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IEG International Conference on Sponsorship
Chicago, March 2000

Introduction
Sponsorship is the world's fastest- growing form of marketing. In 1999, corporations spent over $19.2 billion dollars on sports, arts, entertainment, causes, and events, according to IEG research.

I first saw the possibilities of how my core business -- booking talent and producing special events -- and the sponsorship business could have synergy when I booked performers for the annual Nike endorser party in Vermont, which happened shortly after the '96 Olympics.

Under the aegis of The Maine Arts Commission, I attended the IEG International Conference on "The New Sponsorship" which was held at the Hilton Towers Hotel in Chicago on March 19-22, 2000.

I knew going in that Sponsorship has evolved to be a good deal more than an arts presenter asking for a corporate contribution and in return putting up a sign in the lobby. However, more often than not, this is exactly what constitutes sponsorship in much of Maine's performing Arts world.


The Conference
Entitled "The New Sponsorship" this conference seeks to understand and encapsulate a rapidly changing business enterprise. There were many attendees who came simply because this was the best chance they would ever have of buttonholing and quick-pitching the big-budget decision-makers from American Express, Reebok, or AT+T. Others understand the complex nature of marketing at the turn of the century and want to stay as ahead of the game as they can.

Initially I was a bit put off by the fact that arts and sports were mixed together and not on separate tracks. On reflection, however, the essentials of successful sponsorships are really the same for both; and there is a significant learning opportunity from and for each.

A great feature of the conference was that tables at lunch were arranged by categories. Agencies, CVB's, corporate of varying stripes, arts organizations, festivals, media, government, museums, sports teams, theme parks, touring attractions, zoos, etc. each had at least one table which attendees were free to join.


Round Tables
- Selling, Servicing, and Renewing led by Nancy Fogle and Amy Bernier of IEG Consulting
- Building Revenue Streams into deals led by Brett Fuller of Sprint PCS
- Sponsor Retention: 10 Golden Rules to keep your sponsors coming back led by Gail - Lowney Alofsin of Newport Waterfront Festivals
- How to Sell first-time events and new ideas
- Emotionally Intelligent Sponsorships led by Jonathan DeWitt of Wirthlin International
- The New Sponsorship: Activation, Customization, Future (3 parts) led by Lesa Ukman of IEG
- Achieving the Wow: Raising the creative bar on your sponsorships

Seminars & Workshops
- Selling Web Sponsorships. This was an all-day pre-conference seminar
- How The Home Depot builds profitable sponsorships led by Dick Hammill of The Home Depot
- How Sponsorship has fueled Schwab's Evolution led by Leonard Short of Charles Schwab & Co.
- Reinventing the Wheel: How Lincoln-Mercury's Cirque du Soleil Sponsorship has turned heads and opinions
- How Best Buy stands out in the crowd led by Joseph Pagano of Best Buy
- Building Revenue Generation through Sponsorships led by Brad Gerdeman of Delta Airlines
- Creating Emotional Impact with Special Effects and experiential technologies
- Using the Web to conduct research.


Sergio Zyman of Z-Group
A very engaging and dynamic speaker, Zyman prevailed as Marketing VP over the most tumultuous times in Coca-Cola's history, including the "New Coke" fiasco and "Classic" recovery. His message was stark, and effective: Sell or die. Marketing is science, not art. It's about selling more stuff to more people and making more money. Strategy is everything. The bottom line is the bottom line. Sponsorship is an effective marketing tool, and a complete waste of resources, depending on how you use it. The landscape changes constantly which benefits those who are fleet of foot, and hurts those who don't understand the dynamic of change.

He says he uses a focus group of 100 million every year. He calls it the Super Bowl.

He offered six imperatives for the "New Sponsorship," as follows:
- Throw away the term Sponsorship. Instead, adopt a customized term that reflects the objective;
- Use your property to drive the business. Every marketing dollar spent drives the business model and creates economic value added (EVA);
- Do your research before signing on as a partner/client/sponsee;
- Property compensation should be tied to business results;
- Property sellers are suppliers, not customers;
- Propose utilization's that "sticks to the knitting."


