Holiday Mingling and Learning What Sponsors Want

The holidays have given me a chance to circulate among the marketers who make sponsorship decisions and find out what’s on their minds. Here are some of the things I’m learning:

1. Sponsorship is expensive. The cost-efficiencies of web-based marketing are forcing new scrutiny on costs. Take another look at your package. The days of bundling frivolous add-ons to justify a price tag are over.

2. “We’re trying to get all of our marketing investments to help us work harder at other priorities like innovation and youth marketing.” Sponsors want their partners to help them do things like listen to customers, test new innovations among key groups and wrangle new media.

3. Sharing is an important social theme. One CMO I spoke with wants to help customers share with each other or otherwise join forces to tackle important issues and make something meaningful happen.

4. Sponsors are marketers, first and foremost. Most marketers are just looking to stay employed. All the hype out there in the business culture around innovation and risk-taking is just that–hype. The risk-takers are not sitting in the corner office. They are running their own companies. So look for ways to help partners take measured risks without losing their shirts. And make sure you have ways to measure ass-covering ROI.

The holiday season is a great time to re-think your approach to sponsorship. Things are slowing down. Take a fresh look at what you’re putting out there. If your offer isn’t helping your prospect market more powerfully and efficiently in a digital culture, you may be facing an endless sales cycle.