Why Big Brands Ghost Your Sponsorship Requests

Recently, I was reflecting on an experience I had a few years ago when I, with a team of people, were planning for an event—a speech festival, to be precise. We were excited to announce what we were planning, and we were geared up to send proposals to as many brands as possible. Well, my experience with my team is probably similar to that of many people who once planned an event and were hoping a lot of brands would come on board with countless offers. In short, we were ghosted by both the big and small brands we admired.

This reflection inspired this blog post, and as a result, I will be sharing what you should include in your sponsor’s pitch deck for your next event. Including these tips will save you from the heartbreak of being ghosted by sponsors and brands out there.

 

 

First things first

Before you send a sponsorship proposal, you need to first understand the purpose for which every business exists. Here are the fundamental reasons;

  1. To make profit
  2. To expand their customer base
  3. To gain a competitive edge in the market in which they operate.
  4. Which must all come back to making profit

So, your sponsorship proposal must clearly show how brands can achieve these four objectives with your event. How can brands make a profit from your event? Profit is important to brands,  and they do not treat sponsorship as charity or CSR. So, your event must offer them value, profit, awareness, visibility, and a competitive edge in the market in which they operate.

Now let’s talk about how to draft a sponsorship proposal that is irresistible.

 

  1. Don’t start your proposal with the sponsorship levels

Oftentimes, when I get to receive sponsorship requests from brands, it starts with the offers for the headline sponsor, gold sponsor, silver sponsor, and the like. These are important aspects of your pitch deck. But it is not good practise to start with this.

After you have given a brief overview of your event and your objectives, you need to show at least 20 to 25 data points about your audience (by audience, I mean people who are likely to attend your event). Here are some examples of data points that you can include in your proposal:

 

Demographic Interests and Hobbies Psychographics
AGE ENGAGING IN FUN ACTIVITIES LIFESTYLE
GENDER ADVENTURES PERSONALITY
INCOME OUTING/FAMILY TIME OUT VALUES/BELIEFS
EDUCATION EDUCATION BRAND PREFERENCES
LOCATION EXPOSURE SOCIAL STATUS
NATIONALITY/RELIGION   PURCHASING POWER

 

These data points will help your sponsors make informed decisions and measure the extent to which the data of your audience aligns with their target consumers. To make this a smooth experience, it’s advisable that after you gather these data points, then find brands that are looking for the kind of audience you’re likely to attract. 

 

  1. Find the synergy between your audience’s needs and your sponsors’ business objectives

When you are planning an event, you need to understand that you have many stakeholders;  your audience, your sponsors, your team, the media and the general public. But here let’s focus on two; your audience and your sponsors.

 

 

 

Where do these two publics meet?

Product activations.

 

Brands are looking for new consumers to test and sample their new products, and your audience is looking for an event that will leave a lasting and fun memory for them. One irresistible offer you can present to a potential sponsor is the opportunity for product sampling and activations. What now makes it more irresistible is if you have their target audience in your event to sample these products. Now brands will see value for their money if you can set up a fun-filled and experiential activation centre for them through your event. This strategy often works for brands that are about to launch a new product.

 So, for example, if you’re planning a music festival in the hub of Lagos, if you send your proposals to Fintech brands, they might ignore you. Rather, map out brands that are into the production and distribution of all kinds of drinks. A good example will be a brand that is about to launch a new alcoholic or energy drink product. Such brands will be excited to jump on your pitch deck because they are planning a product launch, and chances are high that they might use your event to introduce their new product. They will be attracted to your event if you have the kind of audience they want to reach.

 

  1. Show a clear strategy on how your sponsors can acquire and retain new customers from your event.

Let’s say your music festival, for example, anticipates to host 2,000+ people. Using the audience data you generated, as discussed in the first point, break this data down into psychographic categories that show the percentage of your audience with certain brand preferences. Simply put, provide data on how many per cent of your audience sponsors can acquire, and then provide strategies on how to retain them based on the findings that emerge from the data you present. This way, you offer long-term and short-term value for your proposed sponsors.

 

 

  1. Choose the right venue and influencers

Imagine this: Every brand wants to rub shoulders with everything good and luxurious. So, when you’re putting together that sponsor’s pitch, it’s not just about numbers and charts; it’s about creating an experience that screams ‘top-notch’ to your potential sponsors. Choosing the right place and setting is a big part of making that happen. It’s like setting the stage for a blockbuster movie; every detail should match the high-end vibe you aim for. 

But there’s more to this show than just the location. Think of influencers as the headliners of the event. They’re like the celebrities who can make certain sponsors think: ‘I want in on this.’ Collaborate with influencers with a reputation that makes sponsors sit up and take notice. Their endorsement can be the secret sauce that seals the deal.

 

  1. Build trust before you’re asked to be trusted

The reason why most sponsors make ghost sponsorship requests is not often because they lack the funds; most times, it’s because they are not convinced that they will get value for their money. To address this trust issue, you need to position your event as trustworthy. Here are a few ways to do that;

  1. get your event published on online news platforms to boost your credibility.
  2. Use trustworthy influencers to promote your event objectives.
  3. Show the portfolio of your previous events.

It is important to note that these tips do not contain the full list of items you should include in your sponsor’s pitch deck; however, most of the tips shared here are those that are often obscure and missing in most sponsorship proposals. Beyond getting sponsors for your event, effective planning and execution is also important to every successful event. You can click here to send us a brief about your next event and how to make it successful.

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