How Sweet Are Your Sponsorships?


Jason E. Ebey, IOM

As soon as October hits our calendars, it seems like everyone begins the discussions of pumpkin spice and sweaters. While the season of changing colors is my favorite time of year, thoughts of falling leaves and crackling fires quickly fade to the sound of four children begging for new costumes in pursuit of sugar-filled treasures.

For a stretch of days, carnivals, trunk-n-treats, and the epic event of trick-or-treat will dot our family calendars. In addition to plotting routes, the kids are already crafting plans off swapping out favorite candy bars.

After each candy-seeking endeavor, the kids will compile all their loot into one pile commencing the intense game of sorting and claiming.

This activity should mirror the frenzy our members exhibit as they seek to claim the sponsorships our organization creates. The selection of sponsorships should provide us with an accurate depiction of the items members really desire.

Consider the pile of candy.

The good stuff

It always goes first. It always initiates the most intense bartering. Why? Because it’s the good stuff. It’s going to taste good. It’s had the best marketing, making us want it long before we actually get it. 

Some of your sponsorships will be the same. They are a staple to your program of work; everyone knows them; they are built on your biggest programs and initiatives.  Depending on how fast they are selected each year, these sponsorships most likely need to experience a price increase.

The cheap stuff

In our house, this is always the second candy to be handled. It seems very easy to pick out the kind of candy that was purchased on the cheaper spectrum. If kids are willing to throw candy away, let’s face it…it’s bad candy, candy that does not taste good.

Unfortunately, too many Chambers have priced the overwhelming majority of their inventory “on the cheap.” Perception is the key to value. If your products and services are priced too low, businesses will not see any value in the them and quickly bypass the opportunity you are providing them.

The stale flavors 

Candy can definitely go stale – no matter the price. It might take the “good kind” longer to lose its flavor, but before long its taste will be comparable to the “cheap stuff.”  There’s little as disappointing as biting into a candy bar only to be meet with an absence of the taste you were not expecting.

Often, I compare sponsorships to candy bars in a convenience store. Traveling to Chambers all across the country, I often stop by the gas station to pick up a candy bar that I’ve been thinking about for a while. What sadness I have when I enter the establishment only to be meet with a candy aisle that’s covered in dust. Yep, that’s right – dust. Candy is meant to “move” off the shelf. If it has dust on it, that means it’s been there a while. And I’m not buying candy that old.

Many Chambers are guilty of not having thrown out some of their sponsorships from their inventory. If you’re sponsorships have not been purchased in a while, it could be that your membership is looking for something a little fresher.

The assorted mix 

Real savvy companies with great product research have found that assorted mixes of candies are very desirable by the consumer. It gives the customer a choice; it gives the customer variety; it gives the customer the opportunity to try items they might not singularly purchase.

Chambers with the best sponsorship sales have a varied, assorted mix of sponsorships: 

  • High and low priced sponsorships 
  • Exclusive and shared sponsorships
  • New and legacy sponsorships
  • Mass and targeted audience sponsorships

Grab a candy bar – or bag – this week and look at your sponsorships. What candy do they resemble?

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