced sponsorship proposal, each of the following factors need to be taken into account:

Tangible Assets

These are benefits of a sponsorship package that can be measured and in turn given a specific monetary value, including such factors as signage, media collateral and tickets. Tangible assets are useful in giving the sponsor a direct insight into where a percentage of their investment will be spent.

Intangible Assets

These are qualitative factors that cannot be given an exact value but are also of significant benefit to the sponsor, such as audience engagement, branding prominence, property establishment etc. Intangible assets can only be measured by the opinion of the audience and therefore their value will alter from person to person, depending on perception. However, by conducting research such as surveys, which offer structured and quantitative feedback, a qualitative benefit can be given an estimated market worth.

Exposure and Reach

Whether a brand is looking to reinforce or alter its image via association with a sponsorship platform, this will only be worthwhile if a sizeable audience is going to be reached. Therefore the PR reach and geographical exposure of a brand’s association is a key factor in determining the overall value of a sponsorship package.

Lead-time

Approaching prospective sponsorship leads can be a time intensive process and therefore properties with short lead times (from commencing of sales approaches to execution) should be prepared to lower their fees if wanting to secure any sponsor investment at all. Corporate sponsorship responsibles have a strong knowledge of the properties within their market along with the value of the assets offered. Therefore by reducing fees, companies will be much more likely to invest when presented with a good deal, much more so than paying full price for something that they know the rights holder is in fact desperate to sell.

How can a sponsorship agency help?

Hiring an agency will bring experience and expertise in the area of optimising and valuating existing brand assets as well as discovering new beneficial aspects of a property that the rights holder may not have even thought of. With unjustifiable valuations being one of the key reasons behind unsuccessful sponsorship sales, an agency will help improve a rights holder’s understanding of the assets they are selling plus create additional benefits to offer, instilling confidence in the salesperson whilst providing a significantly more attractive proposition for prospective sponsors to invest in.

For further information on how Slingshot can provide professional advice on brand asset valuations, plus additional insight into your sponsorship potential, see the Slingshot Sponsorship Boot Camp.

Do Social Media Benefits Really Benefit Sponsors? 15th September, 2011

Social media has not only changed the way an audience can interact with a sponsorship property, but also with how they can interact with the sponsors of that property and vice versa.  Without fully understanding social media for the organisation in question, it would be impossible to try and deliver value to a sponsor associated.

Here are some top tips and questions to ask yourself before you consider integrating sponsorship benefits within your sponsorship proposal.

Do You Have an Online Audience?

Many sponsorship proposals include social media activation with their audience for prospective sponsors; however, this is typically even before they’ve even set up the account.  Many rights owners do not realise that it can take a significant amount of resource to develop and manage social networks so make time to do your research before you promise brands something you aren’t able to deliver at the point of signing the contract.

The benefit of social media is that it is instantaneous, but if you haven’t developed your social network before you offer the rights over to a sponsor, you aren’t offering much of anything.

Is Your Social Network Engaged?

Once you’ve built your social network, you need to ensure that the users are engaged with your content.  If you don’t have an engaged audience then there is no benefit to a sponsor of your property because their message will be falling on deaf ears.

5 Tips to Creating Engaging Content:

  1. Be relevant
  2. Provide insight
  3. Offer competitions or money-can’t buy benefits for engaging with you
  4. Provide exclusive content they can’t find anywhere else
  5. If possible, try to be genuinely funny

Does Your Social Network Want to Hear From Your Sponsors?

Your network is important and needs to be treated with care.  Do not sign them up and then bombard them with messages that they do not want to hear.  This rings true for any and all communication, but especially with social media as it far easier to individuals to block messages online than it is through the post.

Make sure to listen to your audience and provide them content that they find valuable.  As long as your sponsor’s messages fall in line with these guidelines you can ensure that you are truly delivering the benefits you are offering.

To connect with Slingshot’s social networks sign up to our Blog or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

What Can I Sell? Top 5 Tips to Uncover Sponsorship Assets 10th August, 2011

We have been doing a lot of Slingshot Sponsorship Boot Camps recently to gear up for the start of September.  As such, I thought I’d start a blog series following what we discuss and some tips to think about when constructing your own sponsorship proposals.

Assets are typically a problem area for rights holders.  Being submersed in their own product, sometimes it’s difficult to uncover something that you see on a daily basis, so these top tips and questions should help you uncover opportunities you haven’t thought of yet!

1.  What communication tools do I have?

Although I am not a fan of badging (plastering logos on any and everything you have), communication to your audience is what the sponsor is after so you need to look at all opportunities to integrate sponsors within those communications, although bearing in mind that engaging communications are better than logos.  Communication can include everything from:

  • Email newsletters (to read more on how, check out my blog post on the DMA Email Blog: Email Sponsorship: How to do it and why?)
  • Printed communications
  • Promotional advertisements
  • Online display
  • Events

2.  Who are your super stars?

Do you have anyone within your company or anyone your company works with that could potentially be an asset to a brand?  If so, and they are willing, you could work with these leaders to provide benefits to your sponsor by speaking at their events or promoting their brand.  Some ideas of unusual super stars could be:

  • Talent or brand ambassadors
  • Politicians
  • Highly successful CEOs who could act as mentors/speakers
  • Musicians/artists

3.  Social media

If you are using social media and have a regular engagement with your audience, this is a great platform for brands to run competitions or promotions.  Typically the audience is younger and more technology friendly so keep the audience in mind when including social media assets within your sponsorship offering.  Social media is a great way for you to add value to a sponsor without much cost, but don’t underestimate the importance of having a ‘working’ social network.  Just tweeting or posting competitions is not enough – you must have a social media strategy which is engaging, both for your property and also for your sponsors.  More about how to integrate sponsorship with social media, read my guest blog post on Content and Motion’s Blog Social Media & Sponsorship: Can Facebook & YouTube Ever Become Co-brandable Assets for Brands?

4.  Partnerships: are there other partnerships that you can leverage for your sponsors?

Media partnerships can be great opportunities to provide content for promotion.  When this works well and everyone is working together these partnerships can be extremely successful.  Integrating these opportunities for your sponsors can add significant value and should be considered, especially if your property does not yet have a large audience.

5.  Extras

Any additional events that you could include, not only add value to the sponsor, but also to your property.  Extras can include providing a Sponsors Lunch or Sponsor’s VIP Reception.  These types of events allow sponsors to network with each other and often uncover other partnership opportunities that can be built around your property through brainstorming synergies.  Especially if these extra events are timed so they coincide with a lull in your marketing schedule, they provide an added opportunity for you to continue building your relationship with your sponsor throughout the year.

