By Cosmos Sports | September 2, 2020Reading Time: 38 minutes
In a 10 episode series, our experts discuss the different tools and tactics to acquiring sponsorship. Hosted by Evan Colborne, episode 1 focuses on what sponsors want. Follow along with the webinar or view the fully transcribed discussion below.
What Sponsors Want
“Good afternoon everybody, welcome to the corporate sponsorship webinar series. On our first episode today hosted by Cosmos Sports and Entertainment. My name is Evan Colborne, I’m the Director of Business Development with Cosmos Sports and Cary Kaplan our President and Co-founder is here with me as well so thanks very much. So before we get started a couple of housekeeping items that we wanted to just address first of all a big thank you to Central Counties Tourism and Sport Durham for hosting this webinar series and allowing us to share some of our expertise and the experience particularly in sponsorship with everybody that’s on the call today.
From what I understand some people that are on watching today were at a workshop that we hosted back in October so welcome back and for those that are new I think we’ve got a lot of good stuff that we’re going to be presenting today and over the next couple weeks so as I mentioned this is episode 1 of 10, we’re going to be running every Wednesday from 2:00 or every other Wednesday should say from 2:00 to 3:00 o’clock between now and the end of May so lots of good stuff and we’ve decided to really focus on sponsorship over the next 10 webinars and really sequential so starting it off at the beginning here with our topic today and moving through the sponsorship process in a very sequential way and then we have a couple special topics that were going to book in the series with so special thanks to again to Central Counties Tourism and Sport Durham.
In case if it’s a little bit difficult to see what’s on the slides here behind us we are going to make all the slides available so don’t worry if you can’t see anything or you can’t read anything, all that’s going to be made available afterwards and our webinar today while live is also being recorded so if you miss something that we say or you can’t quite hear what we’re saying everything is going to be made available afterwards for people that have registered for the webinars so don’t worry about that and lastly we are going to be doing some Q&A to end our webinar today if you look in the top right corner of your screen if you’re watching on YouTube there’s a live chat box throughout the broadcast whenever a question comes to mind feel free to type that question in there and we’re going to address some of those questions that for the last 5-10 minutes or so hopefully we can get to all of them, if you can’t see the live chat box that you may have to exit out of the full screen mode and you’ll see it there so those are kind of the housekeeping item, so we’ll get started.
Right so our topic today we wanted to start with is what sponsors want and the reason for that was really in sponsorship that’s really what it’s all about it’s all about their needs and their objectives and every sponsor is different and every situation is different so it’s really our job as people that are representing events or different properties to act as a bit of a consultant and understand what their needs are and how we can help provide that for them but so Cary why did you think this was a really good important topic to start the theme of sponsorship?”
“So first of all thanks everybody for listening here, I know a number of you guys were at the live event that we did a while back. Apologize if my hands move around here it’s my tendency to normally sort of walk around so it’s a little more confined space so I apologize if it seems a little confined but I think what we found from the training first of all was that we talked about a number of topics but that sponsorship in general is really where the largest area of interest is and so was having pointed out if we could break it into key components was important so I think you know we’re not saving the best for last in the sense, that this is one of the most important if not the most important thing that you’re going to learn throughout the 10 seminars and I think what I would say is believe it. So what sponsors want I think the key mistake and probably the biggest error that companies make consistently events, teams, leagues, municipalities, is they spend a tremendous amount of disproportionate time talking about themselves and if you’re at Canadian Tire or Tim Horton’s or Royal Bank you don’t want to hear about the festival or the team you want to hear about how this matches your needs so I sort of use the example I think I even used this in the seminar if your meeting with Swiss Chalet and didn’t spend half your time talking about chicken it was a bad meeting if you’re talking about and I think there’s just a tendency to spit out information about your event, our event’s great and we have this many people and we’re hosting here and here, that’s not what the company is looking for, the company’s looking for how, if you’re a hair salon it’s about people to get their haircut and if you Swish Chalet about people who go to the restaurant and if you’re Meridian credit union it’s about people where they’re going to do their banking, they look at people as potential bank, people that are banking somewhere as opposed to people going to a festival so I think the line there is and will get more into it it’s about them. It’s an extremely important topic and we could we could talk on this topic for three seminars, 3 hours, and it still wouldn’t be enough and I guess what I say to everybody listening believe it that the tendency again is to talk just far too much about yourself and make sure you’re talking about them.”
