Sponsorship Trends Going Up

While our economy has taken a battering in the last year or so and all companies have retrenched somewhat, sponsorship trends have slowed but are still moving forward. As we emerge from the recession companies will be looking for fresh perspectives and a way to try and reach their potential clients once again. Traditional forms of advertising may start to take a backseat and creative sponsorship approaches seem destined for much growth.

It’s important to remember that over-deliverers are likely to gain the most and this applies in the world of business generally and in sponsor relations specifically. While there is always room for a brand-new or even intricate approach to a potential sponsorship arrangement, companies are increasingly looking to provide extra value and will be looking for the sponsored party to position accordingly as well.

While sponsorship spending grew by only a few percentage points last year, it is projected to grow back to double digit increases as we emerge fully from the recession. This trend is particularly encouraging and underlines that companies are willing to think “outside of the box” when it comes to marketing their products and services.

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In 2008, it is estimated that upwards of $17 billion was spent by companies in the USA to sponsor individuals, teams, and organizations. This is a huge amount of money and while it backed off during the economic downturn, it still represents a considerable opportunity. A company cannot exist without marketing in one form or the other and there is plenty of potential for growth as the recession ends.

To capitalize on sponsorship trends, the sponsor seeker must aim to provide a realistic valuation of the package sought. There is a tendency to calculate how much money is actually required, based on how much it costs to run the operation, team, program or property. This should not represent an approach unless it automatically equates to the value that the company might receive.

Whenever a campaign is being created, differentiation must be the focus. Creativity and an ability to think outside the box will likely bring results. It is never good enough to think traditionally, or to even copy the efforts of other successful dealmakers. Remember to create a unique selling position for your entity and position it correctly.

It is estimated that as much as 68% of all sponsorship dollars are spent in the field of sports. Our society in general will continue its love affair with sporting events, but every facet of commerce is likely to see growth in sponsorship involvement this year and beyond.

Sponsorship trends may be well on the rebound, but as an active sponsor seeker you should be keeping your finger on the pulse of trends in general. If you can tie your product or service to something that is becoming of increasing interest within society, then you’ll likely be of great interest to companies across the board.

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Research All Sponsorship Options

People often refer to the most visible sponsorship arrangements or sample sponsorship proposals and assume that it all revolves around the exchange of money for the services of a particular individual or team. There are a large variety of different sponsorship options available and they are often limited only by the scale of imagination. Wherever there is a common feeling of interest between the interested party and the potential backer, there is generally plenty of scope for exploration.

An approach to a potential sponsor has to be engaged from a position of strength. You must know all there is to know about the organization, it’s mission statement, its overall plan for growth and the demographics of its target market. This will require a good deal of research but count it as time well spent, as whomever is the most prepared will have the best chance of success.

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Sponsorship options abound, ranging from full financial backing for an individual event, season or project, all the way down to partial product availability in return for nominal exposure. Sometimes the supplier will give an individual or the team a discount against the purchase of needed materials or services, but remember that all forms of sponsorship are best hinged on a quantifiable return to the investor.

Many would argue that sponsorship is a qualitative medium and that a return is not too easy to quantify. Direct advertising, on the other hand, can often be tracked on a dollar per dollar basis, using “cost per click” among other metrics through Internet advertising, for example. This is why, when reviewing sponsorship options, the seeker should be quite clear in his or her own mind about the return on investment the sponsor may expect.

Research is of paramount importance when preparing to approach a potential investor. You must be sure that your product, team or individual is of interest to the same demographic as the sponsor’s. You are providing them a vehicle to reach their target audience from a different perspective and this is where creativity can be particularly helpful.

By completing your research correctly, you will open up a variety of sponsorship options and be able to approach the target from the best angle or angles. Maybe this company is not best placed to become your overall sponsor and to receive your primary exposure. Always try and put itself in the shoes of the company and ask why this company should engage with you and what would its potential return be?

As long as our world relies on communication and exposure to sell products and services there will always be a need for sponsorship relations. Creative individuals and teams should be proactive when considering an approach to an organization and stress the benefits of a relationship at the front end.

Almost always, sponsorship options are based on a variety of tangible and intangible benefits. Sometimes intangible benefits are sufficient to gain agreement, but they must be backed up by solid reasoning, great research and achievable goals.

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Music Sponsorships Bring Us the Arts

Music is one of our most treasured arts and every one of us appreciates it in one form or genre, or another. It is something that we grow up with from an early age and often turn to it for relaxation, enjoyment or entertainment. Music, quite simply will never grow old and there are thus multiple opportunities for artists to come before us and to entertain our senses.

Music sponsorships can come in many different shapes and forms and are appropriate, no matter what your style. From classical to jazz, from hip-hop to soft rock, aspiring artists and groups find a willing audience in one sector of society or another. For those who really love music and have a skill for its production, working out how to “get in front” of the audience can sometimes be challenging. Music sponsorships offer a helping hand in this direction.

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Organizations that get involved with music sponsorships can benefit in many different ways. By sponsoring “the arts” they are seen as being philanthropic by some and gain considerable, positive public relations “points”, often subconsciously. They may benefit additionally when they are seen as helping to bring forward something which enhances our leisure time.

For an individual, tour, band or an event, getting music sponsorships can be critical to success or failure. One of the most popular ways for a music act to gain credibility and exposure is through a tour or a series of events. These can be costly to set up including the preparation, travel, promotion, on-site production and a host of other elements. Much of this money has to be spent in advance of ticket receipts.

Assuming that you have significant talent, ability or show and have enough feedback to convince you to go ahead, one are the first steps you must take is to craft an introductory letter to potential backers. Identify your target audience very carefully. Note the demographic makeup inside and out, ast this will give you an idea what company to approach and why.