Email List Growth: Reaching New Audiences through Sponsorship 7th June, 2011

I recently attended the DMA’s Email Customer Lifecycle Breakfast Briefing with sponsors Silverpop and came away with some refreshing ideas about how to grow email lists.  Working in sponsorship, accessing a list/audience is one of the vital benefits within a sponsorship proposal.  Most often, the audience has not opted in to receive 3rd party communications; however, it is perfectly acceptable and the norm to incorporate sponsor branding within the sponsored event communications.  Options on how to do this successfully were in my last blog Email Newsletter Sponsorship: Who is Getting it Right?

However, badging logos to an email is not always the best way to organically grow your list through sponsorship within eNewsletters.  More integrated approaches can be taken if both parties are flexible, which can create a more engaging relationship with the customer you are trying to reach.

Case Study: A Small World & Boujis

A Small World is similar to a private members online network where the audience is fairly exclusive and difficult to access.  By invite only, a Small World has generated a unique and large enough audience that can become an attractive partner for luxury brands.  Typically this has been done through display advertising.  However, more recently there has been an increase in jointly supported events that are supported by communications sent by both partners to their respective database.  The most recent partner through A Small World’s email newsletter promoting an event with Boujis – a nightclub located in London.

This email was sent by A Small World to their London members.  By avoiding looking overtly commercial and sending communications which the audience has not agreed to receiving, A Small World has promoted their own event showcasing Boujis in the format and copy of the email.  When tickets are reserved, guests are then asked whether they’d like to receive communications and similar invitations to events held with Boujis.  This provides benefit to both parties – enhancing both the A Small World member experience through an exclusive invite specific to their city of residence as well as providing an exclusive audience for Boujis to build brand awareness and showcase their venue to.

In terms of using sponsorship for list growth, this is a great example illustrating how to grow your list organically through a partner – avoiding purchase or rental of data lists.  Instead of spending the money trying to jump start building a new list of customers, Boujis have wisely spent the money in a tailored sponsorship opportunity.  This not only provides them organic list growth, but also alignment with a trusted brand and a tangible event attracting new customers.

I can’t wait for more inspiration and email marketing tips at the second session in the Email Customer Lifecycle sponsored Silverpop  on Conversion,  12 July 2011.  Free to all DMA members, book early to avoid disappointment by emailing Amelia.Bingham@dma.org.uk

To find out more about email marketing, make sure to check out the DMA Email Blog.

Top 5 Reasons Why Your Sponsorship Proposal Isn't Converting Sales 31st May, 2011

We’ve been asked many times to give advice to brands concerned about their inability to source for sponsors.  No matter which sector the opportunity represents, it’s often the sponsorship proposal which is not translating how sponsorship benefits can add value and ROI.  There can be a number of reasons why the sponsorship proposal doesn’t work, but we’d like to highlight the most important:

1. Rambling proposal: bear in mind that Marketing Managers are bombarded almost every day by emails from brands looking for sponsorship funding so make sure that your proposal is attractive and concise to gather their attention quickly. As a rule of thumb, a 2 page proposal with engaging pictures and testimonials would be more than sufficient.

2.  Lack of clarity: make sure the proposal includes a brief description of the event and focuses on how the sponsorship benefits can help them achieve their objectives.  Be very transparent in identifying what you will provide and how much it will cost.

3. Lack of media assets: sponsorship provides brands with content and positioning to maximise their exposure –providing opportunities to shout about their involvement is key.  Ensure you are able to guarantee media and marketing exposure and be explicit about the audience the sponsor will be exposed to.

4. Standard approach: a common mistake that right holders make is to send over standard emails with the sponsorship proposal.  A value proposition will be different for each brand strategy.  Do your research and tailor your sponsorship proposal to focus on how sponsoring your property will help them achieve their objectives.

5.  The wrong contact: you might have the best opportunity in the world clearly illustrated by a concise sponsorship proposal, but if you are sending it to the wrong person, it won’t make a difference.  Depending on the opportunity, you typically would look to speak with the PR/Communications Director, Brand Manager or most often the Marketing Director.  Make sure you know who you are contacting and why, which supplements point 4.

These are some key things you can start fixing right away, but if you want a more tailored solution, we are now offering our Sponsorship Boot Camp, which will help you create sponsorship proposals that turn into revenue.  You can find out more information here.

We have also launched our eNewsletter so you can ensure you receive sponsorship tips throughout the year.  Register here.

“We Have a Great Cause, Why Aren’t We Securing Sponsors?” 4th April, 2011

Charity Sponsorship: Top 3 Reasons Why You Aren’t Selling

I am often asked to provide consultancy to charities on how they can make their sponsorship propositions more attractive to brands.  The charities are often well known and have great causes – with well-planned and well-attended events.  Understandably, it’s difficult to understand why more brands aren’t getting involved. 

After experience and investigation with a number of our charity clients, I’ve discovered that there are some very simple tips to help make charity sponsorship proposals more attractive to secure sales.

1.  Is your sponsorship package worth what you are asking? 

Just because you need a certain amount, that doesn’t mean that your package is worth that amount.  Far too often I see sponsorship proposals that are clearly not valued based on their tangible benefits.  Of course there is a certain amount of association with the charity that is ‘priceless’, but this is not the sole (or even usually the key) reason marketing directors will align their brand to your cause.  However, the weight of sponsorship investment is assumed to be the majority of the charity association with media assets such as PR and print ads ‘thrown in’.  This is definitely not the approach to take when putting together your sponsorship proposition.  Marketing directors are a savvy bunch and they want to see tangible benefits to prove effectiveness.  Which brings me to my second point…

2.  Marketing directors are busy

Marketing directors receive thousands of proposals, opportunities, and ideas that they can choose from to promote their brand.  Your sponsorship proposal is not only competing with other charity proposals, but also all the other available marketing platforms that the brand can align themself to.  It is a cluttered market and you have to be clear and transparent.  Although beautiful powerpoint presentations with great pictures tend to look great – they make for impractical sponsorship proposals. 

Of course the sponsorship proposal will depend on your programme as this format can be effective for selling emotive campaigns.  However, more often than not, it is rarely the most suitable option.

3.  Make more time

Charities tend to work with limited resources and find it difficult to put all the plans in place well in advance.  As such, they don’t start approaching sponsors until they have all of the event information confirmed – typically 3 months before the event takes place.  This is typically the time they think it is appropriate to approach sponsors.

Although the event could be absolutely ideal for a brand’s positioning and objectives, very few brands have spare funds within their marketing budget or the additional resource to make use of the opportunity.  Marketing budgets are typically planned at least 1 year in advance.  Regardless of how much they may want to get involved, they will not have the budget to do so. 

As such, charities need to either:

a) start working on the events plan earlier,

b) start approaching brands earlier, or

c) aim to only secure sponsorship for the annual events that have a clear direction and plan in place.

We have recently signed some great charity clients (such as Mencap) and will be blogging more charity sponsorship tips throughout the year.  Make sure to check back often or subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss anything!