“So with that we have a couple of key takeaways for today’s webinar, first and foremost is identifying what sponsors want and it really is all about them but understanding kind of more specifically what are some of the main objectives that sponsors are looking for when they decide to sponsor an events and how to understand when they say you know particular objective what do they really mean what is it that they’re hoping to get out of that and 2nd is keeping in mind that the people that are making sponsorship buying decisions are you know they’re just like the just like you and I they’re just people and they’re making those decisions so we can’t remove the human component to the decision making process so a little bit about how do we put ourselves in their shoes and understand their job and how they look at you know their job from their perspective and lastly how to effectively serve a sponsor so what types of service deliverables are sponsors most commonly looking for, how can events and properties of all different sizes provide the level of service that sponsors are looking for nowadays and really have a lasting impact with the sponsor. So the first chart that we wanted to show is taken from sponsorship.com, its results of a 2017 study surveyed sponsors and self-reported data in asking in this case this chart asking sponsors you know what are the most common objectives and it may be a little bit hard to see on the broadcast but the main point that we wanted to really highlight here is that number one that you can see right at the top is creating awareness, creating awareness and visibility and those two words really tend to be synonymous with sponsorship and marketing and advertising in a lot of ways so it’s not necessarily surprising that we see that one at the top but Cary you just got a lot of experience working in sponsorship in particular, a lot of sponsorship meetings, when you’re meeting with sponsors how, what are the objectives you’re hearing most often then does it align with awareness and branding and those types of things or is it more little bit more direct?”
“Here’s how I would answer that it’s awareness and branding but ultimately it’s ROI so I think what happens is awareness so if you take that and somebody says our goal’s awareness and that’s the most common thing somebody will say we just want to get awareness people don’t know about Joe’s coffee shop and also Tim Horton’s might say that, they think everybody knows well Tim Horton’s may want to have awareness that there’s 8 Tim Horton’s in the community or a new one open but what they’re really saying is if you ask the next question awareness for what purpose? Why do you want awareness? If in Joe’s coffee shop he said well if everyone knew about Joe’s coffee shop but no one came in would you be happy and Joe would say no but we kind of assume that if we get a lot of awareness people will come in so the understanding is that awareness is a means to an end it’s important people recognize that in order for people to come in you have to know who it is but so I think again yes that’s very consistent the second one if you can’t read it as increased brand loyalty so that relates the same way but there is a chart you know there’s a direct direction so awareness and ultimately it leads to people making purchase decisions and then having brand loyalties coming back so you know it’s the concept of you want to get them there and then get them back so that’s consistent you can see there’s a whole number of things there that weigh in but I would say that if the person says it or not awareness is a means to an end.”
“For sure. Do you find that there’s a difference between smaller businesses that are a little bit more of a local business versus some of the larger brands you know you mentioned Tim Horton’s you know there’s a difference between the local Tim Horton’s owner and Tim Horton’s the corporation and what their objectives are.”
“Right and I think in your communities you know if you’re in Pickering or Ajax it’s a really good question, you’re dealing with the local operators so there’s this tendency to think Canadian Tire well it doesn’t, you’re not really worried about the person sitting in Calgary or in Vancouver and Toronto at the head office in downtown, the person that owns and operates the Canadian Tire in your community, it may be that’s their life they may own and operate one location or two or the manager even if someone owns three of them who’s the manager on site so I think a lot of I think the mistake is not to localize it, so I think the tendency is to think well let’s we want to get Canadian Tire to sponsor us let’s call somebody at downtown Toronto and my comment would be good luck that’s not going to work go across the road and meet with the manager of the Canadian Tire in Ajax and have that discussion if that person is excited and it becomes a bigger package let them go downtown like don’t go downtown at all don’t consider going downtown don’t think about it don’t call downtown don’t talk to unless you know the person that works in Toronto so if you’re again you’re in Pickering there is this fear of I’ve got to go to Toronto, Montreal but the good news is you don’t they don’t have anything to do with your decisions are localized and that’s where you want to have discussions even with large organizations start with the local person or the only exception that is if you personally or you guys have a relationship with somebody out of another location but otherwise you start locally so I guess my answer to your question is there is not as much a difference as you think, Joe’s coffee shop and the Tim Horton’s some of the decisions are similar.”
“Do you find when you’re meeting with sponsors that there’s a fair there’s about 10 or so most common objectives here do you find that sponsors are leaning more towards one and that really is their main objective from a sponsorship or are they spread pretty evenly across a couple of different ones?”
“I think it’s spread pretty evenly I think it more goes back to what the start of this discussion is that they, the listing’s important like they have they may have internal meetings or the person you’re dealing with may have sponsorship directions they may not have done any some of them don’t even know the term sponsorship they’ll lump advertising marketing sponsorship and don’t get caught up in the word sponsorship you know some companies that are just there mixing in what they do on Facebook and online and are they buying a sign in an arena and it’s all the same and I think trying to overcomplicate it. I think it’s just it goes back to understanding what are they trying to accomplish and then the goal is for you guys to show that you’re a vehicle that this is a really good vehicle to reach your goals but no I don’t, it’s, I think the best answer to that Evan is it’s all case specific by trying to say hey everybody is going to say awareness you get caught because you in a meeting and you say hey we have disagreed so if you say hey we have a great awareness campaign and you go in a meeting in the person is oh that’s too bad, we’re, everybody knows our brand we’re institution in Pickering oh you have an awareness campaign? We’ll pass. So it’s listening before speaking.”
