Disruption is now the norm. Change is routine. The sponsorship world has changed dramatically (as has the entire world, for that matter) in the last five years. It will be very different six months from now—and a year after that. We need to keep up with what is different, what has changed, and what remains the same. This week, I thought I would share some research, information, and thoughts.
- The communications landscape has changed and it’s not enough just to have social media “likes.” You need to leverage and activate through social media. It is a medium, not a showcase. If you don’t understand it, hire someone who does and stop playing on the outside.
- E-sports (as IEG has clearly identified) are here to stay. They are not a niche property. They are a trend that will affect your bottom line. Understand them and their effect, and allocate your budgets accordingly!
- As Nielson reported earlier this year, adults (18-24) spend over 57 hours a week consuming media. Over a third of that time is consumed on their phones! Just over 25% is spent watching TV. Where are your sponsorship activation plans and media buys going? And if you are a property and think you can deliver the 18-24 demographic, why are you still broadcasting your event on traditional TV?
- Understand that discovery sessions and custom proposals are mandatory. There is little margin for error in your pitch, so you need to do the leg work at the front end—not beg for a second chance down the road to show them what you can do for them with a second pitch.
- Cause will continue to evolve! It used to be “give the charity some money and get part of the halo from our brand association.” Now it is being more engaged from a business case perspective, including employee engagement and driving business goals. Today, it is truly changing to really understanding “our purpose” as a business, how that aligns with a cause, and how we can “save the world together.” This means deeper penetration and understanding between the brand and the property, and of course, the audience, be that donors, customers, or employees.
- If your brand does not align with the property in the eyes of the audience or within your own organization, no matter what the short-term benefits may be, don’t invest there. Keep looking.
- Properties also need to more diligent. The change here is that they have to be strong enough to say, “No, we don’t want your sponsorship. We don’t align.” Don’t risk losing your donors, subscribers, fans, or customers based on a short-term win for sponsorship. This means being business savvy versus revenue hungry!
- As clearly demonstrated in the points above and throughout, the Trinity of Sponsorship will be the real game changer in the sponsorship sector for the foreseeable future. It will adjust and readjust, but the key behind delivering ROI for the property, the brand, AND the audience is tantamount!
President Kennedy once said, “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” We are all in this business for growth: self-growth and development, revenue growth, market share growth, and so on. We need to understand that conformity, or thinking “this will all come to pass,” is a sure-fire way to secure your demise. There is no time to get ready for change. It is happening while plan for it. Better to jump in than to be left behind!
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