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Why is it so hard for sponsors to say ‘no’? – by ‘guest blogger’ Morten Østergaard

Too many companies take on sponsorships that they don’t really want or need. The result is a cluttered sponsorship landscape drowned in inactive logos, and sponsors who give the industry a bad name because they claim sponsorship is a waste of money.

How do we fix it? Just say no!

In my experience, 9 out of 10 sponsorships are sold rather than bought, meaning that it is the rights holder that gets a potential sponsor on the phone and starts the sales process. If you think sponsors have proactively sought out their sponsorships, think again.

Companies get so many sponsorship enquiries that it makes them passive and complacent. The thinking becomes: “We get so many offers that there’s no need for us to go out looking for good sponsorship deals. Let’s just cherry pick the best of the incoming calls.”

They develop complicated metrics to rate the offers and find the most appropriate (and that’s the most professional of the sponsors; many just hand out money by gut feeling).

Let’s have coffee

A smart sponsor says ‘no’ 99 per cent of the time. Maybe not a flat out “No way!”, but rather a “No, but we like your concept and your event. Let’s have a coffee and see if we can twist it into something that fits our marketing objectives”.

(This ties in well with the advice I would give to rights holders to approach a sponsor with a rough idea of the sponsorship concept, and not a turnkey solution that the sponsor can’t modify.)

Don’t feel obliged to sponsor. Don’t tie up money and resources in mediocre sponsorship deals that you will regret down the road.

Instead, start with the end! Define what your marketing efforts should look like 12 months or three years from now and do your best to choose the right sponsorship – if any.

And let’s be realistic. The phone won’t stop ringing, so most sponsorships will still be sold rather than bought. This is how the world works. It is how companies sell their products, people find new jobs and husbands meet wives. But sponsors: Practice saying ‘no’ and be proactive.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]This post is written by Morten Østergaard, founder of the blog SPONSOR MED VILJE.

Morten is currently employed as a marketing manager for Plenom A/S. Additionally, he works as a strategic advisor in terms of sponsorship solutions and has worked as an external lecturer at Aarhus School of Business/Aarhus University and as a senior consultant for Promovator A/S. He is the author of the sponsorship book “Luk Logoland – en bog om intelligent sponsering“.[/author_info] [/author]



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