“So next we did want to spend a little bit of time talking specifically about awareness because it is the really the most the most common one but when people are saying awareness what does that mean? What is it, what does awareness mean?”
“Yeah it means I think you put it, I think you could maybe go, I think you put a definition again it may be hard now I don’t know if everybody can see it exactly but maybe you want to maybe definition’s worth a good starting point.”
“Yeah so we just pulled this off Google and it just says knowledge or perception of a situation or fact or so it really I think what it would it really boils down to is that you know awareness tends to be very synonymous with advertising and signage and things like that and putting a logo up and you know that, to assume that that automatically equates to awareness maybe isn’t the case if yeah if a sign is there is that really going to generate true awareness and when is awareness really generated. We were talking before and I had a story that where this really hit home for me so you know was in Montreal for the Christmas holiday season and despite the cold we decided we were going to go ice skating down in old Montreal in the old port and they had the ice cream set up there and it was sponsored by Natrel and working in this industry you know I tend to immediately notice those things and then who are the brands that are sponsoring and what their activation is so that stuff immediately comes to me but just as a bit of an experiment as I was leaving and was there with my girlfriend and her brother in law and ask them who were some of the sponsors that were at the rink my girlfriend Tanya could name a couple there’s Telus and Sleeman was the beer and her brother-in-law Joey really didn’t know what I was talking about didn’t really pick up on any sponsorship that was there so the question really is you know those signs that were there to what extent did they generate awareness if people don’t really remember who was there.”
“Yeah I think it’s a good point although there is no subliminal advertising to you know if you’re watching a hockey game and you’re looking watching a play for two hours and there is a Mr. Sub sign behind it you might not consciously remember it but I’ll tell you where it comes out so you’re driving on the 401 from Oshawa to Toronto and you see a sign and it says Mr. Sub and Dr. Sub and you have to go you’re hungry, starving, and there’s two signs one’s Mr. Sub with the red and white letters and then there’s one that’s Dr. Sub. Most people are going to go to Mr. Sub, most people if they’re in that situation and they and it was a bunch of if’s and they’re hungry enough and they want to have a sub, so why are you going to Mr. Sub it may not be remembering that you may not have been very often maybe you haven’t been in many years but that awareness of a Mr. Sub logo at a hockey game and on a billboard and you can’t necessarily remember where you saw it but you’ve seen it so many times that Dr. Sub might go out of business so if I’m a franchise owner and you ask me which one I want to own, even if I feel that the Dr. Sub quality is a little better the Mr. Sub value in that franchise is a lot higher because of the brand and that means something that’s real that even though and I think the mistake sometimes is to think it’s all about product so again I know I’m sticking on this example here but if I own that Dr. Sub I could be really frustrated because my subs are better why are 3,4,5 times as many people, I mean McDonald’s is the classic case of that, why are 3,4,5 times as many people going into the other place and awareness is you know there’s other reasons brand loyalty, quality right you said but awareness is probably one where you don’t have time to say hey let’s why don’t you go to one and I’ll go to the other and we’ll do a taste test so you know it has some potency on but it has to be a good experience on but just it’s sort of there’s a guess what I say there is so even if you have a couple of people and they don’t notice the sign, subconsciously they may be more aware of it than they think.”
“Right so that might be a great way to kind of overcome that objection if your meeting with the sponsor if their objection is like I just mentioned are people really going to remember my sign if I have it up at an event or festival or your theatre or whatever it is and seems like you know the answer is maybe not immediately but that’s going to come back over time.”
“Yeah and I would argue in one big thing on sponsorship is time, you see a billboard for five seconds you see a rink board you see it for two hours so that’s different and I think that your longevity at time and repetitiveness and all that that has an impact on awareness and that’s when you know when someone’s saying well why would we want to be a sponsor when we can have a radio ad? Well the radio ad’s fleeting it’s 13 seconds, the Facebook you know all of that stuff is very quick what’s unique about sponsorship community activation you know we have a sign up at a festival of 300,000 people are going to come to well create 300,000 people are going to be there for an hour and your TD Bank sign is going to be there so when you guys are selling that it’s different that’s important. I mean I have a bias going into this but I believe the value of sponsorship in a lot of ways is significantly better than a lot of traditional advertising or even non-traditional, even online advertising into social so I think that’s part of it.”
