“We’re projecting attendance of over 17,000. With your $20,000 sponsorship, that means you can reach all of them for just over a dollar each.”
“We anticipate our project will get over a million and a half impressions. At $50,000, your sponsorship costs less than four cents per impression!”
To a novice, these might seem like perfectly reasonable sales equations, but in the real world of skyrocketing sponsor sophistication, this approach gets it wrong in several different ways:
CPM (cost-per-thousand) is one of the metrics used for comparing the relative cost of various types of advertising and some other marketing media (eg, direct marketing). Unfortunately for people who apply this approach to sponsorship sales, sponsorship and advertising work in totally different ways, and CPM or similar simply doesn’t apply.
Advertising is a one-way communication. Sponsorship is a powerful platform for deepening brand relevance and relationships through the leverage of fan passions. It’s not one way; it works in as many different directions as the sponsor needs it to work. Talking about sponsorship in the same way other media are talked about makes as much sense as sending a telegram when you have a smartphone in your hand.
If you’ve got 17,000 attendees and want $20,000, those numbers may seem sensible. But what if you only get 200 people to attend? Does that mean it’s only worth $235? Of course not!
A sponsor’s results come from leveraging the sponsorship to everyone who cares about your property or the larger themes, not just the people who show up. That could be many, many times your audience, meaning that when you’re doing attendee division, you’re vastly underestimating the potential power of the sponsorship.
For more on this, see “It’s Not the Size of the Sponsorship, It’s What You Do with It”.
Impressions are about how many people will see marketing for your property, which is generally extrapolated into how many people will see a major sponsor logo as part of the marketing or media coverage of the property. Unfortunately, the value of eyeballs on logos was soundly debunked in the early 90s, providing exactly zero impact on changing perceptions or behaviours around a brand.
Don’t do impression division, don’t count impressions, don’t even talk about impressions. It makes you look ridiculous.
Sponsorship stopped being about visibility decades ago. It’s now squarely about meaning. It’s about brands connecting with their target markets in a powerful, meaningful way, engendering greater alignment, preference, loyalty, and advocacy. If you’re not talking about that stuff, you’re not a compelling sponsorship option.
Instead of trying to make some kind of attendee division metric look attractive, concentrate on creating an offer that addresses the following:
I know that’s short, but this is just a blog. For the whole methodology of offer development and formalising a proposal, including a template, I suggest you pick up a copy of The Sponsorship Seeker’s Toolkit 4th Edition. You may also be interested in Sponsorship Proposal Basics in About 15 Minutes (video tutorial).
You may also be interested in my white papers, “Last Generation Sponsorship Redux” and “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.
© Kim Skildum-Reid. All rights reserved. To enquire about republishing or distribution, please see the blog and white paper reprints page.