Do you know who your competition is? I asked three clients that recently. They were all sure they knew. One was a performing arts organization, one was a sport property, and one was a charity. The arts organization listed other arts organizations like the ballet and the symphony. The sport property listed other sport properties in the area that sold tickets to their games. The charity, a social service agency, listed the other social service agencies in their area that did a gala and a golf tournament just like they did.
They were all correct—to some extent. But the real key to understanding who your competition is, is understanding your prospects. Don Cooper defined this best when he said, “Your competition is everything else that your prospect could conceivably spend their money on.” We need to remember this. It goes not only for selling sponsorship, but also all your products and services.
When I look at what sponsors can spend their marketing dollars on instead of with these three clients, the list is really long. It does not differ for any of them. All three have the same competition. Let’s look at a list we developed.
- Instead of sponsoring the arts organization, the sponsor could spend their money with the sport property or the charity or vice versa as long as that organization could deliver the required audience—which is highly likely!
- They could spend their dollars with local radio, TV, or newspapers.
- They could allocate it to a professional sport franchise.
- It could go to a PR campaign inside a trade publication.
- It could go into mall advertising or sponsorship.
- It could be spent on OOH (out of home—billboards etc.).
- It might go on Facebook, or any other social media or websites.
- Perhaps it ends up on your grocery shopping cart handle, conveyor belt divider, or even on the back of your grocery bill.
- Those dollars could be allocated to a targeted Canada Post campaign or a Scout Troop flyer delivery service.
- Perhaps those funds would be allocated to a government relations lobby campaign.
This is just the start. The next time someone asks you who your competition is, where else a sponsor could spend their money to achieve the same or better ROI, look further than your back yard. Look across the universe. The places to allocate that money are pretty much endless. In fact, when I was selling sponsorships for the Calgary Flames broadcasts, I used the two local newspapers as my prospect list. I knew the companies advertising in the paper had marketing dollars to allocate. I just had to show them how and why an investment with my product was a better. So be aware, be tactful, and show the sponsor or prospect how and why you can help them better invest their marketing dollars over the competition.
Please remember to stay HIMPS! (Healthy, Isolate when possible, Masked, Physically distanced and Safe!).
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