“So we were, the old kind of saying if a tree falls in a forest and no one’s around to hear it we were kind of comparing that as we were coming up with the concept of this webinar so I guess in the example of my story that where people don’t necessarily remember maybe it is the that tree is falling and people don’t really notice whereas you’re saying over time it can actually have an impact. So with awareness again being so closely tied with signage and branding and that kind of stuff we’ve all been to events where you know you look at the top image there and you see sponsors that are activated or recognized in that kind of way but you know you look at the bottom picture and this was just an example pulled off of Google but a really unique way to activate the Sprite brand. It’s something that is certainly going to be remembered and you see in the picture people taking pictures of their kids in front of it so maybe just touch on the need for unique activations as opposed to just a sign.”
“Yeah so you know what I would say on that is an important point, companies are, two points I would make, companies are more sophisticated so you see the Sprite example, a lot of companies will initiate that and say we want to be more integrated, we want something that’s going to be memorable. But secondly, a lot of companies are not sophisticated and the onus as an event for you guys is to sophisticate them. In other words if someone says to you hey we own the local real estate agent and we’d like a sign with words on it, you guys have to say no absolutely not we’re not doing that, you can say it a little nicer than I just did but it doesn’t work. They won’t come back, they won’t get retention, they won’t deliver. So there is a certain, a Sprite, Sprite’s part of Coca Cola, they’re the most, the strongest brand in the history of the world, so yeah they’re pretty good but a lot of people are going to look to your expertise so don’t sell signs, don’t sell ads in magazines, it’s so lazy. So on your guys’ part, very lazy to say we’re doing an event do you guys want to have an ad in our program or do you want to have an announcement that’s 1985 and so what I would say is yes there’s a sophistication but make it you guys make sure it’s sophisticated, make sure all of the situations are like Sprite. They’re going to pay for that, those signage costs are extra and companies like that are going to renew but there’s a tendency to say, you know he or she only asked for a sign. Okay so what? That’s not acceptable as the event that you take the money for something that they’re not going to deliver on. If somebody is spending $1000 of their hard earned money and that doesn’t matter if it’s Coke or the local bakery, it’s still $1000 of hard earned money from that company, you want to provide a return. By giving them something that’s static and has no impact that’s not going to provide a return. So put it on yourself to give them something that has an impact.”
“To kind of bring this full circle to the discussion about awareness, what sponsors are really asking for when they’re asking for awareness is we want a way to stand out, we want a way that’s going to actually whether it’s immediate and short term or it’s a little bit longer time like you said with the Mr. Sub example we want some way that we’re going to be, going to stand out from the crowd and actually be noticed and recognized and hopefully in some cases remembered. So this next chart that we wanted to touch on was taken from the 2017 Canadian sponsorship landscape study and it actually shares data from both 2016 and 2017. In this case, it’s asking sponsors and surveying sponsors, in this case what it’s asking is what factors influence their decision to actually sponsor a particular event over another. Taking a look at the data, the first one consumer passions and interests and really how we interpret that is does the event have a passionate audience and do the interests of that audience align with my brand as a sponsor and is there a good fit between our target customers and the audience that you represent so that really makes sense. But one that really stood out to me was that the number two in 2017 you can see its made a fairly substantial jump up from 2016 to 2017, number two is bias and maybe this is just a little bit of a utopian view that had of the sponsorship industry but you think all of the sponsorship dollars should be kind of allocated based on the pure merit of the event in that but that really doesn’t seem to be the case when you ask sponsors.”