The Bribery Act's Implications on Sponsorship 17th March, 2011

If you weren’t yet aware, there is a battle in the UK on the draft Bribery Act, currently under review by the coalition government.  Should this act go through, it would have implications on the sponsorship industry.

Some key implications under the Bribery Act:

  • Will introduce a corporate offence of failure to prevent bribery by persons working on behalf of a business. A business can avoid conviction if it can show that it has adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery.
  • Make it a criminal offence to give, promise or offer a bribe and to request, agree to receive or accept a bribe either at home or abroad. The measures covers bribery of a foreign public official.
  • Increase the maximum penalty for bribery from 7 – 10 years imprisonment, with an unlimited fine.

Think!Sponsorship has teamed up with leading sponsorship lawyers Farrer & Co to poll the sponsorship industry regarding the Act and the use of hospitality.

Check out the session on hospitality and the Bribery Act at the upcoming conference on the 12th April 2011.  The session and the results of the poll should give both sponsors and rights holders an accurate idea of how to ensure they are compliant with the proposed Act and to discuss how corporate hospitality might stray into bribery.

Please make sure to participate by taking the survey here.

Results of which will be made available at the end of March 2011.

Charity Sponsorship: Top 5 Reasons Why Companies Get Involved 24th February, 2011

With the current economic downturn and the critical financial issues of the market, it is vital that companies find new ways to differentiate themselves against their competitors and increase brand awareness amongst their target audience.  There are a number of ways to do this, but one of the best ways to increase brand awareness is through sponsorship – specifically sponsorship in relation to charitable work and activities.

Brands have been involved with charities as part of their corporate social responsibility positioning for decades.  However, a recent occurrence that is increasing is linking brand support of charities through marketing campaigns and sponsorship activation.  Associating charitable support through sponsorship rights is an effective way to create an emotive response alongside the goodwill already built through their sponsorship activation.

But what are the reasons that drive a company to sponsor a charity? Although there are many reasons, here are our top 5:

1.  Increasing brand loyalty: sponsoring a charity is a business deal rather than a charitable donation. Companies choose to sponsor a charity in order to align their PR activity with a cause-related issue that enables them to build or increase their reputation amongst their target market.

2.  Brand differentiation: sponsoring a charity has the potential to differentiate their brand against other competitors who don’t support charities.

3.  Awareness and visibility: as charities typically rely on volunteers to run their business and have small marketing budgets, social media plays a vital role in their marketing strategy.  Brands who are involved with charitable work can typically work with the charities to utilise these social networks in order to promote their association providing a greater reach into a different audience.

4.  Highlighting corporate social responsibility: supporting a charity enhances a company’s credibility in a way that can spread a positive attitude amongst their audience and help them reach a new market.

5.  Client entertainment:  this can form a key part of a brands strategy, especially in regards to cultural or athletic events in which brands can activate their experiential marketing campaigns and/or meet with key individuals.

Need a Sponsorship Sales Consultant? Top 10 Things to Ask Yourself 21st February, 2011

The need for sponsorship sales consultants is apparent everywhere.  On almost every LinkedIn Group, Twitter feed, and on numerous email requests I see people looking for someone who can sell their property rights.  Considering money can be hard to come by, I understand the reasons why this is now one of the most sought after positions.  However, there are things that you should consider and things you need to be aware of before you take someone on.

In this blog, I’ll explain the Top 10 Things You Should Ask Yourself before considering hiring a sponsorship sales agency or consultant. There are variations of sponsorship consultants – those that work on commission-only, those that work on tactical, those that work with sports personalities, and many more variations.

In this first blog of a series, we’ll start by looking at whether you even need one and if you do, can you support one?

  1. Do you need a sponsorship sales consultant?  If you have enough resource and staff with a good knowledge of both your property and an idea of what sponsorship can achieve, then you might not even need a sponsorship sales consultant.  If you don’t have this, then…
  2. Can you outsource sponsorship sales to another sales department?  Sometimes this can be disastrous – most often when the media ad sales team tries to take this task on.  However, sometimes all it needs is a bit of sponsorship sales training and the right sponsorship proposals for your media ad sales teams to hit the ground running.
  3. Do you understand sponsorship strategy?  If you are unsure about what sponsorship assets you own and how to package them, typically you will need more than just a sponsorship sales consultant, you will need a sponsorship agency to valuate rights, put together a strategy and do the research.
  4. Do you know if your property rights can be sold?  History is a great way to understand what rights you have and if there is a market for them.  However, many rights owners are just starting to integrate these strategies and are unsure of whether it can be done.  As such, you really should determine the evaluation of the rights first before you waste time and resource in outsourcing sales that haven’t been strategically developed in the first place.  You should evaluate your sponsorship rights before even considering hiring a sponsorship sales consultant.
  5. Is sponsorship an organisational goal?  Sponsorship takes a lot of time and effort (even if sales are outsourced) within an organisation.  If it is not an organisational goal, it will often get left behind and sales (whether done internally or externally) will not be successful.  It takes a whole organisation to support this activity and the resource should not be underestimated.  However saying that, sponsorship can help drive organisational change and innovation – we just suggest that everyone is behind the idea before you get started.
  6. Are there politics within offering sponsorship?  Sponsorship can sometimes be a tricky thing to integrate due to politics.  Sponsorship sales consultants who are not involved with the strategy may not appreciate these constraints without having a more long-term approach to working with your rights.
  7. Do you have senior staff and/or board members who will be against new sponsors coming on board?  If this is the case, it will be difficult to get sponsors involved and those that do get involved with have difficulty activating their sponsorship and will not renew, making your sponsorship unsustainable.
  8. Do you understand your objectives with integrating sponsorship?  Sponsorship not only can become a new revenue stream, it can also reduce costs.  This is a great avenue, especially for new property rights and needs to be considered when approaching brands.  Understanding the objectives and all the benefits you can achieve through sponsorship is important before hiring consultants so you can measure performance against KPIs.
  9. Do you have enough time?  Sponsorship tends to be an afterthought when budgets haven’t been met.  This creates a situation of distress sales and can often be detrimental to the rights owners.  This needs to be communicated carefully and sales need to be strategically thought out.
  10. Do you know who to go to?  Putting out random messages on social networks is not the best way to find sponsorship sales consultants.  You need recommendations from people who have worked with them or have done the research.  As mentioned, it is quite easy to call yourself a sponsorship sales consultant because so many people are in need.  However, you need to do due diligence to ensure your programme is not dependent on people who cannot do the job.

Further to Question 10, we’ve had so many properties looking for consultants so we’ve put together an industry roster of sponsorship sales consultants.  If you every need advice, please email info@slingshotsponsorship.com with your brief, property rights, and location and we will try and pair you up with a consultant that is most relevant to what you are looking to achieve.

