Nobody knows your audience as well as you do. It’s your super power to win the hearts and minds of sponsors, saving them from the clutches of ineffective marketing campaigns.
And your number 1 weapon to attract sponsors is the unique selling proposition (USP), “a factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition.” Entrepreneur.com
In this article I’m going to show you how you can attract sponsors with a series of USPs that will make your sponsorship opportunity irresistible.
By creating USPs for your sponsor to leverage, you’re not only helping the sponsor connect with your audience in a meaningful way, you’re also differentiating your sponsorship opportunity from competing alternatives.
No other marketing or sales channel can compete with you when you have a passionate audience you understand deeply.
Here’s my 6 step process to attract sponsors to your sponsorship opportunity:
- Define your audience
- Get an understanding of the sponsor’s ideal customers
- List the sponsor’s product / service benefits
- List your sponsorship opportunity attributes
- Where your audience and the ideal customer overlap, develop a persona
- Create irresistible USPs for your sponsors to leverage
To help with the process, download the USP Worksheet [DOWNLOAD] and follow along as you go through each of the steps below.
Step 1 – Define your audience
You have to understand your audience before you can create a unique selling proposition that specifically appeals to them.
To help explain the process, we are going to take on the role of a music and arts festival sponsorship seeker approaching automotive companies who sell electric vehicles.
In our example, the audience looks like this:
- Average age: 37
- 55% female
- Earns $80k per year
- 62% engage with sponsors at the event
- Live within 15kms of a major city
- 54% attend the event for reasons other than purely for the music (unique experience / friends are going)
- Hardcore fans who attend 3 or more events a year make up 17% of the audience. These people spend twice as much as casual fans
What does your audience look like? Remember, there can be more than 1 audience segment which may be valuable to a sponsor.
Step 2 – The sponsor’s ideal customers
Once you understand who your audience is, we can look at who the sponsor’s ideal customers are. For electric vehicles, research shows the demographics look like this:
- 55% of buyers are aged from 35 to 55
- 44% of buyers have at least one child aged 1 to 18 years
- 21% of buyers have an average household income of $175k
Electric vehicle buyers are younger, more affluent and fit into one of the following cohorts (fancy name for a group of people with the same characteristics):
- Trendy gadget greens – early adopters of green technology and trends, who care about the environment
- Mobility seekers – urban commuters who want a basic, cost effective transport solution
- Premium seekers – young buyers who want a premium brand with good performance
A few simple Google searches will deliver a wealth of information on your sponsor’s ideal customer. E.g. “electric vehicle demographics”
What does you sponsor’s ideal customer look like and how closely do they match your audience? To be successful, It’s really important that they match very closely.
Step 3 – The sponsor’s product / service benefits
Now that we have a good idea of what the sponsor’s ideal customer looks like, what are the benefits of your sponsor’s products or services that connect with your audience?
In our example, for electric vehicles they include:
- Lower operating costs
- Lower emissions and impact on the environment
- Increased energy independence
- The latest green technology
Once again, a few simple Google searches will provide the necessary insights.
Step 4 – Your sponsorship attributes
To create a unique selling proposition for a sponsor, you need to understand what it is about you sponsorship opportunity that makes it special.
Think about what motivates your fans to attend your event, follow your team or become a member of your organisation.
For our music and arts festival example, the key attributes are:
- A sense for freedom and escape from the day-to-day grind
- Being part of a tribe and belonging to a group of like minded people
- Relaxing with friends and having a good time
- Making new friends
- Seeking shared experiences and building memories
Step 5 – Develop your audience personas
Once you have a better picture of our audience and sponsor’s idea customer, you want to dive deeper into what their ideal customer looks like and create a persona.
A persona is an individual representation of the ideal customer and their desires. It’s your job to help your sponsor market and promote to this person. To create a persona, give them:
- A name
- Job title
- Basic demographics (age, gender etc.)
- Brief biography
- Pain points
Refer to the persona template in the worksheet.
Step 6 – Create irresistible USPs for your sponsors to leverage
With the previous 5 steps completed, it’s time to put your thinking cap on. Take some quiet time, free of distractions, to think deeply about how you can connect:
- The benefits of your sponsor’s products and services with;
- the attributes of your sponsorship opportunity and;
- the desires of your audience
Use these insights to create an irresistible connection between the sponsor’s brand and your audience.
Using the benefits, attributes and desires from our example, here are my ideas for a series of unique selling propositions to connect a music and art festival audience with an electric vehicle manufacturer.
Each can then be turned into an enriching and unique experience fans won’t forget:
- The only emissions from this car are good vibes – provide courtesy cars to move fans around the festival
- Spend less on maintenance and more on merch – reward fans with a discount coupon once they answer a few simple questions on why electric vehicles are cheaper to run
- There’s excitement in the air, and it’s electric – organise speed dating sessions, where fans get to know each other while sitting together inside a sponsor’s car
- Party today and protect the future – go electric – run a competition where fans can win the chance to meet their favourite artists while on a test drive in the sponsor’s car
With the USPs defined, weave the details into your sponsorship proposal as unique marketing initiatives.
As I pointed out at the beginning of this article, by creating USPs for your sponsor to leverage, you’re not only helping the sponsor connect with your audience in a meaningful way, you’re also differentiating your sponsorship opportunity from competing alternatives.
This will put you way ahead of the competition and create an irresistible incentive for sponsors to partner with you.
Happy sponsorship seeking, Kym.