Jun 17, 2009 at 05:13 PM
written by Michael Munson

Sponsorship Marketing's Top 10

We need to get some dialogue going on what we think is important in our business, as a community of professionals. We’ve got properties, agencies of properties, corporate brand sponsors, agencies of sponsors. We’ve got consultants that serve both sides, reporters, service providers, industry associations, and academics. We’ve got major professional sports properties and very local small ones. We’ve got fortune 100 companies and small businesses. We’ve even got consumer sponsorship and B2B sponsorship. Everyone in these constituent groups has his/her own ideas and perspectives. And each one deserves to be heard.

The goal is to have this space be where you go to hear different viewpoints, challenge conventional thinking and make your case for what you think is and isn’t important, what is and isn’t right about corporate sponsorship marketing. With so many perspectives coming together to share ideas, you won’t be able to avoid learning something from this space!

To get us kicked off on the idea sharing, I developed my Top 10 list of issues and topics facing corporate sponsorship marketing. I didn’t want to throw out all 10 at once, so I am breaking the 10 up into two posts: five this week, five next week. They are in no particular order of importance. They just seemed to be interesting or worthy of further discussion to me.

Feel free to comment on them, ask me to clarify them, and/or include your own issues. I have my remaining five items selected, but I may remove some and replace with yours next week if they seem popular or more compelling. The idea here isn’t to say these issues are right or wrong. This is more like brainstorming; all ideas are accepted. Let’s find out what topics y’all find interesting. After a couple weeks we’ll solicit votes and will have a Top 10 list to guide the content presented here. Deal?

Michael Munson’s Top 10 List of topics in sponsorship (10-6):

10. Are property assets outdated? The early railroad companies thought they were in the railroad business. In time, the airline business made painfully clear railroads were really in the moving people business. Similarly, sponsorship properties are not in the selling signage, hospitality, and media business. They are in the helping companies sell business. Given advances in technology, it seems traditional assets properties sell may be outdated and overpriced, and the assets with real value may not even exist.

9. IEG’s market size numbers. Here’s what I know for a fact: U.S. GDP is down 3.2% in 2009, according to The Economist. Advertising spending was down 14% in Q1 2009. Here is what I know anecdotally: Many sponsors are walking away from deals and nobody I talk to says business is up. I just can’t see how spending is increasing on sponsorship this year.

8. Media buys vs. media sponsorship vs. sponsorship. How are people distinguishing between these things? We all know any communication vehicle is media, but we also seem to have an un-written agreement that media-based sponsorship deals means TV-heavy properties. It would be nice to see numbers for non-media based properties vs. media-based ones. Or at least know what is counted as media and what isn’t, in a sponsorship.

7. Sponsors failing to activate and then blaming the property for not delivering value. This one kills me. I remember talking to a major bowl game executive a few years ago lamenting the fact it’s title sponsor wouldn’t do anything creative to leverage the bowl’s assets, and then finishing up by saying the sponsor dropped out because it wasn’t seeing the value. It takes two to tango. You can lead a horse to water…

6. It’s the end customer, stupid. A couple months back, The New Jersey Nets’ answer to justifying a sponsorship’s value was to let execs from sponsoring companies hang out with the team’s GM. Great, but isn’t that an asset that could be used to leverage many, many, many purchases from fans of the sponsor’s good/service? Like, spend x dollars with our sponsor, and you can hang with the Nets’ GM for a day. Wouldn’t that be a better way to leverage an asset and prove its value to a sponsor’s business? I’m just sayin’. To be continued…

OK, fire away those comments and ideas!

Mike can be reached by email at [email protected] and on Twitter at @mjmunson.