For any sponsorship sales consultants who want to be on our roster, please check out this blog in order to qualify.

Email Newsletter Sponsorship: How to do it and Why 17th January, 2011

Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels available, ensuring a wide reaching audience and proven results.  E-Newsletters are particularly useful for organisations as a tool for communicating with customers, building engagement, driving traffic, and directing customers to key content.  And, with a groundswell of readers behind it, an email newsletter can be used as a platform for sponsorship –  providing a great revenue opportunity as well as a great marketing opportunity for potential brand partners  to create new engagement opportunities with your audiences. 

Sponsorship of e-Newsletters can be a powerful way to tap into a new customer segments and  aligning your brand to relevant and complimentary  topics or propositions.  It helps increase exposure in a receptive environment (your customers’ inbox) and can subtly promote your brand whilst gaining goodwill through association.

For the converted, there are a variety of e-Newsletter sponsorship investment levels to consider, which vary according to type of audience (mass market B2C vs niche market B2B), frequency (daily vs monthly), and style of content (promotions vs editorial).  From a cost perspective, most range between £1,000 and £3,500 a campaign (which may translate to a one off, mass market hit, or a monthly ‘takeover’ of display ads). 

A great example of an e-Newsletter sponsorship opportunity is eConsultancy, who offer a prime position on their daily alerts for £2,250, which is sent out to a 10,000 to 12,000 opted-in subscriber list. 

However, not all e-Newsletters are appropriate for the task.  There are a few points that we always take into consideration when talking to clients about before considering this style of sponsorship.  Here’s a quick overview:

1.  Audience: an e-Newsletter can only be sponsored if it attracts an audience that is either sufficiently large or very niche.  To state the obvious, B2C e-Newsletters require a large audience to be of interest, whilst B2B e-Newsletters can deliver value with smaller audiences with greater purchasing power.  If you have an e-Newsletter that might be attractive to sponsors, but you don’t yet have a sponsorship sales strategy, you will need to demonstrate value in your audience through proof  of size, quality and engagement of your audience.  Most email marketing applications will provide you with basic analytics tools to generate this information.

 2.  Measurement: ROI is key to sponsorship and vital for brand sponsors when choosing who to spend their marketing budget with.  Analytics tools will also provide publishers and sponsors with all of the necessary metrics to understand views, click throughs and open rates; and it is this data that will ensure that pricing and value for money are maintained at the right level.

 3.  Resource: sponsorship is not just about attaching someone else’s brand to yours.  For this style of sponsorship to be successful there needs to be a dedicated team behind it that understands data, brand synergies, and the ability to unearth unseen co-branding opportunities.  This is no small task, but this kind of attention to campaign management can turn e-Newsletter sponsorship opportunities into gold.

5 Sponsorship Predictions for 2011 5th January, 2011

We anticipate that 2011 is going to be a great year with a lot of changes in sponsorship.  Not only for Slingshot Sponsorship, having recently signed some exciting clients including Haymarket and London Irish, but also for the sponsorship industry as a whole.  With the Olympics around the corner, an interesting shift in marketing that has occurred as cause of the recession last year, as well as public funding cuts, we think sponsorship will take on a whole new meaning in 2011.  We anticipate it will be a shift for current sponsors, rights holders, and brands alike looking to break into sponsorship.  We can’t wait! 

But before the year starts, we thought we’d put some of our 2011 predications together and then see how they play out!

  1. More Engaging Sponsorship Campaigns: following the trend seen in 2010, we anticipate that the industry will become more creative in regards to creating brand engagement campaigns through sponsorship.  Especially with the 2012 Olympics around the corner, everyone will be vying for the title of activation champion and devising some thought provoking campaigns to catch the attention of brands. 
  2. Decrease in Brand Ambassadors: after the backlash of negative publicity surrounding Tiger Woods and Wayne Rooney, we expect that we’ll see a decrease in the sponsorship of individuals and signing of brand ambassadors.  Especially considering that the economic climate is still difficult, marketing directors are finding more red tape in regards to negotiations with the leading sports and music stars.
  3. Increase in Sponsored Events and Tournaments: as a result of the decrease in brand ambassadors, brands will be looking to for new sponsorship opportunities to align themselves through main sponsorship of the events and/or tournaments.  This will provide brands the opportunity to align themselves to the sport while minimising the risk of negative individual publicity.
  4.  Increase in Digital Sponsorship: digital sponsorship activation is starting to really take shape and drive sponsorship opportunities.  In 2010, we saw an increase in iGaming companies sponsoring sports – especially premier league football.  The introduction of these sponsorship deals has helped develop the rights owner’s digital strategy with the sponsor, enabling them to create synergy of digital resource.  Our favourite digital sponsorship campaign in 2010 was the Manchester United vs Manchester City online campaign with slogans that fans could submit online for the promotional campaign produced by Betfair.  This showed a great leap in digital sponsorship activation led by a digital sector based sponsor.
  5. Cluttered Market for Public Funding: due to public funding cuts in the United Kingdom, we anticipate that there will be an influx of adequately written sponsorship proposals for fantastic CRM programmes sent directly to brands.  As such, this will make it harder for sponsorship proposals to really stand out from the crowd.  This creates a great opportunity for sponsorship agencies to help educate the market and aid in creating credible and sustainable sponsorship programmes in 2011.

Whatever 2011 holds, we’ll be sure to keep you posted on our Slingshot Sponsorship Blog.  To ensure you don’t miss anything, please sign up on the right hand side of this post.

Slingshot Sponsorship wishes you all the best for 2011!


The Challenges Facing Sponsorship Evaluation 8th December, 2010

So What’s Wrong With Sponsorship Evaluation? Right now sponsorship evaluation should be a hot topic. Sponsorship spend continues to rise year on year and with the current economic situation you would think being able to demonstrate ROI would be critical right? Despite this evaluation budgets are still seemingly being cut left right and centre. So what prevents the sponsorship industry from embracing evaluation?

Here are seven possible reasons…

1. Poor objectives result in poor evaluation: Effective evaluation relies on being able to evaluate whether sponsorship objectives have been met. So if no objectives have been set, or if they simply aren’t measurable any research you commission is ultimately going to be a waste of money. However, few research companies are going to turn down the opportunity to spend your money just because you give them un-measurable objectives. The result…the industry gets flooded with ineffective evaluation.  At this point marketing directors cut budgets as the research tells them nothing they don’t already know.

The misconception that evaluation results in the termination of a sponsorship programme: In reality that is very unlikely. In the majority of cases the decision to sponsor, although not always based on sound consumer insight, is at least logical and follows good common sense. No one is going to question a beer brand that chooses to align themselves with a social occasion like a music festival. So once this basic fit has been confirmed the evaluation should be able to provide a steer to improve the effectiveness of future planned activations. e.g. Increase spend for on-site activations that deliver cut through and decrease spend on radio adverts which research shows are failing to cut through. If the evaluation can’t do this, the conclusion is your budgets probably could be better spent.

