I recently read that data is not as important as relationships. The author of the article said that we need to get back to understanding our audiences and stop being overwhelmed by “data.” I agree with building relationships. Sponsorship is about relationships—people buy from people they trust. Sponsorship is not transactional. When done right, it is relationship based!
But I beg to differ on the data side. Welcome to 2018 and beyond! Stop living in the 1990s or earlier. Big data is here. It is available. I look at it from this perspective—if new information and technology can help a sponsor or a property make more money and deliver better partnerships, why wouldn’t they use it? When done right, big data is amazing. I am looking forward to the presentation by Jim Kalogerakos from diD Analytics at the WSC – Alberta Forum in Calgary this November. He will highlight how big data can help properties prospect better and more effectively.
I truly believe in this approach. Sure, there are lots of people in the business who can tell a property who they should be calling on. There is a wealth of such expertise, but it is based on knowledge—one or more person’s inside knowledge. There is no science or evidence to back it up! Recently, we did some work for a client providing our big data services. It showed them several things.
First, it illustrated they were already focused on a category that scored highly in analytic outcome. It showed them this was an important sector to the audience they delivered to their sponsors. This verified the work they were already doing.
Second, they had empirical evidence on why they were a terrific alignment for their sponsors’ investment portfolio, which will help in a long-term renewal. They could show the sponsor specifically how many people who actually participated in their event used the services offered by that sponsor category and how much each of those households actually spent in that sponsor category (even right down to them as a brand) on an annual basis. Huge impact!
Another client is using big data to help them index for specific sponsor pricing. They know from their inventory asset valuation that a specific asset is worth, say, $5,000 on an annual basis. But if the audience associated with that property indexed at 250 for a specific sponsor category or purchasing product like taking cruises for vacations, then they know that, specifically to a cruise centre or Regent Seven Seas Cruise Lines, this asset is actually worth more than $5,000—possibly as high as $10,000 or $12,000. And they have the data to educate the prospect on why they should be associated with them and why the investment is a good one.
Some say that investing in big data research for prospecting and such is expensive. I posed this to one client with whom we have been doing a couple of projects on big data and prospecting. The response was quick and straightforward: “Such an investment, though seemingly high, only means I need to secure two new sponsors for our event at $30,000 a year for five years each and the cost of the initial research investment is about 10% of my overall revenue generation. If we get them for ten years each, that number obviously drops significantly. Our expectation is to secure more than two sponsors, so this is an inexpensive investment in the long-run strategy of our organization.”
I guess using new technology and tools like big data depend on the foresight of senior management and boards. When they have a vision for long-term revenue growth and investing today for huge financial success tomorrow, the investment makes sense. To those who feel that they should be talking to the same people they have traditionally talked to forever with little to no success, all the best in your future!
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