“Yeah so here’s what I would say guys, so if you can listen to this point, bias should is actually 50%, like the number’s wrong. Because when you ask sponsors what’s the reason that you’re sponsoring, I’m surprised that it actually got to 18% but it’s probably 50 or 60 in reality. In other words, why does a sponsor work with an event? And the large part is because they feel good about working with that group or those people. So I’ll give you one small example is Golf Canada, huge event, you know the Canadian championship was called the Bell Canadian Opener for many years and then it changed to the RBC Canadian Opener. The president of Bell moved to RBC that’s why. Because Bell, so Bell as a company they may have thought it was good, the merit, but the new president for Bell came in, they did not exercise their option. The person went to RBC felt really good about the event and that’s talking about millions and millions of dollars and what I would say is there’s nothing wrong with that, that’s part of it too, there’s this sort of well that’s not right that you have a good relationship, think of when you make a, I think a lot of these things is take it to your own decision. Why do you go to a specific retail store, or why do you go to a specific restaurant, or I know my father has gone to Home Hardware forever, his whole life, there’s a Home Hardware, he doesn’t like Home Depot, he doesn’t like Canadian Tire, he’s 76 years old and he’s loyal to Home Hardware because he can tell you that he talks to Frank there. I don’t know what, why that should be relevant that he’s going to buy a hammer at Home Hardware when Home Depot is 20 times the size but he’s loyal to that and he’ll pay more for it and I mean I assume the prices are comparable but he’s going to go out of his way to feel comfortable with people that the feels comfortable with. And people do that with restaurants, places you eat, and again places you shop, people are generally uncomfortable being uncomfortable so again just to clarify the reason why that’s really 50/60% is again you’re asking 100 sponsors why are you making a decision and 18% of them actually said because of someone I like or a bias, it’s probably way higher it’s just people make again you have to have a comfort level, a trust level, and again I’d not only say its factual, I’d say there’s nothing wrong with it so embrace that. For your sponsors are you having coffee with them, are you going golfing with them, do you give them a Christmas gift, do you give them a gift in the summer, are you inviting them to a BBQ, are you doing any of that? Or are they just a number? And if people feel like they’re just a number so they spent $5000 and that’s it. It’s easy for them to go somewhere else next year, but if they have a relationship and you took them for coffee twice, yeah it matters. Yes they’re going to factor in that that $5000 is well spent, part of the reason why it’s well spent is because they like working with Evan Colborne and I think if by walking and again this is the mistake by thinking it’s all about me, they’re sponsoring because my event is so great, incorrect. That’s not the reason that people are sponsoring and it’s often not the reason people are coming back. So again, don’t you know, take that at heart and again my point is bias is actually number one so I’m confident in that I don’t know on an unbiased survey bias would be number one.”
“Yeah I guess it, bias is, the word that could really be used is really relationship like you said in the example of your dad going to Home Hardware it’s really he feels like he has a relationship with that store or somebody at that store. Before this morning we were recording a podcast with Joe Lowes and that was a really big theme. Joe Lowes is our senior sponsorship consultant here at Cosmos and relationship was huge for him, he talked about all the and it’s not so much the big gestures necessarily in building a relationship but these little things over time that could build a relationship. He talked about getting to know the people he was meeting with and if the sale came out of it then that was a bit of the by-product but investing in those relationships and one of the examples he gave was he picked up on a meeting that somebody, one of his contacts really likes this mustard that’s from Cleveland. Joe remembered that and when he was in Cleveland he picked up the mustard and something like that you can’t necessarily quantify but that can go a long way, those small little gestures.”
“Funny story so Joe Lowes again works with Cosmos, he’s worked in sponsorship for 20 years and much of that with the Ottawa Senators so to tell you since you brought it up here two years ago I went to Ottawa to meet Joe and he said I’m having lunch with a friend and it was a gentlemen had lunch sort of and Joe talked a lot about their family and there was like four of us at the table. And that’s how Joe introduced him, a friend of mine was having lunch so anyways and somewhere during the lunch they started talking about that he’s no longer going to sponsor the Ottawa Senators, Joe’s not there anymore. Well it turns out this is an insurance company that spends six figures per year sponsoring the Ottawa Senators but it was really clear that the huge part of that was the relationship with Joe Lowes and the guy had no problem, he was blunt about it. Joe since you left we haven’t been taken care of and we’re going to walk away and he’s not saying the Senators lost three more games and they had this many people and the product isn’t good and the discussion about renewing or not renewing was almost solely based on their relationship and I can tell you in that example if Joe went to work for the Ottawa Red blacks that insurance company would follow him. It’s not team specific it’s person specific.”
“The other thing that I took away from this chart is the first two, the first one being consumer passions and the second one being relationship and bias that we’ve talked about and after that is when you really get into the more quantitative influencers on a decision. So it’s really more so that when a sponsor is looking at something, does the audience align with who I’m trying to reach, do I have a good relationship with the person I’m dealing with, and then I can use all these other quantitative things to justify my decision. Not so much the inverse where looking at all the numbers and then deciding on a property.”
“Yeah and it’s particular when you can, it’s why also that the best sponsorship, partnerships – and I still like the word partnership, we use sponsorship because it’s the common term but I think what you really are going to talk about are partnerships – are when you meet in person. It’s always harder I know certain times you are forced because of geography to do some of these things remotely or over the phone but the best relationships are actual relationships where the person feels they’re more than a client and you’re more than an event person.”
“I think the other thing Joe and I were talking about a fair bit about relationships is when you’re working in sales and you’re working in trying to find sponsors for your event you can feel a little bit of that pressure to make a sale or close a sponsorship or build that partnership but when we’re talking about relationship selling if you go into a situation and you’re trying to force relationship it can really have the adverse effect and hurt you in the long run so going into that first meeting with the intent of learning all about them, and talking about them, really helps to establish a bit more of a relationship.”
