Have you ever been 2-3 weeks out from a major station event and find yourself worried about hitting the budget? Many of our clients have events that their station use to drive revenue while simultaneously connecting with the community. Unfortunately some are not as successful as they could be from a revenue perspective because there hasn’t been enough sales planning and the value of the event is not clearly defined.
If we are going to be even more successful in event sponsorship sales, we have to begin thinking like a “property” when it comes to the event. A property is a group, institution or event that can be sponsored. The MBA, the Olympics, a local museum are all examples of “properties.” Those organizations review their assets and develop packages to sell to sponsors, just like we do, but they are often better at explaining the overall value because their packages are not media centric. They can’t just rely on media value.
We are in a unique and fortunate position because we have event assets PLUS we “own” the media that supports it and therefore can show event value and media value. We are also better positioned to create custom programs to help our clients activate in a way that regular properties can’t. Each station that we work with is an expert at creating promotions to support a client initiative. That’s just what we can do with our events, too! We should create base packages that include general benefits that are built off of your event’s assets. For example, as a presenting sponsor they will receive X, Y and Z. Then once we understand the client’s goals we can layer an activation element on top of the base package – ultimately increasing their investment and providing them potential for a higher ROI.
Planning, of course, is key. Management needs to prioritize the key events, establish individual goals for each AE and begin the sales process early! Did you know that 43% of companies determine their sponsorship budget during 4th quarter, followed by 23% in 3rd quarter, then 20% in 1st quarter, and 14% in 2nd quarter. Unfortunately we often wait until 2-3 months out (which is a lot for some stations!) to focus sales efforts on our key events. We have to stop that trend. By doing so we can capture more revenue, have better events and can stop the fire drills that occur as the event gets closer. Planning will also allow sponsors more time to activate and to build additional components that will make the event sponsorship more valuable to them.
It is crucial to be proactive in our prospecting. Did you know that 42% of sponsorship sales are initiated by the property? That means it is our responsibility to bring the opportunity to prospects. Besides thinking of prospects that are categorically right for your event, you should also think about clients in the industries listed below. They are top spenders and therefore are more primed to be open to sponsorship opportunities.
- Non-Alcoholic beverage
- Specialty retail
Get your lead list ready and start researching. Understand what makes those companies tick and determine IF they are a fit for your event. They may not be. It is your job to paint the picture of why that organization would be “a natural” and to create some activation idea starters that would demonstrate that understanding. Use the idea starters as a hook, connect with them for a needs analysis and then be thoughtful with the packages that you present. Optimize the event’s assets to meet the client’s needs, customize elements so that each client stands out, and help them visualize themselves in the picture.
If you can bring them some good activation ideas, plus the base sponsorship elements, you will be adding more value to the client. You will be showing them WHY it makes sense for them to sponsor your event and ultimately you will be able to capture more money!