Most sponsorship proposals are total crap.
They are all about the sponsorship seeker, not taking the sponsor’s needs or markets into consideration at all. They are totally uncustomised – making full use of the search-and-replace function (hated by sponsors everywhere) – which is inexcusable, given the technology at hand to give you the insight you need.
If you want to create a customised offer for a sponsor – one that will grab their imagination and showcase how they can use this investment to get closer to their customers and achieve their specific objectives – you need information, and plenty of it.
This is the type of information you must know about a brand before you’re ready to create an offer:
For a more in-depth checklist, you will find the Sponsor Information Checklist in The Sponsorship Seeker’s Toolkit 4th Edition.
The question is, then, how do you get this information. There are two phases, doing your homework and talking to the sponsor. In this post we’ll talk about doing your homework. If you do all of this, you will be fully prepared to have an in-depth conversation about the sponsor’s needs and priorities, fine-tuning what you know, so you can create a fantastic offer. You’ll also be showcasing that you actually care about their brand needs and results, which almost nobody who contacts them does. You’ll be a breath of fresh air, and you’ll get their attention, which is half the battle.
Go to the global and your country’s websites for each brand (as appropriate).
Now, head to their social media pages. They will generally have links to their most active social media accounts on their brand home page. Again, look for their global social media, as well as anything specific to your country or region.
Now, you’re ready for Google.
Search for the brand and your country or region, such as “Pepsi Finland”. This will find news reports and blogs referencing their recent activities. Hint: Use the advanced search features to limit your search to only pages updated in the past year.
Search for the brand and “advertising”. There are lots of websites that host television ads from around the world. Recent advertising – which you may not have seen – can give you a lot of insight into their priorities, objectives, and markets. Note: You may find some of their ads on their website, as well. It is still worth searching a bit more broadly.
When you find examples of advertising – whether print or television – ask yourself two questions:
The answers to those questions will take you a long way toward understanding the brand and their priorities.
This is one of my favourite research tools: ABI/Inform Full-Text Online.
You can enter – Google-style – keywords and it will search the full text of articles on thousands of business publications around the world and bring you back the whole articles. These include industry publications, which often offer insights not published in broader business media. You can mark the ones that are interesting to you and e-mail them to yourself. The kind of things you will find:
The kicker is that mostly only university and major public libraries have a license to this. The good news is that you should be able to get a library card and pin number to remotely log into the online materials from your office. That’s what I do with the State Library of NSW. Just call and ask your closest major library about the process to get a card and pin number because you want to access ProQuest databases from home (ABI/Inform is a ProQuest service). Note, do say “home”, not “work”.
For the purposes of background research, search for the brand name and “corporate sponsorship”. You should also look for the company name and “corporate sponsorship”. Only look 2-3 years back, maximum. Depending on the brand, there may be heaps or just a handful of articles.
If you take these steps, you will have most of the information you need to develop a customised sponsorship proposal. You will have all of the information you need to have a fruitful, break-the-mould conversation with the sponsor.
For more on that, see “The First Sponsor Meeting (And How Not to Make an Idiot of Yourself)”.
For all you need to know about sponsorship sales and servicing, you may want to get a copy of The Sponsorship Seeker’s Toolkit 4th Edition. You may also be interested in my latest white paper, “Disruptive Sponsorship: Like Disruptive Marketing, Only Better“.
If you need additional assistance, I offer sponsorship consulting and strategy sessions, sponsorship training, and sponsorship coaching. I also offer a comprehensive sponsorship capacity-building service for large, diverse, and decentralised organisations.
Please feel free to drop me a line to discuss.
Please note, I do not offer a sponsorship broker service, and can’t sell sponsorship on your behalf. You may find someone appropriate on my sponsorship broker registry.