Connected to point two is point three…

3. Conflict of interests: The person most likely to commission sponsorship evaluation is the very same person that created the programme or brokered the deal. Why would you want tangible evidence to show you have wasted your employers’ money? Suddenly selling sponsorship evaluation has become a lot harder! However, let’s go back to point two. There needs to be a mindset change, sponsorship evaluation should be commissioned to help fine-tune the effectiveness of the campaign. Evaluation is a tool that can help the sponsorship look better not worse, if vanity is really so important.

4. Limited understanding of the benefits: Sponsorship evaluation should be your friend. Here is how it can help. i. If you have tangible evidence that proves sponsorship has driven bottom line value it is much easier for you to protect your future sponsorship budgets. ii. Evaluation can be used during re-negotiations to ensure rights fees are kept in-line with the likely returns for the business based on previous experience with that property. iii. Consistently planned evaluation can be used to compare the performance of sponsorship programmes within your portfolio, so you can easily see which ones are delivering the best returns and how best to allocate future budgets. iv. Evaluation helps you understand the effectiveness of all your communication touchpoints, so if radio is providing less consumer cut through you will know to switch your focus to an activity which is working more effectively.

5. It’s too expensive: It is true consumer research can be expensive, but anyone can begin to understand and benchmark their sponsorship activity without spending a penny. Ok this output data won’t tell you about the effects of sponsorship but it can help you understand the reach comparative to the other activities within your portfolio, and that’s a start. Output data can include: Unique website visitors, event attendee numbers, number of free samples distributed, competition entries, number of VIP guests that actually showed up. Suddenly you have a way of benchmarking your sponsorship portfolio.

6. Advertising equivalency values (AVEs) / media evaluation has damaged the credibility of evaluation: The sponsorship evaluation industry was founded on media evaluation with students using stopwatches to calculate the length of time a sponsors’ logo was exposed, this exposure time was then turned into a figure purporting to show what this coverage would be worth if it was bought as advertising. How on earth did this ever become the established form of evaluation?

Well going back to point 3 if you don’t want to risk your programme from being cut, this is perfect. You get a simple figure, which suggests to your bosses you are delivering real monetary value to the business and no one has the time or desire to rock the boat. There are tons of reasons why advertising equivalency value is pointless, but here is one. Advertising is evaluated on effectiveness, not the cost to buy the space. So why should sponsorship be different?

7. The poor definition of sponsorship: Every sponsorship agency has at some time tried to write their own definition of what sponsorship actually means. Most practitioners would agree it is a two-way or mutually beneficial transaction between the rights holder and the sponsor. The sponsor gains access to valuable rights and the rights holder benefits from sponsor money or expertise through a value in kind deal. However, incredibly very few definitions ever suggest that a sponsorship should be directly linked to the business bottom line and generate actual sales.  What message does this send out? You can blow thousands if not millions on sponsorship activity and never have to worry about proving a return. Sounds like a cop-out.

History suggests that in times of recession creativity and business agility come to the fore. Could this be the time when sponsorship finally grows up and begins to prove its true worth? Let’s hope so.


Top 10 Sponsorship Sales Tips 6th December, 2010

Sponsorship sales cannot be done by ad sales teams!

Great sponsorship sales people are hard to come by.  Successful sponsorship sales people typically have a unique combination of skills including marketing, planning, communication and of course sales to be able to stay in the industry.  We try to help uncover the secrets of success by outlining Slingshot Sponsorship’s Top 10 Sponsorship Sales tips:

  1. Sell the benefit: in sponsorship, benefits vary depending on the sponsor company and rights owner.  Sponsorship sales people are able to articulate this by taking one benefit and adjusting it to meet the needs of the prospect.  For example, a VIP table at an event may be perfect for dining clients as well as equally perfect for incentivising staff.  This leads on to the second tip…
  2. Do your research: in order to sell the benefit, you need to understand the prospect’s objectives and how your sponsorship can meet those needs.
  3. Speak in their language: although everyone in the sponsorship industry understands what activation is, the CEO of a telecommunications company who has never sponsored anything previously will not know what this means.  By speaking in the same language, you are not only understanding the prospect, but also making it very easy for them to say yes.
  4. Create tangible benefits: brand association is a word thrown around a lot.  Of course this is one of the benefits of sponsorship; however, is incredibly difficult to justify.  Great sponsorship sales people talk about prestige of association, but rarely lead with this.
  5. Measurement: sponsorship sales people understand ROI and how to attribute sponsorship to it.  Measurement is key and is always brought up in sponsorship sales conversations.
  6. Mimic body language: by mirroring their body language (not in an obvious way!) you help make them feel at ease.
  7. Listen: without listening, you won’t understand the brief or their objectives.
  8. Provide solutions: sponsorship is a cost-effective marketing technique with added value.  Explaining sponsorship as a marketing tool and comparing this against their other marketing platforms within their marketing mix is key.
  9. Talk about their business: by understanding their business, you will be well on your way to helping their business.
  10. Smile: people like to work with people that they like.  This of course doesn’t always happen, but it goes a long way in deciding who to build a long term relationship with!

Sponsorship Measurement on Customer Behaviour is Key 13th November, 2010

For the majority of all sponsorship pitches, measurement is typically the last thing the sponsorship agency talks about when discussing sponsorship activation and rights purchase.  It is of course within the pitch, but it is normally the last slide of the presentation and tends to include some very basic charts and graphs about how measurement will take place.  Although sponsorship pitches used to work to perfection with beautiful images of the sponsors logo ‘zoomed’ in with great PowerPoint accuracy, this tends to only work when money and client spending is in excess, which no longer applies in our current economic climate.  Results and ROI are now priority and many sponsorship agencies are struggling.

This is not to say that sponsorship does not bring fantastic results and ROI; however, is more a comment on the fact that sponsorship historically is built around building brand awareness, which can be difficult to measure.  Results have also not always been the key reasons brands have sponsored in the past, typically looking for an affinity between the product and audience.  This no longer is the case.  In an era of increased accountability, rights owners and sponsorship agencies need to work together to create a consistent approach to measurement and ROI.

With the sponsorship industry priding itself on understanding audience and fans, it seems ironic that it is slow to recognise and respond to their sponsors’ needs for return on investment. 

A measure on customer behaviour is key.  For example, will the sponsorship bring in new customers and/or retain existing customers?  If you can demonstrate a positive result for this, then you have achieved success.

