Selling a sponsorship means finding the right hook. I’m talking about that deep need that hooks a sponsor’s attention and gets them thinking creatively about how they might work with you. Erik Gensler, manager of sponsorships for New York-based TMG—The Marketing Group, handles sponsorships, marketing and promotions for Broadway theaters. He recently secured a deal for the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau in Fort Myers, Florida to sponsor the Roundabout Theatre Company’s series of post-show discussions with theatergoers and actors. The time from conception to contract: three months.
Gensler was able to close the Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel deal because he not only showed an understanding of the potential sponsor’s needs–he also found creative and appealing ways to meet them. “New York is an important feeder market for Florida,” he explains. “They were looking for an opportunity to reach an upscale demographic, and people who have money to go to the theater have money to go on vacation. They were also looking to get tickets to entertain travel agents.”
The Roundabout’s series provided an opportunity for marketing to the theater’s subscribers along with sponsoring private parties. “This fall we’re planning a night on Broadway, where they can invite their clients to a cocktail reception and then to see the show,” Gensler says. “They’re using this sponsorship to give a great evening to a couple hundred of their clients.” It’s a great hook.