As well as publishing this website and a couple of others, we run a sports marketing agency which receives a lot of sponsorship proposals. Despite an increasing professionalism in the sport of sailing and yacht racing, many sailing rights holders’ presentations are inferior to those we get from 20 year old motor-racing drivers .
After a few tough years, sponsorship is showing signs of growing, especially for proporties that can prove their value to brands who are looking for ways to engage disparate audiences. At the top end of the sport of sailing, rights holders who have been working incredibly hard to educate brands about their value are expected to announce big deals in coming weeks, which will be good news for sailing.
But having just read another fairly lazy attempt at soliciting funds for what is fundamentally an interesting sailing campaign, I thought I would share some of the things that bug me about many of the pitches that come onto my desk.
[cleeng_content id="325264650" description="99 cents or 10,000 hours. Become an expert for less than a dollar. We do the hard work so you don\'t have to." price="0.99" referral="0.1"]Sponsorship Proposal Tip 1 – Your Cost is not the Price!
Just because a can of Red Bull costs a few pennies to manufacture does not mean that the brand sells you it for pennies. Instead, the sugar and carbonated water and mystery energy ingredients give you wings and a reflected sense of cool. You pay a couple of bucks for that product because its value to you is much higher than the cost to the manufacturer.
Similarly, the price for your sailing campaign should not be the amount that it will cost you to deliver it. The price, or the amount you ask for, should be a valuation of the benefit that the sponsor will derive from being involved.
Bear in mind that the sponsor is looking for a return on the amount invested that is a multiple of the outlay – if they spend $100,000 then they are looking to get $300,000 or $400,000 worth of value in return.
There may be a time in the negotiation where a sponsor will want to know how the money will be allocated, but showing the equipment and team running costs doesn’t highlight the value of the investment.
Sponsorship Proposal Tip 2 – Invest in Photography.
Photos are great, and many proposals include pictures of racing or the boat with space for logos, but we are talking about portraits – portraits where you are not wearing sunglasses! Who is the face of the campaign? Who is the guy or girl who is going to be standing on the podium or speaking into a camera?
For sailors this is especailly important. A boat can’t do an interview, no matter how much square footage of branding there is on the sails. Who is the person who is acting as the brand representative and delivering the value to the sponsor away from the racing at conferences, trade fairs and hospitality events?
Sponsorship Proposal Tip 3 – Go Digital.
In the current environment, there is no excuse not to have a clean, professional looking web presence that is current! Websites with blogs and content management systems (CMS) can be built cheaply and Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin profiles are free.
An athlete or team Facebook page is a way to show that you have a ready-made audience for a sponsor. The insights at the back end of Facebook will also provide you with demographic information about the kind of people that your sponsors will be talking to.
Look for Opportunities.
It’s a tough market out there, but like most downturns in the economy, it presents an opportunity to differentiate your campaign from others. Stop thinking like a sportsperson who needs money and start thinking like a commercial rights holder. Put yourself in the shoes of a marketing director who is not looking to sponsor a boat, but is looking to engage with hard to reach audiences.[/cleeng_content]