Making Sponsorship More Effective And Consistent

Evolving beyond the CEO's favorite pastime to an important and expansive component of the integrated marketing mix, sponsorship now has its own bona fide trade organization, the International Sponsor Council. Backed by an advisory board of global sponsorship chiefs, founder and CEO Terry Cecil is hell-bent on making sponsorship a consistent high performance marketing mechanism.

The zealous Cecil is spreading the message globally, with an unusually all-inclusive perspective. He is gathering thought leaders who see the big picture yet also understand the necessity of addressing the small stuff.

The ISC CFO Advisory Committee is heading our way and CFO influence, unrecognized by most, is a lens for viewing the unbiased efficacy of sponsorship. CFO methodologies and their resulting best practices will become the components for our industry to create practical ROI/ROO measurement standards. The envisioned benefits are many: A level playing field. Expectations clearly stated. Deals framed in terms of delivered value. Reduced guesswork. An honest proposition.

Lawyers have a place at the table too, and we are all fortunate for that. In previous eras of just a few over-the-air television networks, no cable or social media, no insertion technologies, smaller star salaries and plain multipurpose venues, there was not today's insatiable hunger for revenues leading to exclusivities sliced as thinly as prosciutto. Legal minds will help establish an NFL-like line of scrimmage to guard against the specter of encroachment. Commonly agreed upon standards of competitive separation will be liberating.

Below the high minded principles and industry stewardship issues there are other more common practical tidbits of admonishment that also serve the buying side well, including:

Keeping in touch. After the deal is consummated keep the courtship going. Inspect your expectations regularly by scheduling bi-weekly calls and meetings to stay abreast of your involvement and learn of other opportunities that may complement your program.

Playing for the long-term. Sports sponsorships have always commanded a premium, and likely that will always be the case. Forge long-term deals with the property and they will treat you like partners in practice as opposed to mere cocktail party back-slappers. You can adequately protect your interests with language allowing the opportunity to exit early or terminate if certain circumstances arise.

Being multi-dimensional. Invest in an integrated package. Not only should you get a better rate on each component but you can make each increment support the others. Your goal should be to touch zealous fans numerous times and bond with them.

Working it. Building a sponsorship is a craft that requires you to explore options, generate ideas and frequently ask, what if?

Clarifying exclusivities. The aforementioned channels of media and various involved rightsholders can easily lead to misunderstandings - some honest some not - and disasters. Keep asking questions to make certain the boundaries of your exclusivity are unmistakably clear, and commit them to writing in plain language. Do so even if your rep feels you are annoying.

Letting the other side win, too. Your goal should be for both sides to walk away from the bargaining table feeling that they dealt with a tough but fair negotiator. Demanding terms that make it difficult for the property to deliver may seem satisfying at first, but ultimately it is bad deal for everybody. If the properties can no longer afford to exist. there will be no need for buyers to exist either.

1 comment about "Making Sponsorship More Effective And Consistent ".
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  1. Andy Levy, October 13, 2009 at 12:37 p.m.

    Sponsorship has become a big part of the marketing mix and not just for sports. My firm represents most of the great landmark properties in the New York area and I work with major sponsors and promotional marketing partners who want to be associated with these properties. Venues and Tourist attractions are now media properties themselves and brands understand the value of being at the Statue of Liberty, Grand Central, Bronx Zoo or Bryant Park.

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