 – Mike Thompson, former Global Head of Sponsorship for E.ON

Some key tips for sponsorship measurement include:

  • Understand the brand objectives at the outset
  • Measure a baseline at the beginning
  • Identify focus groups that fit your sponsorship campaign profile
  • Measure sponsorship campaign and cost against a similar sole brand marketing campaign to prove the benefits synergy and engagement

Sponsorship is and can be hugely successful as a marketing platform, especially when it is attributed to return on investment.  However, the sponsorship industry needs to work together in order to overcome the prejudice of corporate excess and prove results.


How to Integrate Sponsorship & Deliver ROI 3rd November, 2010

Sponsorship and brand partnerships are on the rise and almost mentioned as much as the terms social media and integrated marketing.  However, not everyone seems to understand how to go about finding sponsorship funding or how to deliver a return on investment.  Perhaps not as sexy as integration or social media, sponsorship and brand partnerships are actually much more interesting as they work within these medium as well incorporated above and below the line channels.  The flexibility of sponsorship in the marketing environment opens up a world of possibilities, but with so many options, it can be difficult to understand the benefits.

Three top tips when considering sponsorship opportunities for your brand:

  • Is sponsorship right for me?  Even before you decide on your goals, you must first make sure that sponsorship is the best way to communicate with your audience.  Sponsorship is a great addition to your marketing mix, but only if it achieves your objectives and is planned out in a strategic way.  A starting point for deciding whether sponsorship is the right fit would be understanding the audience and making sure that the audience is your target market.  If they are not, any sponsorship messages, no matter how amazing they might be, will be lost.
  • Know your goals – In the planning stages, it is important to know your objectives for sponsorship at the outset.  Sponsorship chosen to help get your brand some ‘face time’ will have different measurables than sponsorship chosen to give back to the community.  Typically it will be a mixture of a variety of key benefits: showcasing expertise, aligning with another brand, sharing costs of marketing, supporting a good cause, and corporate entertainment.  As mentioned, regardless of the key benefits you are looking for as a sponsor, in order for sponsorship to be effective, you must certain that you are reaching your target audience.  The rights owner should have a proven track record of engaging with your target audience.    
  • Set objectives for your sponsorship campaign – Make sure that you are measuring both brand engagement as well as sales increases.  These should be measureable and have targets set.  Throughout the term of the sponsorship, these targets will assess which elements of your sponsorship are most successful and will allow you to focus more on the activation of that element.  By continually measuring and assessing your sponsorship campaign against targets you will be more cost-effective as well as flexible to take up new opportunities to further leverage your original rights package.
  • Sponsorship is not just about attaching your logo on the next promotional bulletin or making sure your brand has ‘face time’ at the next event, it is strategic and should engage your audience to be effective.  Thought needs to go into developing these sponsorship relationships so that they reach their full potential.  When they do – they can be incredibly successful and your audience will be begging for more!


    Top Ten Questions to ask your Sponsorship Agency 26th October, 2010

    When you’re looking to engage the services of a sponsorship agency, it’s critical that you do your homework. Whether you’re looking for tactical sponsorship or to establish more strategic sponsorships, you need to ensure that the sponsorship agency can deliver on your expectations. Before you sign on the dotted line, you need to be confident that the sponsorship agency has the knowledge, experience and expertise necessary to manage the complexities of a sponsorship relationship and is savvy enough to leverage the benefits.

    To ensure that you get off on the right footing, here’s a list of the top ten questions you should ask the account managers of any prospective sponsorship agency. Remember, it’s important to find out the answers to these questions at the outset; leave it any later and you might get the answers you can’t afford to receive.

    1. Where do you think we need help?

    Of course, it’s in the best interest of the sponsorship agency to provide a range of services beyond your stated requirements. However, asking this question sheds light on the sponsorship agency’s range of in-house skills. 

    2. Why do you think we’ve been unsuccessful in the past with getting or activating sponsorship?

    &

    3. What’s the key thing you believe we’re failing in with regards to sponsorship?

    The answers to both questions may be patently obvious to you, but the sponsorship agency’s analysis should reveal other aspects of the issues that you have yet to consider.

    4. Do you have any clients with similar property rights to ours and how successful were you in helping them achieve their goals? 

    Whether you operate in the fields of sport, fashion, entertainment or B2B, you need to be confident that the sponsorship agency understands your sector and has a good contacts network.

    5. How many people work at your sponsorship agency and how many of you will be working on my campaign? 

    It doesn’t take a team of hundreds to manage a sponsorship relationship, but you need to ensure that your sponsorship agency has the resources necessary to manage your campaign effectively.

    6. Who will be our account manager at the sponsorship agency and will they be actively promoting our partnership?

    Building strong working relationships with the people you’re entrusting to manage your sponsorship programme is vital to its success. If the agency person you initially meet won’t be your main contact, then insist that the account manager who will be gets involved with your discussions from early on.

    7. What measures will you put in place to track the success of our sponsorship campaign?

    Whether it’s ROI, brand awareness or number of engagements, make sure you understand how the sponsorship agency will measure the success of your sponsorship campaign.  This is vital as measures should be discussed in the initial meetings so both parties understand what goals they are helping each other achieve.

    8. Do you have experience of integrating digital marketing with sponsorship campaigns? 

    Email, mobile and social media marketing are now routinely integrated with sponsorship programmes to maximise engagement and response. Make sure the digital element can be centrally managed by the sponsorship agency and they have a good grasps on the basic concepts.

    9. [For media rights owners only] Do you have a contacts database of prospective companies in search of sponsorship opportunities?

    Any agency worth its salt should be able to sell sponsorship for your property, as well as manage the sponsorship relationship. If their contacts book isn’t bulging then make sure you find out how they’ll source prospective sponsors.

    10. What are your sponsorship agency fees? 

    It goes without saying that the cost of the fees you’ll be charged will factor heavily in your budgeting plans. But make sure you judge what you will be charged by the potential ROI, be it in terms of sponsorship sales, heightened brand profile or increased customer response.


    Top Ten Sponsorship Blogs You Should Read 13th October, 2010

    I recently attended the Think!Sponsorship Conference held in London and one of the most practical tips that I took back to Slingshot Sponsorship (aside from long-term sponsorship strategy ideas) was that blogs with ‘Top Tens’ tend to be the most popular and the most shared.  This struck a cord with me – although I have a top ten tips list in my head and I always tend to retweet and read top tips, I have never actually put together blogs sharing this information.

    As such, I will aim to add some Top Ten Sponsorship Lists to our Slingshot Sponsorship Blog, the first being our list of top ten sponsorship blogs you should read.  Sponsorship blogs are one of the most important resources we use at Slingshot Sponsorship as it helps keep us up-to-date with all the sponsorship deals and news both nationally and internationally.  Our team at Slingshot Sponsorship pride ourselves in continually learning from others, so we read these sponsorship blogs religiously and you should too!

