There are untapped ROI opportunities lurking between the lines. Three ways to unleash the hidden potential of your sponsorship agreements
WHEN THE ECONOMY WENT ALL KUROSAWA on the world some brand marketers took a hard look at their bottom lines and hastily bailed on their old legacy sponsorships in favor of more provable investments. What they may not have known is that now more than ever there are ways to leverage a property’s assets to secure the kind of metrics that prove how lucrative a smart sponsorship can be.
SELL IT IN
The New York Mets and Sharp Electronics have been partners for years but when the Mets moved out of Shea Stadium and built the all-new Citi Field stadium for the 2009 season Sharp knew it had to get more bang for its buck. As a part of the new sponsorship agreement the team purchased all 800 of its in-stadium flat-screen televisions from Sharp. What’s more when another of the Mets’ sponsors schedules an activation even in a branded space the TVs are provided by Sharp.
“When we look at deals like the Mets deal there has to be a strong purchase component involved ” says Judah Ziegler associate vpretail/consumer marketing at Sharp Electronics. “I think that the brands and properties who build good creative partnerships where they think outside the signage and activate in the most intelligent way are going to be the ones that succeed and get money and grow their sponsorship portfolios and their businesses.”
Selling in your products as part of a sponsorship deal guarantees an additional level of brand exposure. Just make sure you specify that all on-site activations use your products too. That kind of return is all too rare and equally valuable in determining ROI.
PUSH THE PROPERTIES FOR IDEAS
As a major sponsor of the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival Garnier Fructis (a division of L’Oréal) makes certain that the dollars are coming back in unconventional ideas from the property to help the brand meet its goals.
“Today we’re all looking to do more with less. Naturally this applies to sponsorships where we are even more selective and aware of how our dollars are being spent ” says Kat Peeler svp-marketing at Garnier Fructis & Garnier Haircolor. “We’re looking for more out-of-the-box solutions that provide a unique brand experience to help us stand apart. We must be sure that every opportunity does an effective and efficient job of reaching our target consumer.”
At Bonnaroo Garnier Fructis needed to stand out and create a splash with the festivillians that would transform simple sampling into intimate one-on-one interactions with consumers. The answer as provided by the Bonnaroo event staff was for Garnier to build a full-scale beauty salon to help the attendees freshen up and feel better during the dusty weekend. Unfortunately the brand’s prime location was nowhere near running water. So the folks at Bonnaroo devised that solution too. They sent hot and cold water to the footprint allowing the brand to get the people at the festival into just the right kind of lather at no additional cost.
“At Bonnaroo the more we can prove the more metrics we can provide the more creative we are the more successful we will be at landing a sponsor ” says Jeff Cuellar director of community relations at the festival. “That means providing hard data like ‘How many of your booth’s visitors were repeats versus unique?’ or catering something specifically for a client like Garnier Fructis.”
DEMAND THE DATA
Peeler says that she expects properties and events she sponsors to provide the standard sponsorship data like estimated event traffic and audience demographics. But post-event she also wants to see the actual traffic to help evaluate the experience. Additionally an important pre-event material she uses to determine where her sponsorship dollars get spent is the event map so she can “understand open versus committed real estate and who our neighbor brands will be to make sure we’re complementing one another from signage to branding ” she says.
She also asks for her sponsorship packages to outline pre-promotion and media value and on-site branding sampling and partnership opportunities (read: introduction to other sponsor brands). Peeler says there is more room for negotiation than in years past so marketers shouldn’t be shy about asking for more information and added value. Understanding your brand’s value to the property and ability to draw and entertain crowds is helpful too. Ultimately though it’s about creating a partnership that can weather any economy whether it’s heading up or down.
“We’re pretty clear that we expect [properties] to add value ” Ziegler says “and we add value too. It’s a partnership and at the end of the day it’s all about the relationship you develop so that when you need the value-add you can go to your partner and say ‘What can we do?’”