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From major league to little league sports sponsorship best giveaways should focus on the sponsor’s goals and objectives. Sports properties know that they have a great commodity. The positive emotions fans have with a sports property will presumably transfer to the sponsor’s brand, resulting in positive brand image. When negotiating a sponsorship first consider the customer and trade segments that you want to emotionally connect with. The sport’s properties fans are a natural if they align with your customer psychographics. Also consider how you may work with the sponsorship to build a quick story, tying in solutions to customer pain points or their aspirations to unlock the human side of the sponsorship/ customer relationship equation.
Strategy, Teamwork and Scoring Goals
I was fortunate to be a part of the corporate team that managed the NFL sponsorship as sales promotions strategist.
Our primary objective was to create a positive brand association to generate increased customer demand for our product among NFL fans.The basic sponsorship included a TV ad buy across all NFL teams and the right to use the official sponsor designation and the League’s logo in our marketing materials.
Prior to meeting with the NFL’s marketing team, we stepped back to review our corporate goals and how the sponsorship relationship fit into our strategy. We broke down the opportunity to our current customer segments, our trade relationships, the NFL’s customer segments and the many creative ways we can potentially tell a story incorporating the theme of victory for us all.
Taking Action and Gaining Points
The sales promotion planing process explored every opportunity to build a positive brand association for both parties. Here’s what we came up with to enhance the deal for all:
A recognition award for the player that put in the greatest effort for each game was customized exclusively for our brand using our corporate tagline. This award was in the form of an announcement posted as in-stadium electronic signage and as a customized billboard announcement during post-game shows.
The NFL allowed us to insert an offer into the season holder direct mail packages sent out to each individual team’s fans. We introduced the new relationship with an exclusive offer to participate in our loyalty program, along with customized discounts and a high-value coupon to get started.
A special ad buy was negotiated for all NFL team Game Day Programs. We announced the relationship with a free sweepstakes offer awarding vacation packages centered on major NFL fan events.
For our trade customers we offered NFL promo items among the gifts we awarded within our trade rewards program.
Trade show giveaways and our booth featured a football theme along with promotional giveaways for the highly coveted NFL promotional items.
We created several sweepstakes and contest for the trade and specific customer segments awarding trips to the NFL Pro Bowl in Hawaii. As a travel industry brand our product was prominently featured along with a football themed image to create an emotional connection. The new sweepstakes programs were featured in trade ads and segmented consumer direct mail.
Our sales department created contests and giveaways awarding NFL promo items for corporate account functions they attended.
Measuring Sponsorship Through Sales Promotion
Measurement of our loyalty program and coupon offers indicated that we SCORED big time! We were successful in building awareness and motivating NFL fans to purchase action for our products and services. In today’s marketing environment social media integration is very important element of a sponsorship program.
Online sweepstakes and other themed promotions can build excitement among the properties fan base to create an immediate positive brand association for you. Sweepstakes online can also be used to announce the relationship to your customer’s and prospects using social media to drive results.
The bottom line: make sure you explore every opportunity to create measurable sales promotional campaigns and promotional giveaways to achieve the tight emotional connection that will closely link the fan’s passion for the property to your brand. ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it’. Sales promotions techniques are increasingly becoming the best way to evaluate the sponsorship return-on- investment and to re-structure the deal to meet ever parties goals.