Unleashing Your Data to Generate
Corporate Sponsorships

According to a recent article in USA Today, How Coke, Disney Use Data to Donate Smarter:

Handing over giant cardboard checks is often what companies think of as philanthropy. But some big companies like Walt Disney (DIS) and Coca-Cola (KO) think they can do better — using data. Big companies are wondering if social responsibility can be more than just writing a check — but also a way to boost their businesses and brands.

That article inspired me to write this post, because there is an opportunity I suspect many organizations aren’t fully aware of: the ability to leverage the value of their data into sponsorship dollars.

The organizations that are able to get sponsorships say that the key to their success lies in the fact that they were able to demonstrate to a prospective sponsor that an important benefit that the sponsor was looking to achieve could be delivered. Witness the Cadillac in the lobby of the symphony hall, or the logo of Coke sneakily woven into the set design. Both of those examples deliver “guaranteed brand exposure in a controlled environment” and deliver that benefit in a measurable way.

While all of you have lobbies, and some of you have sets, your data offers another sponsorship opportunity. Think you don’t have the kind of data we’re talking about? Think again! Your email marketing, your website, your Facebook page — all of these have measurable data, and if you look back at your own trends, you’ll see that most of the numbers are predictable from month to month. And each of those data points (email subscribers, website visitors, Facebook likes) represents potential value to a corporation that is seeking to reach your audience.

Beyond that, companies, and especially upscale consumer brands, are seeking context for their messaging. Though they can buy visibility in expected places, such as a newspaper, billboard, radio, or Facebook, those are generic. What you offer is context — a type of credibility by association that they cannot obtain in any other way.

Here are just a few of the assets you currently own that you could include in a sponsorship package:

  • Your ticket purchase confirmation page — you control the text and images on the pages that are shown to your ticket buyers after they buy a ticket. Why not include a sponsor logo there?
  • Your print-at-home ticket — next to the image/logo for the show, embed a corporate logo within it as well.
  • Your email marketing — include a corporate sponsor logo at the top or bottom of each campaign.
  • Your website — just like in your printed program, include a sponsor logo.

These kinds of digital sponsorship opportunities are valuable at any scale. Don’t think that just because you don’t have millions of page views on your site (enough data to solicit Cadillac) this isn’t valuable. I’d be willing to bet there are plenty of local businesses struggling to find ways to reach your patrons — from restaurants to insurance agents, real estate brokers, and car dealers.

The more you can use your data to quantify what you can offer, the better and stronger your proposal will be. Refer to to the Coke example in the article, and you’ll see this is exactly how Coke thinks about its corporate support.

In the end, it seems that you have to give in order to get. So start by giving access to your audience in a way that will associate your organization’s brand with a respected sponsor, and bring you needed revenue.

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