Following on from 7 Sponsorship Practices that should be Hit by a Meteor – Part 1, here are the rest of the sponsorship practices that I wish would face a quick extinction.
Measurement by logo counting (and anything else that includes a “media equivalency” figure)
I know, I’ve already taken issue with measurement, but this particular practice really deserves to be singled out for extinction by flaming fireball.
Here is my take:
- Anyone who claims they can give you a report showing the value of your sponsorship in media exposure is selling snake oil.
- Visibility doesn’t tell a sponsor whether they changed perceptions or behaviours, which is what marketing is all about.
- Logo exposure was discounted as an influencer of perception or behaviour changes as far back as a major study in 1991, the results of which have been replicated and extended innumerable times since then.
- Even if exposure were something worth measuring (it’s not), who’s to say that there is any relation to main media rates? Advertising tells a concise story within a specific time or space framework. Logo exposure shows a (usually) static logo in the background of what people are actually paying attention to. It’s not the same thing.
That said, I do understand the appeal. The reasons some sponsors still like these reports include:
- It’s easy. Sponsors can ask their partners to do it, or just hire a firm that will happily part them from lots of money for a meaningless report.
- The sponsor doesn’t have the time or internal buy-in to do measurement properly. (Or they just can’t be arsed doing it.)
- They make almost every sponsorship look like a success to senior management, whether they actually delivered against objectives or not.
Again, if you’re a sponsor, I strongly suggest you check out these resources:
- Sponsorship Measurement: How to Measure What’s Important (blog)
- Sponsorship Measurement: Attributing Sales to Sponsorship (blog)
- The Dos and Don’ts of Sponsorship Research (blog)
And if you’re a sponsorship seeker trapped in the end-of-year report expectation, this blog may help:
Online sponsorship submission forms
I just realised that this post has become so huge, I’m going to have to break it in half. But this one is easy. I can make this very, very short:
Sponsors: If you want strategic, creative, bespoke proposals that give you the great ideas that will make the investment deliver what you need, you have to give sponsorship seekers the information they need to create that proposal, and you need to give them a forum that allows them to showcase themselves. Make your sponsorship guidelines freely available and give them an email address. Download a Sponsorship Guidelines Template and go for your life.
Sponsorship seekers: Ignore those online forms. Do your homework and go to the brand manager. If they refer you back to the form, they are referring you to an automated gatekeeper. 99.999% sure, it’s a no.
“Your sponsorship will be tax deductible”
Of course your sponsorship is tax deductible! So are your television ads, your social media consultants, your ad agency, etc.
The problem is, when non-profits use this term, they are referring to their status as a charitable organisation, with the inference that sponsoring them will be tax deductible as a donation.
Wrong. A donation is a gift made with no expectation of commercial return. It’s tax deductible on one part of a company tax return. The issue is that corporate sponsorship is not a gift, and getting a return is the whole reason companies invest. If they get any return, they can’t claim the investment as a donation. The good news is that it is tax deductible as a marketing expense.
Non-profits who put this line in their proposals may as well write “we don’t know what we’re doing” in big, red letters right next to it, because that is exactly what this very common practice conveys.
Please, if you are a non-profit, you need to embrace some of the amazing things you have to offer. You have so much scope to create fantastic commercial partnerships, but that won’t happen if your language is undermining you. There are two resources you may want to review:
- Sponsorship Seekers, Do You Know how to Speak Sponsor? (blog)
- Cheat Sheet: Marketing Terms a Sponsorship Seeker Must Know (PDF)
This practice goes hand in hand with the gold-silver-bronze proposal. Sponsorship seekers, you’re not fooling anyone. Sponsors can spot these props a million miles away.
Every substantial sponsorship offer needs to be customised – every single one. You shouldn’t be able to do a search-and-replace between sponsors, because it would seem ridiculous to offer these ideas and benefits to that other sponsor, who needs something completely different.
(Jeez, I just reread these last two blogs. I think I may have been a bit cranky!)
Need more assistance?
For sponsors, all you need to know about best practice sponsorship selection, leverage, measurement, management, and more, you may want to get a copy of The Corporate Sponsorship Toolkit. Sponsorship seekers, you’ll find all you need to know about sponsorship sales and servicing The Sponsorship Seeker’s Toolkit 4th Edition
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