It's no surprise that the economy is changing the way sponsors consider opportunities. Recently, my team interviewed 10 brand managers who are experimenting with Social Media to find out, among other things, how they are viewing sponsorship decisions. A few themes emerged:
1. Sponsors are shopping their closets. Rather than looking to acquire shiny new objects, sponsors are looking at deals they already have to see how well those investments might be enhanced with Social Media.
Tip: If a sponsee has a strong Social Media overlay, put that front and center--especially when seeking renewals.
2. Own a piece of the rock. Sponsors still want quality, excitement, media-genic deals. But those often come with high price tags and benefits the sponsor can take or leave. The brand managers we spoke with were being very careful to cherry pick the benefits they need and pay only for those.
Tip: Re-think how you are bundling your assets. Know your deal breakers going in. And know the sponsor's, as well. How? Get to the "essentials" by having strategic conversations to sort the "nice to have" from the "must-haves." See point 3.
3. Be the sponsor's agent. Good partners are at the table doing planning and helping the sponsor solve problems. Sponsees who see themselves as part of the sponsor's team are agents working to mutually build both brands. Can't picture yourself getting invited to be a part of the sponsor's strategy discussion? Then one or two things may be wrong. Either you don't have a true relationship, which takes time and effort to cultivate. Or, you haven't made yourself desirable as a thought partner.
Tip: The fix either way is the same. Stay in touch with your sponsors. Send them updates. Extend personal invitations to events and experiences. Share insights, good news, media hits. Better yet, promote their good news to your peeps using Twitter, blog posts, and Facebook.
It's not complicated. It's time consuming. But not nearly as time consuming as finding a new sponsor.