WLTM…Sponsorship Checklist – Steven Falk

October 29, 2014

Sponsorship seekers often enquire how they can attract the right partner. My response is that love at first sight is as unusual in sponsorship marketing as it is in romantic relationships.

As any successful partnership knows, both sides must work hard to maintain a good relationship. However, there are aspects common to both;-


Developing a clear understanding of both parties’ objectives is a good place to start. This means explaining what benefit each can bring to the relationship and how it can be used to create mutual value. Elements to consider include:

– Geography – where and when the partnership will become activated and engaged

– Audience – the size and characteristics of the market to which the relationship will become exposed. Don’t underestimate the influence of close friends and family

– Timing – consideration of any seasonality requirements or issues. Forget a key date or anniversary at your peril!

– Financials– including an estimate of the return on both emotional and financial investment and associated risk. Is a pre-nuptial agreement required?

Prospect Identification & Communication

Direct targeting of prospective partners is usually more effective in creating a stable relationship than a scattergun approach but it does require a greater investment in preliminary research:

– Rank prospects based on a series of key desirability criteria. This will help narrow focus to those potential partners with the best prospective fit

– Identifying the key influencers or decision makers will help to ensure the proposal gets to the right person. If in doubt, start at the top and work down

– Pitch the proposal using arguments and case studies directly relevant to the audience. A generic pitch may be easier to develop but will be received less well than one targeted to address a partner’s particular desires and expectations


The vision needs a compelling narrative to bring it to life. A love story if you like. This should capture the essence of the relationship and demonstrate the compatibility of both parties. Elements should include:

– Alignment – demonstrating how the pleasure, success and development of each individual will be enhanced through association with the other

– Differential advantage – explaining how each party is the ONLY one who can deliver the desired benefit. Or if not unique, how each can deliver it more effectively, passionately and faithfully than any other option

– Consummation – suggesting a programme of activities and events to achieve the desired outcome

Steven Falk is director of Star Sports Marketing a consultancy providing advice on sponsorship activation, CRM, brand and affinity marketing. He was previously Marketing Director at Manchester United. You can follow him on Twitter @steven_falk or visit www.starsportsmarketing.co.uk

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