Sponsorship is a multi-billion dollar industry, with an annual growth rate that has surpassed advertising and other forms of marketing. Yet this steady growth rate doesn’t mean it’s easy to find sponsors for your event. If anything, it’s harder than ever to secure them!
In fact, a recent ESP survey found that 58% of sponsors said they planned to end a sponsorship prior to the contract term — a 28.8% increase from the previous year. So how can you grow your sponsorship dollars while keeping the sponsors you already have?
To find out, we talked to sponsorship expert and founder of The Sponsorship Guy, Larry Weil. Read on to discover his secrets for winning sponsorships today.
1. Your job is to be a sponsor advocate
Today’s sponsors have many choices for how they will to connect with their target markets. So it’s not enough to sell the activation and call it a day. You have to manage that relationship and stay relevant to your sponsors.
“The important part is to remember that there are more things that sponsors have to choose from than ever,” Weil says. “They’re also measuring more than they ever have. And if you get to the mid-season or the middle point of a sponsorship deal, and you don’t know how the performance is, you’re not doing the job.”
So what does success look like? Practicing basic client relationship skills, including:
- Knowing what fulfillment means for each sponsor
- Understanding their objectives and how you will measure them
- Staying in touch and reporting back regularly
2. Remember that everything is not a great match for everybody
Sponsors today don’t have time to go through your sponsorship deck and figure it out themselves. They’re looking for strategic partnerships who will support them to meet their goals.
“It’s all about them,” Weil says. “You have to get your value proposition in the first five or six seconds and that requires study… What’s the value [to the sponsor]? ‘We help engage this audience.’ ‘We help reduce costs X.’ That’s what you have to be able to do.”
The most important thing? Listening to your potential sponsors, because they’ll tell you what they want. Then you can get them into a conversation, so you can find out things like:
- How they acquire their customers
- Their most successful channels
- What their goals are
3. You need data to stay competitive
“Data is where the CMOs are today. People get a lot of data on television advertising, digital advertising, and if you don’t have some of that to give them on what they’re doing around your event, then you’re going to be at a disadvantage when they’re deciding how much they’re going to allocate to events and how much to not events,” says Weil.
Take your event app, for example. You can find out information like what apps attendees are using, how did they get to your event, what influencers do they follow. With that data, you can:
- Identify opportunities for your sponsors you would never have considered
- Support what you’re doing right with your sponsors and fulfillment reports
- Even change where staff is located by monitoring traffic at your event
Hear all of Larry’s winning tips
That’s not the last word from The Sponsorship Guy on technology, data, and the new mindset for sponsorship sales in 2018. For the whole interview, listen here.