“Yeah you say we use the word the relationship, I mean think of when you meet somebody you know and a lot of people have friends for their whole life. Imagine if you meet somebody that seems to hit it off with and think that could be somebody that would be a good friend and you say to them hey do you want to be my friend let’s hang out. Then all of a sudden it just got weird. Typically that’s the worst thing to do. You can say he we should go and grab a coffee, that’s good. If you say can we go for coffee because I want to be your friend, and I think you’d want to be my friend, and this was a really good pre-friend discussion, be worried. So I’m saying that’s when you’re in the sales environment that’s what’s happening. Hey, we’re the Oshawa Generals hockey team and you’re McDonald’s and it would be really good if McDonald’s sponsored the Oshawa Generals hockey team and that’s right when McDonald’s says no it wouldn’t. Why would we want to do that? Oh because it would be good, we’re trying to get money, we want people to sponsor and McDonald’s is a big name. And it’s like okay we’re out. So that’s forcing, that will, you’re trying to force, we’re talking about partnership and relationship you can’t, it’s just like a personal relationship, you can’t contrive it. You can take in any situation, if a waiter comes up to you and says am I doing a good job again it’s weird, you have to let it take it’s natural flow of events.”
“The next thing we wanted to touch on again another chart taken from the Canadian sponsorship landscape study but, so kind of just recapping of where we’re at so far, so what sponsors want, so the first one we talked about is awareness but understanding what awareness means, what they’re really looking for, and that it’s the job of us that are representing the properties to really identify what it is that the sponsor is looking for and then articulate how is it that we can provide that to them. And then the second really being that it’s more about a relationship and that’s going to carry more weight than how many people you have at your event and a lot of the qualitative numbers that you may have about a particular event or anything like that. But the third one we wanted to touch on was about service and about customer service and so again another chart taken from the Canadian sponsorship landscape study and what it asked is asked sponsors to rate on a scale from 1 to 5, some pretty common service elements that are part of sponsorship relationships and asking them how important they find those and how often they find that they’re actually provided and what you can see here are the blue bars that are the sponsors rating of importance and the purple ones provided so you can see there’s a pretty consistent gap between what’s deemed important and what’s actually being provided by properties and that’s been seen every year the study has asked that question to sponsors. So I guess just when you take a look at this chart and you see that disparity between the expectation and what’s being provided how are you seeing that kind of in the sponsorship industry and what can organizations take from this chart and apply to their events?”
“So you’re saying the importance, the difference of the importance relative to what’s provided. Good question. I think the most important thing to see is there’s a gap in almost every example so again are you looking at what you know if you’re really focusing on what’s important the line should match where you can see in every case there’s a shortfall and I think its saying really try and understand what is important and I think organizations can do a much better job with that and say really lets analyze what’s important and lets prioritize, sometimes for instance it tends to be for you to focus on things that aren’t important to them and you said oh we’re going to give you 20 tickets to this hockey game and it’s not something that they ever asked for. Well that’s not important to them so you’re providing it but they’re not looking at it as relevant whereas they could be hospitality for one company and branding for another and sampling for another and again the tendency is to say well you get sampling and tickets and branding and awareness and four different companies may want four different things. So I think really the main thing to me is you can see almost every case here there’s a matching gap and typically that’s a result of not listening.”
“Right, so through those initial meetings really trying to just like we talked about with the awareness is just trying to understand what is important to that sponsor and how I can provide it too.”
“Yeah you might say the initial meetings but I think its fluid, I think it’s every meeting and one of the things I would say too and I know we talked about this when I did the training in person is if somebody does a sponsorship and they sign a deal and they’re not happy and they spend $5000, I don’t want to, the last thing I want to do is refund the $5000, what happens when you know if you go to a store and you buy something and you’re not happy the first thing the store owner tries to do is exchange it you know, a restaurant tries to exchange it, you have a meal that you didn’t like let me bring you something else. They don’t want to refund it right away, you just got your meal you know what I don’t like the taste of this pasta, like okay what would you like? The goal, they still want to charge you, the goal is still to get you to spend $20 on that meal that you enjoy as opposed to if you just refund it because the downside if you just refund it they didn’t have a good experience, maybe it’s okay that they got their money back they just didn’t enjoy their meal they may not come back but if you think about the power of a quick switch. So you got pasta how is it? It’s okay. Well why don’t I get you something, what would you like, I know you were deciding between pasta and a club sandwich, why don’t I bring you the club sandwich? The power of that and I think a restaurant can say well we lose and throw the pasta into the garbage. By not doing that exchange they’re never coming back, there’s the risk that they never come back, had the pasta didn’t like it, now I’m leaving. So one of the things I think a lot of restaurants do is they ask that question how is everything but there’s two problems with that. One people are really reluctant to give a true answer so you know you may so to your person across the table oh this pasta’s not very good but you’re reluctant to give a true answer and two some of the, a lot of restaurants don’t ask it sincerely. The sincere way to ask that question is how’s the meal because if you don’t love it we’ll exchange it. Now who says that? Nobody. If you don’t love it, not like it, if you don’t love it I’d rather get you, do you love it? Is it great? Is it the best club sandwich you ever had? Is it really good? Are you really enjoying it? Because if you don’t really enjoy it, I’d rather give you a hamburger. Now that’s good customer service and if your restaurant’s good then 90% of no I really like it, it’s great, enjoying it, that’s good I don’t want to change it up. I think that’s the, it’s fluid it doesn’t end when you sign a contract it, that that relationship is here’s your deal are you happy with it you don’t want people to feel like they made the mistake.”
