During the 2nd African Experiential Marketing Summit held on 3 Septmeber, Kim Skildum-Reid from Power Sponsorship in Australia gave marketers plenty of food for thought about the way in which sponsorships are run.
Says Skildum-Reid: "Most sponsorship money in the world is completely wasted; it's not an investment that's reaping real returns. When talking about experiential marketing, sponsorship is as good as it gets - if it's done right. You can use sponsorship as an incredible authentic experiential building experience."
Best practice sponsorship:
Brand life cycle - it goes on a bell curve. When you have a brand new brand, you need awareness.
Infancy: Goal: create awareness
Adolescence Goal: Build relevance
Maturity: Goal: Build relationships
Reinvention Goal: rebuild relevance
"Sponsorship for even mature brands tends to get stuck at the infancy stage. Let's be truthful, how many marketers would say that your sponsorships are about visibility? As far as I'm concerned, awareness and exposure are the swear words of sponsorships," says Skildum-Reid.
In 1991, a study was conducted about awareness - respondents were asked 'can you name all the sponsors of this event?' What it found was that even if they could name all the sponsors it didn't change perceptions and behaviours. Studies since back up the study with the same results.
Skildum-Reid talked about the customer continuum - Start of the purchase cycle - become aware of the brand - understand relevance - try brand - add to repertoire - become loyal - advocate to others and back to the begining.
"Experiential marketing imbues advocacy and sponsorship and does this better than anything else. With sponsorships, you're sponsoring something that people have decided they already care about so you're building advocacy straight into it," says Skildum-Reid. She added that sponsorship benefits need to be negotiated and leverage plans put in place for every level of customer relationship.
New-look sponsors objectives
Customer/consumer needs first
brand needs probably come third
Internal buy-in is second
Make ground by:
demonstrating alignment with their beliefs, needs, concerns or self-definition's
adding value to their relationships
Many objectives but they all come down to:
changing target market perceptions
changing target behaviours
"These two things, not dollar value return, should be the goals of sponsorship. If you find yourself directionless with a sponsor or sponsorship, get back to the bare bones again. Don't be fussing about awareness, go straight to relevance," says Skildum-Reid.
Four generations of sponsorship - which generation are you?
First generations: exposure-driven
Exposure only proves that a brand exists:
does not change people's perceptions
does not change people's behaviours
inappropriate for all but very new brands
Second generation: sales-driven
All about incremental sales:
Measured solely in dollar ROI
Profit in incremental sales vs cost of sponsorship
if a sale cannot be traced directly to the sponsorship, it doesn't count
Third Generation: objective-driven
Uses a sponsorship to achieve multiple marketing objectives:
Long and short terms
This does work:
all about your brand
"Often times, you end up disrespecting the target market by disrespecting the experience around the events," says Skildum-Reid.
Fourth Generation: Market-driven
Puts target market needs, wants, and interests first.
Ensures there are multiple, meaningful benefit for you target markets:
treats them like people, not purchasers
"It is no longer that the sponsor and sponsee wins. It is now sponsor, sponsee and target market win. When I say event experience - I don't mean just when they punch the ticket in and that it stops when they leave the event. The event experience is way beyond the bounds of an event. The experience of being a fan, art lover etc, does not end when the event ends. The event experience is much bigger and you could add so much value to this," says Skildum-Reid.
"The result: Last Generation Sponsorship: finally, sponsorship is focusing on the right things - the target market. And what we need to do is embrace it and learn how to use it," she adds.
So how does it work?
Throw out the rulebook and get strategic:
sponsorship is about results, not history
Get away from the sponsorship package mentality:
best practice does not rely on logos, tickets, hospitality and endorsement
Stop 'supporting' sponsorship:
use sponsorship as a catalyst to make existing spends work harder
Take a magic wand approach to leverage:
If you cold do anything to achieve your objectives and get that third win, what would you do?
Measure what matters:
changes in behaviour - use your internal experts
changes in perception - model on your existing brand research