I am not sure how I can say this without offending a few people, but here goes. If you are trying to sell a sponsorship for your organization, posting an RFP is not the way to do it. In fact, in my opinion, it is stupid. No, it is really stupid!
Yes, rights holders and properties sometimes do this. The ones most infamous for it are municipalities. There are lots and lots of reasons why issuing an RFP to try and secure a naming right or sponsorship is really stupid. But I will address just two of them here.
Reason #1 Why Issuing an RFP for a Sponsorship is Really Stupid
Sponsorship is about relationships. It is not transactional. It is not about “best price.” It is about the rights holder building a sponsorship program that will meet the needs of the sponsor and help them deliver ROI. No one knows the property’s assets better than the property (supposedly, unless they are so stupid that they issue an RFP for a sponsorship because they don’t know their assets or property), so how could a brand propose the right assets? Without discussion and interaction, there is no negotiation. What is more, typically the property gets a lower dollar value than it would if it built the right program for the sponsors. Therefore, the sponsor’s ROI is poor. Low investment equals poor results. I know of hundreds of sponsorships that have been renewed after the first term when they were done correctly. I cannot list a single sponsorship acquired by an RFP process that was renewed after the initial term. That is sad! Finally, if you are just lazy and want to see who is interested, issue an EOI versus an RFP and then do the legwork.
Reason #2 Why Issuing an RFP for a Sponsorship is Really Stupid
The last line above is a nice segue into reason #2. Typically, from my experience, it is organizations without an understanding of sponsorship marketing that issue RFPs. I look at it as the lazy person’s approach to sponsorship. Rather than do the legwork to determine the right prospects and leads, rather than go and meet with prospects and do discovery sessions to learn their needs and custom build proposals, rather than negotiate and generate the maximum revenue for assets while at the same time delivering a profitable ROI for the sponsor, these individuals (or in some cases they are forced by their superiors) short cut the project to save time and workload and do an RFP. We all know the result of cutting corners—poor outcomes. So don’t be lazy. Do sponsorship correctly and it will yield terrific results.
If you know some reasons why issuing RFPs for sponsorship is stupid (or think otherwise), please post it on our blog, share it on LinkedIn, or Twitter, or send me a direct email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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