“I think the other takeaway that I take from this is there’s going to be some organizations that are on the webinar today that, or maybe smaller organizations could be a non-profit that are putting on an event or are representing a cause or there’s organizations of all different sizes so you may look at this list of service deliverables and say we just don’t have the resources to provide all of that, and maybe that’s part of the, you know we’re not at MLSE we can’t provide all of that. So one of the things that I take away from that is there are some things that are a much bigger discrepancy so you can see a target profile in terms of rated importance and how often it’s provided is there’s a big gap so by providing some of the things that are rated very important but are very seldom provided all of a sudden you start to stand out in that sponsor’s mind as doing something that no one else is doing.”
“You know one thing I am going to say here and you’ll probably hear me say it on, I’ll say it more than once on different sessions that we do. There’s a common misconception, so talking to everyone listening to this, and the common thing is we do these presentations and people will come away saying two things. Sounds good, I don’t have the, and when I say this people are going to nod their heads, sounds good but I just don’t have the money. Or and/or sounds good but I just don’t have the time. I do this all myself we don’t even have time to do sponsorship I’m doing operations so what I would say is this is designed for the smallest of organizations if you’re one employee if you’re sitting on this call and you’re the only employee in your organization it’s still doable. It can be $5000 or $500 or $50 or in kind services or whatever it is, it’s not limiting and I think it’s a mistake to think well this all sounds good for bigger organizations. This concept is identical regardless of how small you are. So there’s businesses within your community that probably want to be engaged with you in some capacity and some of these may be free it may not even be maybe they’re not spending money but they’re engaged somehow but you know most of you guys here believe in what you’re doing, believe in the association you work with or the event you work with and if you believe in it the question is do you believe in it enough that it’s good for a company to partner with and if you can get yourself to that belief then you know you can have a discussion. So again I’m just kind of want to have that parameter and it’s very easy for people to look at this and say, I hear it all the time, the most common objection I hear in any of these types of seminars, sounds good I’m too small for this, I don’t have the time or money. I don’t buy it, I think you all have the time and money because it’s just starting small we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel and say look sponsorship is something growing from zero to one is a lot of growth so it can be from 10-20 or 0-1 or 1000-2000 or whatever but I just think if you’re listening to this seminar, sponsorship is important and again or I think it would be and don’t downplay your ability to have those discussions.”
“Yeah I think in particular for the smaller organizations really think of it in that 80/20 principle so what’s the 20% of these things that are going to have 80% of the results or impact with limited resources I’ll focus on that 20% as opposed to trying to spread myself too thin.”
“And there’s the point of you know again I use the Oshawa Generals, if you’re a sponsor of the Oshawa Generals you might be one of fifty, if you’re a sponsor of a small festival you’re doing and you’re one of one, A. that company can get a lot of value, B. there’s a brand loyalty that people will appreciate, people in your community or on your street or as part of the event will appreciate that that company or those companies have invested. So you can make that case to the company, you can make the company tell us the local Ford dealership or that hey you can be our for $5000 you can be our title sponsor, and you can have signage everywhere, and you can have test drives in the cars and whatever you can do so again don’t, having confidence in the value of your event to partners is important.”
“I think the, just the topic of service and the desire for all these service deliverables from sponsors it does speak to that need to want to be reassured of that decision that there’s somebody that’s just like you or I that’s sitting in the sponsorship decision seat and they have a boss that they have to report about where they’re allocating the funds and they want to be reassured that I made a smart decision, I made a wise decision and here’s how I can back that up. Also want to feel that this isn’t the only thing I have in my job so I feel like I’m being taken care of so I don’t have to worry about it.
So one of the final points that we wanted to touch on before we get into some Q&A here is you know the need to get your sponsors involved. So sponsorship, a lot of the people that are on the call they represent events that are all different whether it’s sports or performing arts or festivals or community events or causes whatever it is but it’s not the same as buying radio ads or billboards or tv ads or things like that. This there’s a lot of cool things that happen with these events and these properties and getting sponsors involved in that and showing them the behind the scenes of the access and that kind of stuff too can go a long way to getting and building that bias a little bit in your favour and building that relationship. And you’ve seen that with the Beast you know we have some sponsors that we try to get involved in different ways not just your traditional ways but get involved with the hockey celebrations, get involved with things like that.”
