After four months of lockdown, I was finally back in the boxing gym yesterday and wow, am I sore today. Actually, it’s not the muscles I use for punching that are sore, it’s the back muscles I use for recoiling after a punch and getting ready for the next one. I was explaining this to a friend and used a line my coach has said to me countless times:
It’s not how hard you hit. It’s how accurate you are, and how fast you can hit them again.
As I said the words, I realised how pertinent that concept is for sponsorship (but without the hitting).
Best practice sponsorship is built around the idea of win-win-win. The third “win” is for the target markets. The goal with best practice sponsorship is that a large proportion of the target markets should receive small, meaningful benefits through a sponsorship, not just the chance for one person to receive a giant prize.
Many sponsors have embraced this idea, which is fantastic. Providing for meaningful, added-value benefits to go to the target markets brings a level of relevance, relationship-building, and even respect and appreciation for the sponsor, that is lacking from earlier generations of sponsorship.
That said, there are degrees. The very best sponsors in the world create multiple small, meaningful wins in each of their leverage plans. This may be comprised of many different wins or one win that is used multiple times by each person over the course of the sponsorship (example: VIP baseball parking for bank customers). The best sponsors then ensure that nothing they’re doing in any way disrespects the event experience, which would be a “lose” for the target markets. The net effect being that the customers/consumers have an experience that is improved in many small ways by a brand who has obviously thought about their needs.
Other sponsors have gone the way of the one big gesture – providing one added-value benefit one time – for the target markets. That is absolutely fair and will be valued by the target market, but you will probably get your best result by surrounding that bigger “win” with a number of smaller “wins”. Alternatively, you can provide a string of the big “wins” across a number of sponsorships. But providing one big benefit one time only tells your target market that you thought about them, well, once.
A more comprehensive group of “wins” for your target market fosters the idea that you’re always thinking about them…
That you are providing them with benefits that are pinpointed to their needs and you are providing them consistently…
That you are making meaningful connections and making them often…
Just like boxing… but friendlier.
For more on win-win-win, best practice sponsorship, you may also be interested in my white papers, “Last Generation Sponsorship Redux” and “Disruptive Sponsorship: Like Disruptive Marketing, Only Better“. Want to build your sponsorship skills and strategies fast? I’ve got comprehensive online sponsorship training for both sponsors and rightsholders. Get the details and links to course outlines and reviews here.
If you need additional assistance with your sponsorship portfolio, I offer sponsorship consulting and strategy sessions, sponsorship training, and sponsorship coaching. I also offer a comprehensive Sponsorship Systems Design for large and/or diverse organisations. Please feel free to drop me a line to discuss.
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