When you are analyzing your target audience and preparing your presentation to try and attract music sponsorships, you should establish a profile for your listener. You should know what he or she likes to do away from the music scene, thereby identifying the type of product or services that they tend to purchase. When you have done this, make sure that you only consider approaching organizations that fit this profile to a “T.”

Remember that you must include all elements of production in your cost analysis before you are ready to move forward. If you are seeking music sponsorships for a tour of some kind, have you adequately identified all the cost areas, including funds that it would take for you to promote any new sponsors? Be very clear here as any information you put forward to a potential sponsor will be analyzed to see if you have counted correctly.

You will need evidence of your ability in many different areas. Not only will a potential sponsor want to confirm your talent and production abilities, the company will also want to know that you are adequately prepared and ready from a promotional, public relations, production and media point of view.

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How to Compose a Sponsorship Letter

There may be quite a lot of legwork associated with sponsor hunting and you will undoubtedly have to compose numerous sponsorship letter applications as you proceed. Sometimes you only have one opportunity to pass in front of the decision-maker and you had better make sure that you make a good impression. This is where a lot of people fall down as they simply do not prepare their case correctly and give themselves the best chance of success.

Sponsorship opportunities abound and it is likely to be little let-up in the rate that commercial organizations support individuals, teams or organizations. Individual, event or team sponsorships are practical ways for companies to reach their target audiences and often all it takes is for the enterprising seeker to light a spark.

A sponsorship letter should be ultimately professional and you may have to invest a little bit of your resources here to make sure that it is. The good news is that every computer these days comes with a top class wordprocessing software suite and you can compose a professional looking sponsorship letter quite easily. If you are not very good at composing letters, or putting across what you are trying to say in writing, then get a professional to do it for you. This need not necessarily cost you much in the grand scheme of things, either.

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Do you have a logo? As an individual seeking sponsorship you do not necessarily have to have one, but if you are trying to get support for an event of some kind you need to ensure that your branding is correct and looks acceptable before you go ahead.

Do not even think about writing a sponsorship letter until you are completely clear in your own mind of the benefits to the target company. Don’t think about the benefits to you — this should be the last thing in your mind and not the body of your sponsorship letter.

You will need to be very succinct, clear and upbeat when you compose a sponsorship letter. When the person responsible for this element of marketing at your favored company starts to read your mail, it is very important that you catch his or her interest in the first couple of sentences. Far too often, such a letter would be relegated to the trash can, as the individual’s time is of course very precious.

You should be effectively proposing an association when you approach an organization with a sponsorship letter. You are going to provide them with certain benefits and services and you would like to know if they are interested in forming a relationship with you. You must be very professional and clearly outline why they should consider “buying” your services from you.

You do not stand much of a chance of getting past the first base when approaching potential sponsors unless you have adequately prepared your case. You undoubtedly have a figure in mind when you start this process, but are you absolutely sure that the company will gain much more than this dollar figure through such an association with you? Remember that they will be effectively investing money in a sponsorship agreement and will expect to see results in one way or another, even though these may come in intangible form, such as goodwill.

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Putting Your Sponsors First

More often than not, an individual charged with the responsibility of raising money will think how he or she is going to attract support for the venture, team, sporting activity or other worthy cause by adding up the money that needs to be raised. Efforts will be put into coming up with this figure and how individual packages are going to be made available to potential sponsors. Often this effort is given much more attention than the actual calculation of sponsor benefits to start off with.

One of the secrets to how to get sponsorship dollars, and there are several, is to always look at the proposal from the point of view of the company that you are approaching. It’s best to start off afresh and really ask why that organization would want to be involved with you anyway. Don’t attach any dollar figures whatsoever at this stage of your investigation.

Sponsorship is not a philanthropic act, as popular culture has led many of us to believe along the way. The marketing director is certainly not in this frame of mind and needs to be sure that his company is seeing a real benefit, whether it is tangible or intangible before anything further is said.

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If you don’t value sponsor benefits when you’re looking for corporate backing, you have almost no chance of getting past the gatekeeper. There are many thousands of requests arriving at a typical marketing director’s in box or secretary’s desk and the majority of them are not considered. Adequate thought and preparation is not put into these proposals as those who are making the approach do not take into account that this should be, at the very least, an equal partnership with positive gains for everyone concerned.

If you’re working on your project and need finance to make it happen, be it a sporting activity, something to do with the arts or any other field, you need to be realistic. What is it that makes your approach newsworthy or of interest to the general public? If you have something real then you will undoubtedly be of interest to a commercial organization or two. Sponsor benefits must be apparent, even though you may apply creative interpretation as you are brainstorming.

The sponsor benefits you should be considering may be difficult to realistically quantify as hard and fast figures may not be calculable according to direct sales of the company’s products. Often benefits come in sheer exposure and this can be determined if you are certain that your message, however it is sent out, will reach the target audience of the company. A lot of research is required here and you will need to take into account attendance, viewer figures, readership, Internet traffic, listeners and so on.

By showing that your operation can truly reach the target audience of the company, you have a good chance of moving forward. The acid test is always whether the end result will be that the target buys the sponsors product, or even just visits your website to check it out. Sponsor benefits vary widely and you really have to know what your sponsor is all about before you approach.

An organization sometimes attempts to market “major sponsor benefits” in various places. Options may include sponsor name as a link on a website, inclusion in the newsletter, mention in a Yellow Pages advert, or so on. Each benefit must be backed up with real evidence to show that is truly worth consideration and has an accurate value.

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