    Slingshot Sponsorship’s Top Ten Sponsorship Blogs (not in order!)

    1. Brand Republic & Marketing Week: These are great sources of sponsorship information for some of the big deals that come through with a focus on the UK.  Also is a great source for innovative marketing campaigns and brand partnership ideas.
    2. Sponsorship & Sports Marketing: This is a great resource for sponsorship information as well as sponsorship blogs in the UK.
    3. IEG Sponsorship Blog: This blog holds practical information for people wanting more information on how to create successful sponsorships.
    4. Sponsorship Insights Group: Great breakdown of blog categories so you can find the sponsorship information you need quickly.
    5. Power Sponsorship: Well known in the industry, Kim Skildum-Reid provides practical sponsorship knowledge and best practice tips.
    6. Partnership Activation: Great blog that focuses on brand partnerships – fantastic for case studies.
    7.  Sponsorship Consulting Blog: Sponsorship blog, with a focus on sport sponsorship.
    8. Generate Sponsorship Blog: Great for sport sponsorship activations and opinions in the sponsorship industry.
    9. Synergy Sponsorship Blog: Great for reviews and updates from both a sponsorship and brand perspective.
    10. Slingshot Sponsorship Blog: And of course, we couldn’t miss out our own blog featuring sponsorship insight, top sponsorship tips, and general sponsorship and brand partnership developments.

    If you have any other sponsorship blogs you’d like to share, please be sure to add your comments and your sponsorship links below!

    Happy reading!


    How SMEs can utilise Sponsorship to Grow 24th September, 2010

    Sponsorship gives the impression that only international brands and high salary footballers can benefit from these strategies, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

    Sponsorship by its nature is a partnership opportunity for two organisations to create synergy.  Synergy creates savings for both businesses and so should really be something every company should undertake – especially in an economic climate such as ours.  Small businesses are even better organisations to undertake sponsorship initiatives as they are more flexible providing them the opportunity to leverage their sponsorship activation strategy when and as it is needed with the opportunities that arise.

    Small Business Sponsors Supporting the Community

    Sponsorship works for businesses who understand their target audience.  This needs to be the starting point.  Once you understand your target audience, you then have to consider where this audience communicates and how you can communicate with them.  Community sponsorship programmes are a great starting point, especially in the ways of sport.

    Many school and community sporting events/teams are desperate for sponsorship to provide their athletes with new equipment.  Sponsoring these teams can be a cost-effective way to build brand awareness to your community.  This works especially well if you are a business who deals with customers within your area – such as restaurants, flower shops, etc.  If you considered the amount of people who are attending the games (both home and away!) and compare that to an advertisement spend in your local paper, I’m sure you will see the benefits.  In addition to providing a CSR programme for your company and its employees. 

    Getting involved with community sponsorship programmes such as sport can also bring an additional element of staff engagement to your business.  If this is your objective, speak with the organisers of the event(s) you are sponsoring and see what opportunities you could create.  It might be that your local pizza shop provides pizza for the team when they have won a game or that your staff help out at practice.  This will give your staff the opportunity to be a part of something bigger – part of the community and part of your company – through your sponsorship.

    Contra Agreements to Provide Your Services

    Your business offers a great service or product which others need.  A great way to get involved with sponsorship with little investment would be to provide your services or products for free in return for sponsorship of an event/programme or perhaps your branding within their communications to their clients.  The key to choosing the right sponsorship contra agreement is to make sure that the event you are sponsoring and the sponsorship proposals you are considering have a large enough audience for you to gain the benefit of reaching them.

    Another great example of SME sponsorship is from one of our current sponsors Phil Stannard Associates.  A small audio visual company, but with great potential, they approached the DMA Awards to get involved.  Through a contra deal, they are now the Judging Event Sponsors – an event that brings together 200 of the most influential people in the marketing industry during a four day event.  With no financial investment, they are able to showcase their services and their equipment to the people that are most likely to purchase from them in the future providing them significant ROI moving forward.

    These are just a couple of the thousand ideas that are out there on how SME’s can integrate sponsorship within their organisation and utilise the benefits that many of the top brands receive, just at a smaller investment level.  If you ever need further sponsorship tips, be sure to check out our Top Sponsorship Tips on the Slingshot Sponsorship website.


    Need Sponsorship? Our top tips will show you how! part II 13th September, 2010

    Our last blog gave you some tips for sponsorship seekers and here are some more for you to take away with you!

    Tip: Internal buy-in is key

    There is only so much one individual can do to make the sponsor feel like a partner.  It is imperative that the whole organisation recognises and realises the benefit of sponsorship for the organisation and doesn’t look at it as a hassle or more work.  If you cannot get your team to work with you and your sponsor, you will be unable to provide one of the core objectives of the sponsorship – mutual benefits through partnership activity.

    Tip: Look beyond logo placement

    Sponsorship is about engaging an audience and creating a meaningful experience.  By understanding the sponsor’s objectives you can work together to create this.   I cannot stress this enough, sponsorship is not about putting your sponsors logo on your marketing.  It needs to go beyond logo placement to create brand engagement and touchpoints with the audience so the partnership resonates.  Only then will sponsorship be successful.

    Tip: Understand your prospects

    Tailored sponsorship proposals are the only option when you are looking to generate significant sponsorship funding.  Understanding your prospect’s business and budget timelines is key to building these relationships.  With so much information available, there should be no excuses for not doing your homework and really finding the value underlying the proposition.

    Tip: Account management

    Account management is the key to a successful and sustainable sponsor relationship.  Ideally, you should be looking to have long-term sponsors who continually fund your sponsorship proposals because they find value in their relationship and they enjoy the positive working relationship you provide.  Making your sponsor feel like a partner by involving them in every step of the way will enable stronger engagement by them with you and your sponsorship platform.

    Tip: Get help

    Sponsorship can be very complex and it is simply not about asking for funding because you have a great proposition.  When done properly, it will not only help to fund your activities, but will also create a meaningful relationship between your organisation, your sponsors and your audience – significantly adding value to your whole business.  Information on how to create sponsorship proposals or information on how to create sponsorship opportunities can be found online, through forums, blogs, and books.  Specialist sponsorship agencies like Slingshot Sponsorship can also provide training and consulting to help integrate a successful sponsorship department into your organisation.


    Need Sponsorship? Our top tips will show you how! part I 10th September, 2010

    With the recent surge in corporate sponsorship in the UK, sponsorship proposals are coming in faster than ever.  However, with so many new organisations and events trying their hand at sponsorship funding, not all of these sponsorship proposals are maximising the total funding available.  This is due to the lack of specific knowledge in this area as sponsorship professionals can be hard to come by and are rarely located within an organisation.  Most often sponsorship is championed by the Marketing Director who rarely has the time and resource to make the most of their sponsorship opportunities. 
    To save some time and money take note of Slingshot Sponsorship’s top tips for organisations requesting sponsorship:

    Tip: Sponsorship isn’t about you!

