Are you a strategic, tactical or dunno sponsor?

In our experience the decision to sponsor is taken strategically, tactically or dunno-ically.

Strategic sponsorships assist the achievement of long term business goals. These are the sponsors properties love because they’re interested in building relationships, understand that the sponsor/sponsored relationship should be mutually beneficial and have an interest in making the fan or participant experience better. They’ll be running a leveraging campaign and will have budgeted accordingly and while they may be a fan this won’t get in the way of business objectives and measuring long term success.

Tactical sponsorships feed a short-term brand objective. The sponsor probably isn’t looking more than a year ahead and therefore will not be interested in building relationships. They’ll definitely measure ROI and will already know that the property can deliver. Calculating; so will know whether an activation campaign will help those short term goals.

Dunno sponsors want to be associated with the property but may not have considered how the rights, and particularly their activation, can leverage business goals.  They’ll rely on the property’s client service team to provide ideas. Likely to be a fan and wants to build relationships.

When it comes to sport the heart often comes before the head. And why not if you can afford it! But we’d recommend a six-step process to creating a sponsorship strategy:


Does your current marketing plan work or does it need reworking? If so, how will a sponsorship help achieve your objectives? And should you be looking at an individual, an event, a product or even a cause?

Property Review

There’s loads of teams, events, causes, people, organisations selling rights and assets and you’ll need to find the one that best fits your marketing mix. Make sure you’ll be able to work with the rights holder to develop a benefit package without fluff and wastage and you should consider how you’ll be able to leverage the assets to better achieve business goals.

Project Plan

The project plan solidifies your marketing strategy and how you will use the sponsorship to achieve this. It will include your asset management plan and your activation plan and include a budget (with a contingency line.) Oh. And how you intend to measure the effectiveness of the investment.


You can buy what’s on the table or you can negotiate. You may look for discount or more value but remember that a mutually beneficial agreement will be in the interest of the fan/consumer.  It’s important to be clear on the rights and obligations of each party and make sure you negotiate First Matching Rights/Rights of First Offer are written in. Consider whether a long-term investment be cheaper and what are the payment terms? Is there a get out clause…and do you need a lawyer involved?

Asset and Activation Management

Once you’ve bought it you can’t sit back and watch the sales pour in…you have to manage it. Properties will provide a client service and leveraging ideas but while they’ll talk about building mutually beneficial relationships they’ll always put the person that pays their mortgage first. So, make sure you have someone looking after your own interests.

Review and Measurement

Is your sponsorship working and do you have to make any changes to make it work better or move in time with the sponsored property?  The only way you’ll know this is if you start off knowing what your objectives are and how you’re going to measure their achievement and, ultimately your sponsorship as delivered a return on investment.  And what return on investment are you seeking?  2 to 1, 3 to 1, 4 to 1?  Luckily there’s heaps of measurement methodologies and tools out there.


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