Someone on the team side in NASCAR racing had asked me what business people look for in racing sponsorship proposals. The list below highlights characteristics that would set a sponsorship pitch apart as warranting attention beyond its move to the physical or virtual recycle bin:

  • You MUST GET THIS! You have a brand, just as a potential sponsor does. Be ready to explain how the brands fit with one another. You want your brand and the sponsor's brand to enter an extended relationship. For the relationship's success, your brand must be supportive and complementary to the sponsor's brand. Clearly show you've thought about a strategy and share what you do to actively manage your brand to maximize audience awareness and ensure a strong reputation.
  • Do homework on the potential sponsor and its BUSINESS objectives. Don't start with sports talk. Show right away you've made an effort to understand what's important in the sponsor's business. Connect the assets you have to how the sponsor can create more happy customers, revenue, and profits from doing business with you.
  • Focus on what the sponsor's trying to achieve in its primary business activities and how the sponsorship contributes – not the other way around. I've actually had drivers start with how important a sponsorship helping them achieve their racing ambitions. Frankly, the sponsorship pitch isn't about making your dreams come true. Enough said.
  • Talk about how your sponsorship assets can help attract attention. Pretty pictures of sponsorship assets (i.e., racing cars) are in everybody's presentation. What's rarely seen is a creative treatment of how these assets can be strategically and innovatively used to grow revenue and profit for the sponsor. Don't simply say how many tickets are available. Share the innovative ways you've considered to maximize the value and reach of those tickets.
  • Your audience may not be fans – but they do want to know what you can do to make their fans feel special. It's dangerous to assume a potential sponsor is a fan of your sponsorship category. Certainly though, they're big fans of their own businesses, brands, and customers.  Focus your appeal on how you can make the sponsor's fans feel special with insider and exclusive experiences.
  • Demonstrate you’re legitimately metrics-driven. While this includes background on your sponsorship performance, it's really important to show how many of your target sponsor's customers you can reach along with numbers on how effective other sponsors who've partnered with you have been at growing their businesses. Provide real ROI metrics, or at least important components in the ROI equation.

There you have it from my perspective. In reality, the specifics work for preparing other sports, entertainment, or charitable sponsorships. The list can also help marketers determine whether a sponsorship proposal is worth considering for a next step. So how about it marketers - what else would you add to the list of requirements you have for groups seeking sponsorships?

If you're pitching sponsorships, adopt these principles, and you may have a shot at a second phone call. - Mike Brown