How to Find Ideal Sponsorship Partners

June 3, 2016

1. Know Your Audience

If you already know your audience inside and out, you’re ahead of the game. If you’re unsure about the primary audience your organization attracts, and thus, which marketers will be most interested in working with you, there are various, time-tested ways you can research and obtain these insights.

One effective way to define your audience is to send a questionnaire to your past clients or attendees. Design your survey to find out what lifestyle choices these individuals make, with questions like:

  • What car do they drive?
  • Do they attend live music events?
  • What is their household income?
  • Do they enjoy extreme sports?
  • Do they give to charity?

Another tip is to ask which publications they read. This way, you can download the publication’s online media kit to infer deeper insights on this audience’s lifestyle choices.

If your core audience is not in line with the demographic emphasis of the brand you’re pitching, you’ll most likely be wasting your time (and theirs).

2. Conduct Effective Prospect Research

Brands need to change in order to grow, so make sure you do your homework on what their most recent initiatives are. Instead of going through US Securities & Exchange Commission reports to find out what these brands are planning to do in the future, invest in tools that have already done this heavy lifting for you. DailyVista is a prospecting publication that provides you with daily insights on marketing/sponsorship strategy shifts for a variety of brands, while Winmo provides decision-maker intelligence for thousands of major sponsorship spenders. This type of information will put you in front of the right people at the right time.

Sponsorship solicitation is about relationships, so get to know your corporate sponsors before asking them for money.

Be very targeted in who you approach at a potential partner, and how you approach them. Shooting out a generic email to a big list of marketing and sponsorship contacts is not a good idea, and as obvious as that sounds, how many of you have done just that, while crossing your fingers and hoping that you’ll get a response? Invest your time in personalized outreach, and you’re almost guaranteed to get a better response rate.

In my role working with sponsorship sales teams of all shapes and sizes, from non-profits and multi-cultural organizations to sports franchises, I recommend something called the ‘sniper approach.’ Have your messaging be personal, short, and to the point. Have your subject line be fun and creative. Sponsorship decision-makers at major brands are bombarded with emails every day, so give them a reason to remember you and your company.

3. Don’t Sell Yourself, Have Others Tell Your Story

Sponsorship and marketing decision-makers do not want to feel like they are being ‘sold.’ The best way to get around that barrier is to have someone else tell the story for you; someone who does not have that ‘sales person’ title or stigma attached to them. Take your cue from major consumer-facing advertisers who use customer-generated content and influencer marketing to tell their story.

In the B2B world of attracting corporate sponsors, that method translates into leveraging third-party storytelling. An outsider’s endorsement is extremely important to include in your outreach to potential corporate sponsors. And if you’re like most companies, 87% of your clients are willing to give you a testimonial – but only 10% are ever asked for one. Make sure these testimonials go beyond the surface, including details around actual results and ROI.

It’s human nature to be skeptical of someone who is selling you something, so the more you rely on non-biased third parties to tell your story, the more you’ll disarm your prospective partner. You may even find the tables turn to the extent that they start pitching you on why they’re the right partner!

Sponsorship Webinar: Want a crash-course on how to develop an engaging sponsorship pitch through proven storytelling techniques? Watch Now. 

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