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Subject: Re: [uk-netmarketing] Sponsorship
From: Lois Grayson
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2001 23:00:15 -0000

WARNING: A LONG ONE

Hi Tim
Funnily enough I am currently working on a similar strategy for a niche
culture/sport site and have been researching this area a little. I've four
points to share:

1. My client was making a classic mistake - one that applies to all
sponsorship. on or off line - he was trying a double-sell i.e. he was
proposing extreme sports to Volvo on the basis that they hadn't done it
before but their rivals Audi were into it, using a brand association
rationale as a secondary proposition. IMHO (and I've not done much in this
field of marketing for years) it is hugely difficult to sell companies a new
category for sponsorship UNLESS the brand association rationale is v v
strong.
It might be better to look for companies that have already made a
commitment to your category - who already sponsors education? Time
Computers/Walkers Crisps/Tesco..... they love the warm feelings sponsoring
school projects engenders.

2. I am also of the opinion that most companies want a strong commercial
justification before they hand over the sponds; the web rarely offers the
kind of mass B2C broad audience volumes that say sponsoring the London
Marathon delivers for Flora - again, your proposal therefore might be better
received if it's objective is to extend an existing sponsorship programme in
order to deepen the brand's association with the category. (Please note I
know it's different for niche audiences - there's real value in reaching
such an audience through web sponsorship)

3. Sponsorship proposals also carry more weight if there's plenty of added
value - which is what a website is great for. Some basic AV stuff - create
an area on the site that allows the sponsor to interact with their audience;
provide/share relevant information or run a special offer - that way they
can get a feel for the impact their sponsorship is creating

4. Sponsorship is long term - to get the full benefit sponsors need to stick
with it. If your proposal acknowledges this and is staged so that sponsors'
investment and rewards grows with your realistic growth projections; that
way you won't come across as a fly by night ripoff merchant that wants it
all upfront on a promnise of jam tomorrow

A friend of mine who used to handle European sponsorship budgets for Visa
informs that he got 10 proposals a day; all were scanned, and 99% binned
because they weren't in line or added nothing to his existing long term
strategy. What frustrated him was that most schemes benefited the proposer's
brand (and pocket) more than they created value for Visa. REal 'stick your
logo/any logo here' stuff

So.......

Approach companies showing an interest in your sector already
Keep the first approach short and focused on a strong rational proposition
Don't hype up the web as a medium; play it as sponsorship enhancement in
terms of reach
Offer added value by way of interactivity - pitch the web as a way to add a
point of contact to a sponsorship programme (like Barclaycard run
competitions to cardholders for tickets to Visa sponsored events)

All this is common sense if it's a ongoing sponsor relationship you want. Or
you could go for the glory route - use your sector knowledge and creative
skills to come up with a really radical web first concept with massive PR
potential !!!

Sorry if you know all this already - hope it's of some use

Lois




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