My controversial stance on “the current climate”
5th September, 2017
The British public have been told that funding and corporate sponsorship is a bleak business. Our sports, health, arts and culture sectors are battling those strong arm brands who are becoming increasingly “difficult”. Nevertheless, those underdogs continue their uphill struggle whilst we root from the side lines.
I hate to burst your bubble, but despite the hundreds of articles, interviews and broadcasts, this is just not so.
Let’s start with the facts:
- Industry: sponsorship spend in 2016 was $60.1 billion USD, which was a 4.6% increase since 2015. The amount of sponsorship dollars spent has continued to increase. More importantly sponsorship growth has outpaced advertising growth since 2014 and just recently surpassed marketing/promotional spend in 2016. In short, sponsorship spending is on the rise.
- Market: sponsorship is being purchased by businesses and business is also on the rise. Globally there are over 100 million start-ups launched each year and in the UK alone we have seen 429,950 businesses launch since the start of this year. We have also seen an increase in businesses of all sectors start contributing to sponsorship with law firms, online networks, and new technology getting in on the action.
So if both spend and new customers are increasing dramatically, why the sullen faces when it comes to pitching sponsorship opportunities?
The fundamental issue is the proposition. No one seems to know what they are selling.
The best and worst thing about sponsorship is that it can be very intangible – you can’t touch and feel a sponsorship like you can a t-shirt or even an employee. The benefit of this is that you can work with your future partners to shape and structure the end result. The negative is that many people find it incredibly difficult to sell something they can’t see.
However, there are many individuals and agencies who can help NGOs and rights holders build a strong proposition and formulate the opportunity so it’s easily understood (but most importantly bought) by brands. The issue is that 99% of these people go out and try and do it alone. Most fail to recognise that this is a specific skill set and experience is required first and foremost to build the opportunity. Once packaged properly and the people going out to market are equipped with the right tools and information, sponsorship sales becomes much simpler.
My one tip before going out to sponsors – get some help to first identify what it is you are selling in the first place. You’ll soon find that the “current climate” isn’t so difficult after all.