By Evan Colborne | April 18, 2017
For as long as there has been sponsorship marketing, there has existed the sponsorship deck. Depending on your philosophy, you may have a negative or positive relationship with the classic marketing collateral. However, regardless of your thoughts on decks, it seems like they are here to stay, albeit, continuously changing in their format and delivery.
Since it seems like there are few if any organizations who seek sponsorship without a deck, we wanted to share our thoughts on the ideal format for your deck.
Before we get started, there are a couple important things to keep in mind. First, when you’re designing a sponsorship deck (or any piece of marketing collateral for that matter) it is important to keep your target audience in mind. As much as you care about your team or organization, unfortunately, it’s not that important to your prospect. What is important is their business and how they are going to grow.
Secondly, your deck should be tailored to each individual prospect you are meeting with. Yes, this means more work, but in the long run it will pay dividends. The easy (and lazy) way to go about it is to create a one size fits all deck that provides an overview of all the opportunities your organization has to offer. The correct approach provides a tailored deck that highlights opportunities you and your team have already vetted as ones that you think work specifically for their business. Bonus points for altering the design of your deck slightly to match the prospects branding.
Lastly, this may seem like a no brainer, but it should be easy to read. There is nothing worse than getting a novel and being expected to read tons of text. Keep it concise and use visuals to illustrate your opportunities. You want to make sure that there is enough information in the deck to allow your contact sell it internally, as there will likely be other decision makers.
Now, without further ado, below are the essential elements to a proper sponsorship deck.
Nothing too crazy here. As mentioned earlier, you want to make sure that the proposal is tailored to your prospect and not a cookie-cutter one that you send to everyone. The cover page is a great place to get started with this personalization by including the prospects branding. You should also include your organization’s branding as a subtle way of saying that your two organizations look good together. Aside from that, make sure to include the Title of your proposal, along with the name of the contact person from your team.
This page should concisely summarize the entire proposal. Just like the name states, you want this to be the one page that the CEO of your prospects company can read, and get the jist of your entire proposal.
Start by framing the business opportunity that your sponsorship will help the company achieve. Best if this is based on something they actually told you in your initial Needs Analysis meeting. In essence you are regurgitating what they said back to them. This helps frame the proposal they are about to see, and starts things off a a “yes I agree” note.
This is really the first time where you will be primarily talking about yourself by highlighting important details about the audience you are leveraging for the sponsorship. However, keep in mind what details are important to include. The sponsor cares about getting their brand in front of people who are potential customers of theirs, so this is your chance to start showing them that your two audiences align well. Make sure that you do some research into your prospect to understand who their target customer is, and then show them how many people you have in your audience that fit that profile.
More and more, decision makers are relying on data to make decisions. One big reason for this is that data has become so readily available. Make sure that you are basing your audience statistics on reliable data, and not just assumptions.
Now that you’ve shown your prospect that you have an audience of people they are looking to reach, it’s time to tell them some of your ideas for how their brand is going to reach that audience in a meaningful way. Simply providing a menu of inventory items that you have available is not good enough. Sponsorship decision makers often don’t have the time to review your entire inventory and decide what works best for them; they are relying on you to do that!
This is your opportunity to get creative, and is honestly one of the more fun parts about working in sponsorship. You get to come up with creative ideas and ways that a sponsor can engage with your audience.
Make sure that when you are coming up with specific activations that they are focused on delivering results and solving the sponsors problem. Really creative activations that don’t achieve the intended purpose are a waste of everyone’s time.
In no more than 1 page, summarize all the deliverables that you’ve spelled out for the sponsor in a line item format. You should also include the “rate card” value of each of those line items. This helps to show the full value of the package you are presenting them.
According to the 2016 Canadian Sponsorship Landscape Study, sponsors were asked to rate the importance of certain services they received from the properties they were sponsoring on a 5 point likert scale. As it relates to success measurement, some of these services included things like: Recall Stats, Loyalty Stats, Results on Objectives and a Concluding report. On average, sponsors ranked these services as 4.18/5 on importance.
However, when asked how often these services were delivered to satisfaction, the score dropped to 2.59/5. So clearly we can see that measuring results is extremely important to sponsors, and yet on average the industry has failed to meet that expectation.
As part of your proposal so far you’ve outlined the specific business objective your sponsorship seeks to solve. You’ve also highlighted creative activations that you and your team feel will help to achieve that goal. Now, how are you going to measure it? Of course, this depends on the specific goals, but for example, some measurements could include:
During your initial needs analysis, one question you may want to ask the sponsor is “How do you measure success of your other sponsorships?” or “What would need to happen for you to consider this partnership a success?”. Use the intel you gather from the answers to these questions and then design a measurement program specific to your sponsor. Again, this will create more work, but in the long run will result in increased renewals.
Despite this section being titled “About us” it should really be about what it’s like to work with your team. Highlight some unique things about your organizational culture, and the types of things you do to value client relationships.
Nothing is better at showing that you can deliver than past performance. Use this section to highlight some case studies from similar partners, whether it be similar in size of type of partnership, or in industry of the sponsor. There is an expression that people love to be first to be second. Venturing into unchartered waters is often scary for people. Ease that concern by showing the partner that you’ve been here before and delivered.
Now comes everyone’s favourite section, the pricing and terms. You know as well as I do that if it weren’t for the fact that you are standing there guiding your prospect through the proposal that this is the page they would have immediately flipped to.
Don’t be afraid of your pricing. State it with confidence, because you are confident that at that price, it’s a tremendous value for the sponsor.
Last but not least, include a thank you and contact page. Pretty straightforward, but make sure that you’ve got the contact information for the relevant people from your team should they need to follow up with any questions or concerns.