When evaluating sponsorship opportunities, smart marketers go beyond assessing the assets, rights and benefits that a rights holder commits to delivering. They also seek information on whether the property will be a good partner.
In addition to due diligence that includes researching the property’s track record, and speaking with current and former corporate partners, brands should examine the prospect’s org structure pertaining to sponsorship.
How many people are on the sponsorship/partnership team? How many are dedicated to contract fulfilment and servicing partners (as opposed to strictly prospecting and selling)?
Beyond the org chart, job descriptions often shed light on a team, league or event’s approach to corporate partnerships, giving a valuable glance at what a potential sponsor might expect from the relationship.
Take for example a recent job posting by the San Jose Sharks for a Partnerships Insights Expert. It signals to prospective sponsors that 1) the team prioritizes helping partners achieve their objectives and 2) that it is committed to evolving the organization’s approach to sponsorship.
While the full listing is currently available at the link above, here are some relevant excerpts:
“The Partnerships Insights Expert is part of our vision to pioneer the future of sports and entertainment. We want to innovate the way we sell, service, and develop partnerships. With a focus on delivering value to partners and fulfilling shared objectives, this position will be critical in doing so by bringing fresh ideas and a data-first mindset to the group.
“The role must live between data and business, translating data to digestible insights and compelling content that ultimately generates revenue and partner satisfaction.
“Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Use data to illustrate partnership value to current partners, ensuring partnership performance is aligned with partner objectives
- Lead the strategy and implementation of the Partnership success measurement process”
Of course, learning about prospective partners can, and should be, a two-way street. Rights holders can glean critical information about brands by similarly reviewing their potential sponsor’s job descriptions.
A recent scan of posted sponsorship positions quickly reveals the following:
- With goals to “drive demand for new customer acquisition…(and) develop and drive engagement programs that pay off a Network Superiority and reduce churn,” Verizon’s sponsorships must “integrate and garner value across all key lines of business: Network/Technologies, Marketing, Consumer Products, Business Solutions, Content and Hospitality (Consumer and Corporate).” In addition, they must target key segments, including multicultural and Millennial audiences, in addition to general market consumers. “End-to-end sponsorship programs” are developed “in conjunction with creative, social, media and experiential teams” and in “tight coordination with Integrated Marketing, Brand Creative, media and Business Units (Consumer, Business and Network/Technologies).” Sponsorship performance reporting includes biweekly, monthly and quarterly tracking, and “key partners” can expect quarterly business reviews.
- Sports sponsorships are “playing an ever-increasing role as a key marketing communications vehicle to drive” T-Mobile brand and business growth. Goals for the wireless carrier’s partnerships include the ability to “reach consumers with the Un-carrier message in contextually relevant ways, create talked-about moments for the brand, deliver meaningful value to our T-Mobile customers, and extend our reach and impact locally.”
- In addition to driving “business development objectives,” UnitedHealth Group’s team sports sponsorships are activated “to achieve brand advancement, social responsibility and employee engagement objectives.” Furthermore, the health insurer aims to monetize relationships by building business with sports properties, i.e., be prepared to become a UHG client if you’re receiving sponsorship from the company.