"If speaking is silver, then listening is gold." — Turkish Proverb
Recently, I found myself on a hunt to discover best practices on sponsorship servicing. I found myself diving through various books, articles & other resources to find a system or standardized process that would allow our team to maintain its success in terms of partnership retention and satisfaction. I started asking myself the usual questions: Is it all about ROI? Is there a way to “Moneyball” the process – through deeper statistical analysis? All of these questions were flooding my thought process, but it wasn’t until I took a step back and simplified everything that I found the inspiration I needed to drive my strategy moving forward.
Corporate partnerships are relationships driven by the duties of both parties to deliver against their distinct objectives. Simply put, it’s a commitment. In every commitment, whether being a marriage, relationship or friendship, success is dictated based on the effectiveness of its communication strategy. The idea then dawned on me: the key to providing world class servicing to sponsors is to do something that we all don’t do enough of on an everyday basis, which is simply to “L.I.S.T.E.N.”.
“Leveraging Insights from Sponsors: Tactics, Environment & Needs”: The mission of this platform is to “keep it simple”. Listening to sponsor’s needs & objectives, while respecting their time. This platform calls for 2 major checkpoints (at the beginning and ending of a program or term) that, unlike a survey or report, are developed to encourage discussion and an ability for the property to listen, rather than speak (or sell for the time being). The beauty of this system is that it can be adapted to any type of property: Sports, Music, Festivals, etc. Please find an overview below that one can use as a tool to produce their own “L.I.S.T.E.N.” template:
Environment: Business objectives outside of the sponsorship. This allows a property to gauge what drives their business on a daily basis. i.e.:
1. Brand Awareness
2. Driving Traffic
3. Innovation (gamification)
Needs: What do they require from the sponsorship this year? Are we able to apply key learnings to drive the strategy? i.e.:
1. Create an innovative digital platform that can deliver against objective #1 above.
2. Ensuring contractual obligations are met
Tactics: The foundation for the strategy derived from the sponsor’s needs:
1. Sponsorship of “new digital platform” launching this fall
2. Integrating & amplifying new program through other assets
Opportunities: With a guarantee that the property will include 1 area of improvement to spark the discussion of key learnings to take into the following term – see example below:
1. Moving forward with the key learning that more collaboration was necessary between property, client & agencies involved.
2. Potential to access new innovations that can be applied to the digital platform
3. Ability to shift promotional dollars if one platform proved to be more efficient in terms of engagement
Highlights: Positives that came out of the delivered program/strategy – example below:
1. Drove digital traffic in key demo (M18-34)
2. Over-delivered on media value (+10% impressions when measured against forecasted)
3. Foundation to build off digital platform in future years (met the “gamification” objective of the client’s external business objectives).
Rating: Measuring effectiveness:
Please highlight one of the following as it pertains to the sponsorship of “Property x”:
1. Did not deliver against business objectives
2. Delivered against most business objectives
3. Delivered on all business objectives
4. Over-delivered on all business objectives
Thank you for reading, I hope the “L.I.S.T.E.N.” platform helps your business, or at least inspires a new, simplified approach that will drive success in all partnerships you’re involved in on a daily basis.