Michael J. Wolf of Booz, Allen & Hamilton
Michael J. Wolf is media strategist for the NBA, Time-Warner, DreamWorks, NFL, Turner Broadcasting, Viacom, News Corp., and many others. His new book, The Entertainment Economy explores the idea that entertainment is now pervasive in all aspects of life, particularly commerce, and has become "the driving wheel of the global economy." He surmises that in today's world - for better or worse -- everyone is a programmer. Pepsi is an entertainment company. The world is simply full of fun-focused consumers. "The sale of nearly every form of entertainment has some form of consumer product tie-in." One reason for the mega-mergers we hear about every day is that "many companies lack the scale necessary to compete in some of their core businesses." We are now exposed to an average of 4000 commercial messages per day, and in order to cut through to consumer consciousness, creative and fully integrated solutions are called for.

Jeffrey Swartz of Timberland Company
Mr. Swartz is President and CEO of Timberland Co., a family-run footwear and apparel business for three generations. He views his job as providing value for all company stakeholders: shareholders, customers, employees, and communities. Under Jeff, the company has reached new levels ($860+million) on the belief that doing well and doing good are inextricably linked. The company has defined success as "building communities," and each employee receives 40 hours of paid leave per year for community service of their choice.

It is simply not enough to sponsor an event or property, but to demonstrate that your commitment to making a difference is authentic. He calls it "mission marketing" in which the company doesn't just link with a cause, they actually advance that cause. The brand really stands out when the company itself is transparent to the customer, demonstrating that they operate on principles they espouse in their marketing campaigns.

Lessons
- Getting what you want depends very much upon how well you understand what your sponsor wants;
- On-line efforts should support off-line efforts, and vice-versa;
- Customers need multiple touch points;
- Sponsorship is a partnership;
- A message undefined is a message undelivered;
- Consumer-centric, experiential, quantifiable;
- Establish trackable goals;
- Over-deliver;
- Think long-term, think big, think return-on-investment (ROI);
- Profit is in the renewal, not the initial sponsorship;
- Win-win is the ONLY way to go;
- God & the devil are both in the details.

Observations
Sponsorship is most successful when leveraged into a total marketing plan. Integrating everything you do makes for greater awareness and effectiveness. Continuity is critical to long-term success. Flexibility is critical to good sponsorship deals.

For sponsees, the difference between gaining and losing is often the quality of the presentation. You cannot make a great presentation, however, without a serious understanding of the potential sponsor's goals and objectives. A client always has the money for a great idea.


No longer is sponsorship just attempting to:
- achieve ubiquity
- borrow imagery
- acquire rights
- grab attention..


A successful "new" sponsorship will:
- clearly establish relevance
- Own the emotions tied to the event or property
- Activate the rights involved
- Draw attention to the sponsor as well as the sponsee.


Interesting Quotes
"It turns out if you are willing to step up to the plate and put some corporate support behind the struggling arts organizations, it's like water on a parched desert. You get a lot of attention. We spend way more money on scholarships and educational programs every year but we don't frankly get very much publicity for that because every company is doing that, and you're lucky to get a little squiggle in the paper. We still do it because it's the right thing to do."
- Tom Higgins, International Edison

"Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make successful in show business."
- Francis Ford Coppolla

"Men don't want to know what's on TV. They want to know what else is on TV."
- Michael J. Wolf

"Everything that is good about business is personal."
- Jeff Swartz

Sources

IEG, Inc. 640 North LaSalle Suite 600 Chicago, IL 60610 312-944-1727 www.sponsorship.com

"The End of Marketing as We Know It"
- Sergio Zyman, Harper Business 1999

"The Entertainment Economy: How mega-media forces are transforming our lives"
Michael J. Wolf, Times Books 1999

Chuck Kruger will be presenting a workshop on "The Art of Sponsorship" at the Maine Performing Arts Network annual conference on May 18th, 2000.

Entertainment Resources is hard at work on major events for the Rockland Festival Corp., MBNA, Prevost Coach Company, Fleet Bank, AT+T, and American Express, to name a few.


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