“Yeah I think providing unique access to sponsors, they’re just people. So if the sponsor is the director of marketing of a company and you can have them meet an athlete or meet a performer. So you might say well it’s not that big we have a local band that’s performing. Okay well the person that is the marketing manager of RBC Pickering might be really cool for them to get backstage to meet the local band. They might think nothing of it, that’s pretty unique for that person. Or one that’s common is a lot of events there’s cooking cook offs or four people made jam and we’re going to do a contest for the best jam at the X festival well you have three judges. Why are the three judges not three of your corporate sponsors? That kind of stuff. That’s different, it’s interactive, it’s fun, it’s also not stress related. Now if you tell, you ask one of your corporate partners to sing on the stage you get a pretty narrow group, 1 out of 10 or 1 out of 20 might say that’s cool and the other 19 are going to be scared and not want to do it. So part of it is not putting people in the situations where they’re going to be uncomfortable but can you be a judge for again they’re not the one making the jam they’re the one judging. So I think if you can put, create some environments where the sponsors, if you think of the sponsor as a person you know it’s Mary it’s not McDonalds, it’s not TD bank it’s Mary Jones who is sitting here and she may have a family and she has a life and she happens to work for TD. Well so what’s wrong with doing a couple of fun interactive things and the reason again back to previous point is then it becomes memorable and it’s an important, I’ll give you sort of one quick example that we’re doing with the Brampton Beast and I’ve seen it with a number of teams. So you have a school day event, company will sponsor kids coming to a hockey game. Great company spends money, the company goes to meet the kids, and 500 kids come to a hockey game curtesy of RBC. That’s not what’s powerful, what’s powerful is every one of those 500 kids writes a thank you to RBC. Dear RBC, I got to go to my first hockey game, and some of them are pictures and some of them are letters and that’s what’s going to be up on the wall at RBC and what’s underrated is that’s the number one reason for renewal. Not I got my money’s worth, there’s other reasons too. But the number one reason, talking about bias, the number one reason is because I got 26 letters sent to my office of kids that went to that hockey game so I’m in. So you have to think if someone, cynically you can say that’s crazy that’s not a very good banking decision for RBC! Maybe not. But there’s that feeling of the team did a good job and that’s the kind of thing you can do at any event. Is there a proper thank you? Is there a proper acknowledgement. And again the example there it’s from the kids, so it’s not from the school. It’s not the same for the school to say thank you RBC, it doesn’t have the same touch as a 9 year old. So it’s really thinking these things through of what is actually going to have an impact. All that stuff works.”
“So that kind of brings us to a wrap on the presentation so just to wrap up some of the themes that we talked about you know first is understanding when you’re meeting with sponsors understanding what the true objective of their sponsorship is. So if they say awareness, digging a little bit deeper awareness does not necessarily equate to branding or signage or things like that, it’s understanding really what are they hoping to get out of this sponsorship and how what are their goals are they short term, long term and all sorts of things. So the sponsor in terms of what sponsors want they’re looking for someone who really understands their business, understands their objectives and how they’re going to help them achieve them.
And the second being relationships and you know people want to deal with people they like and want to buy from people they like so focusing on a relationship as opposed to thinking only trying to make the sale in the beginning and talking only about your event and talking all about yourself. Focusing on the relationship is going to go a lot further and ultimately is one of the bigger influencers on decision making for sponsors. So relationship.
Getting involved, showing them that this is cooler than buying billboards, this is cooler than buying radio ads, it’s not the same, there’s a lot more benefit to sponsoring an event or a team or something like that then there is if you just want eyeballs there’s other ways to do that but this is more than that.
So with that, we’re going to turn it over to some Q&A so throughout the presentation if you had any questions or anything, if you submitted them then great so Rebecca any questions? No? Okay in that case we’ll leave it at that for today so again want to thank Sport Durham and Central Counties Tourism for hosting us today and allowing us to host this webinar. Our next episode is two weeks today and that’s where we’re really going to start getting into identifying opportunities, what specific opportunities sponsors are interested in and what they’re looking for, and I think one of the more popular questions about sponsorship in particular is what’s it worth and how do I understand what my sponsorship inventory is worth and how am I making sure that I’m not charging too much or too little so that’s on our next episode which will be two weeks today. So again want to thank everybody for taking the time out and tuning into the webinar again this has been recorded so everyone that is registered to the webinar will have access to the recording in case you missed anything and we’ll also make sure the slides are made available for everybody in case it was hard to see it on the screen here. With that thank you very much and we’ll see you in a couple weeks.”