Exclusivity is a sticky issue for both properties and sponsors. When can you offer or get it? What is the value or cost? A few weeks back, I had a “reach out” from a regular reader of the TMC. She made a terrific comment and had (as always) some pretty substantiated points. She works for a financial institution in a smaller market. She pointed out her frustration when she, as a financial institution, pays a much higher level of sponsorship—a top-tier level as title sponsor of an event—than her competitor financial institutions which are sponsors at much lower levels. She noted that she often gets pushback from the properties with regard to exclusivity, saying that they need to be able to seek lower level sponsorships from other FIs in order to be successful. She noted, “If I am your title sponsor, giving $10-20 thousand in straight cash (plus activating), you should advocate for me and not want to see my competitors share the exposure.”

I agree. If you are title sponsor, you should have exclusivity—but you need to buy it. If they will not grant you exclusivity as a brand, you need to make the conscious decision as to whether it is worth it to you to be there. If so, then go for it without exclusivity. If not, walk away.

Likewise, the property needs to look at it from a business perspective. Maybe they have three other FI’s, each in at $10,000, substantially lower than the title sponsor. But in reality, those three together account for more revenue than the FI with the title. That is not to say that the title and exclusivity are worth more than $20,000, but the property has to look at it as a business. If the other three competitors are each in at $2,500 and their combined revenue is $7,500, they would be crazy to lose the title at $20,000. Perhaps the event is thinking about these opportunities as donations versus sponsorship and cannot see why “everyone cannot play in the sandbox nicely together.” Well, they can’t. There are lots of scenarios where sectors such as telecommunications, auto manufacturers, financial instructions, grocery chains, and others do play nicely in the sandbox with charitable contributions (capital campaigns, etc.), but with marketing, it is different.

So, I agree with this TMC reader. If you are a title sponsor of an event, the property needs to grow up and grant you exclusivity (which may cost you more money now because you did not negotiate it when you did the deal) or see you leave the fold! Both have to look at this as a B2B transaction and do what is best for their individual business/organizations.

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