This post is my summary of a presentation at the RASC Conference by Brett Craft, Partner, Strategic Marketing Consultant, The Consultn’ts.
Let’s spread the learning between shows.
We all know sponsorship is critical to running a community event such as agricultural shows. The good news is that the global sponsorship spend is increasing (at approximately 4% per year).
“The sponsorship pie is growing, but it is being cut up into fewer pieces.”
– Brett Craft
Sponsorship dollars go to…
|festivals/fairs/events (including shows)
Your unique selling proposition
In this increasingly competitive environment, the winners are going to be organisations that can offer a unique selling proposition. A unique selling proposition, which defines your unique position in the marketplace lets you to stand apart from competitors and actively focus on creating things that cater to your ideal group of customers.
How are you different and better than your competition? As marketers of sponsorship opportunities, differentiation is one of you most important strategic and tactical activities. Having this unique selling point is a competitive advantage that should bring more dollars into your program.
Develop leverage for selling your sponsorship opportunities
- Market Intelligence – who is your potential target market and what exactly do they want? Prepare well before meeting with potential sponsors, understanding their objectives and tell them what they want to hear.
- Competitor Intelligence – understand your competition. What do other shows and any entertainment venues offer, understand and take advantage of their weaknesses.
- Company Intelligence – find your competitive advantages to promote. Know what you can do better than your competitors. Clarify to sponsor that you know they could support ‘event x’, but our event will specifically meet your needs better.
Answer one question: What does your market want that your competitors are failing to adequately offer and which you could profitably deliver?
Planning for sponsorship
For an agricultural show business model, the two main options are naming rights and presenting rights. Each category should be considered separately. Eg. The XYZ Beef Competition
The value of sponsorship is generally based on how much it would cost for exposure through that advertising.
Attracting multi-year sponsors is very difficult. It is best to focus on providing great value in the first year and meeting regularly to ensure you both benefit from the arrangement.
For most companies, budget reviews often occur 2-3 months before the end of financial year. We need to be approaching sponsors before this point and bump something else out of their share of sponsorship.
Looking after your sponsors
- Ensure your sponsors have a good time – appeal to their key persons interests, know what they enjoy and give them a good time tailored to their tastes.
- Protect your current sponsors – service them well at the event. Follow up straight away for their opinion, ask them “What can we improve?”
- Secure sponsorship promptly – hit them up for the next year straight after this years’ event, while they are still excited. Address and deliver sponsorship contracts personally, and to the right person.
- Maintain the relationship through developing a mutual cross pollination, marketing action plan.
1. Differentiate yourself with your unique selling proposition, you need to stand out from the crowd
2. Understanding your market, competitors and clients to leverage for sponsorship opportunities
3. Plan ahead for sponsorship and get in early
4. Look after you current sponsors well