    Sponsorship happens because you can provide an audience, which helps sponsors reach their objectives.  Sponsorship is not simply about someone helping you fund your opportunity or great idea.  You need to look at sponsorship as a product you are selling.  Most people do not like to pay for something and leave the store empty handed.

    Tip: Sponsorship proposals should focus on benefits

    Your sponsorship proposal should focus on the benefits you can help them realise.  Although there are sponsorship programmes that are for corporate social responsibility, the majority are not, and even if they are, they still need to see ROI.  Make sure to focus on these commercial benefits rather than the event itself in the sponsorship proposal.

    Tip: Get the right fit

    Prospects should be approached who share the same target audience and values.  This will not only ensure that the prospect is marketing to their key audience, but also creates an associated brand experience.

    Keep following our blog – part II is coming up next!


    Sponsorship for Professional Associations 1st September, 2010

     Sponsorship revenue for professional associations in the UK is a booming business.

    With marketing budgets being scruitinised, value for membership in professional associations is fierce.  Professional associations have had no other option, but to start thinking outside the box through mergers, partnerships, and shared expenses.  However, one emerging trend is the value and integration of sponsorship departments being led internally or outsourced by specialist agencies.

    As sponsorship takes on many different forms, it requires professional associations to think more about integration and relationships for their members rather than monetary expectations, which have been the ways of the past. 

    By maximising their current assets through sponsorship, professional associations have the ability to create value for their members, their bottom line, and prospective members who attend the events.  In this type of relationship – sponsorship is exceedingly successful.

    A great example is the Direct Marketing Association UK.  With over 50 current sponsors, the DMA has been able to successful help its members get in front of a niche audience of marketing professionals. Some companies have also taken advantage of larger packages which encompass the sponsorship of the DMA’s entire activities in a specific sector.

    One such company is consumer credit and business information specialist, Equifax, which provides a range of services to support companies marketing to consumers and businesses.  Reflecting its influence and authority in the marketing data arena, Equifax has become the DMA’s Overall Data Sponsor which includes sponsorship of DataSeal, the DMA Awards, regional activity, and the Data Tracking Study.

    Laura Marlow, Marketing Manager for Equifax Marketing Services, says that becoming the DMA’s overall data sponsor was the perfect way for promoting Equifax as The Heart of Data Intelligence:

    “Marketers have faced some real challenges this year, making it more important than ever that they have access to properly targeted, good quality data.  Our role as overall data sponsor of the DMA has put us in an excellent position to make marketers aware of the services we offer, enhancing our brand and reputation in this important sector.  We look forward to continuing to work with the DMA and its members to maximise the full potential of marketing data to create the most impactful and cost-effective campaigns.”

    Chris Combemale, the DMA’s executive director, states that sponsorship is crucial to the mission of the DMA:

    “Through the additional revenue of sponsorship, we can expand the number of professional services we provide, as well the number of insight and networking events we offer.  These activities are integral to our purpose of promoting the business interests of our members and driving the growth of the direct marketing industry.  Of course, through pairing our sponsor partners with suitably themed platforms we ensure maximum relevance and mutual benefit to their target market.”

    Sponsorship agencies have an integral part to play in helping professional associations harness this revenue and creating successful partnerships.  By creating a sustainable revenue stream to supplement event and membership fees, sponsorship can help your organisation continue creating value for the industry.


    Sponsorship Measurement 26th August, 2010

    Measuring sponsorship is one of the most important services a sponsorship agency or property partner can provide.  With innumerable ways to measure marketing ROI, it is important that sponsorship provides the same value.  It is also one of the crucial points that will decide whether or not sponsors renew.

    A sponsorship agency should not only help you deliver value, but it should also measure it. 

    Three key tips to measuring sponsorship

    1.      Understand the audience

    This should go beyond standard demographic information and include insight on how the audience you are targeting engages with the brand.  In order to build a brand relationship through a sponsorship platform, you need to understand where the current relationship sits.  This will act as a baseline for measurement as well as informing the brand and activation teams in order to help leverage the sponsorship.

     2.     Lay the groundwork

    In any type of collaboration, it is very important that each party understands the roles they will undertake to achieve their objectives.  It is also very important that all parties understand the other’s business – the better understanding of the partner and nature of the relationship, the easier it will be to understand where synergy can be achieved.

    This should be discussed right from the beginning of the contract negotiation.  Once signed, both parties should walk away knowing exactly what they will be bringing to the relationship.  By encouraging this, measurement goals can be set against achievables.

    3.  Provide valuable data

    Data capture during the entire sponsorship campaign – include post-event, is incredibly valuable for assessing the success of the sponsorship.  Measuring a sponsor’s impact can be done through fulfilment surveys, surveying social media buzz, interviews, focus groups and third party research.

    Surveys and feedback forms can be an easy way to not only measure the success of the sponsorship programme, but also can add value to the sponsor by providing them a few sponsor-related questions.  In addition, feedback can provide both parties with insight needed to make the next event even better.

    These tips are just some of the ways you can work together to ensure that the sponsorship relationship you build is tangible, which will be key in creating sustainable partnerships.


    Sponsorship Sales: Selling the Benefit 25th August, 2010

    I recently saw a sponsorship tweet tip that said, “Think about how you can benefit the sponsors business, before you make an approach.”  My immediate reaction to this tweet was that it was absolutely ridiculous (sorry tweeter!) – OF COURSE the sponsorship proposal should be about how the opportunity should benefit the sponsor’s business; it would be ridiculous to think otherwise.  If you did think otherwise, you’d just be asking for money, free money at that.  And no one wants to give away free money.

    However, upon further consideration, this tip may not be as ridiculous as it immediately seemed.  Slingshot Sponsorship helps brands and rights owners create sponsorship proposals for their assets and it is true that we stress this in every training session – the proposal needs to highlight the benefit not the event, platform, inspiration, etc.  The more specific the tailored benefit, the more likely that you will get your prospects attention.

    The first stage in this process is to understand your prospect’s brand and really understand what drives their business. Thankfully, we live in a world where this information is at our fingertips, so there is no excuse for poor sponsorship proposals.  If you have the time, we’d also recommend that you meet with your prospect or at least speak with them over the phone so you can get a real understanding about what their marketing objectives are. 

    One of the benefits of using sponsorship as a marketing platform to build brand relationships is that it can be incredibly flexible and tailored.  Sponsorship can be used across all media channels and all media sectors.  For this reason, you should be able to create an engaging campaign tailored to your prospect.  Benefits will arise from these tailored sponsorship proposals and will be the only way to successfully sell sponsorship.

    Make sure to keep following our blog as we will be putting out tips on writing sponsorship proposals throughout the year!