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Better Partner Offer & Coupon tracking with the SQWAD Redemption Process

Look, fans like to game the system. If you get them an offer…they will try to get more than you are offering.

The usual solution: The sponsor sends you coupons and redemption codes to add to the offer.

But what if your sponsor’s system isn’t set up for that? Do you take the risk of fans coming back to redeem multiple times…or do you just not offer the prize?

At SQWAD, we think you shouldn’t have to sacrifice a great campaign due to a lack of coupon tracking…so we built a redemption process right into our games to help ensure everyone can get the same value from digital activations.

Say goodbye to the hassle of fans double-dipping on prize redemptions. With the SQWAD Redemption Process, managing prizes has never been easier. See how below!

The Benefits of the SQWAD Redemption Process

So why implement this into your campaign? There are many benefits to utilizing our built-in Redemption Process at your next campaign.

  1. No barcodes or POS system needed
    Your sponsor doesn’t need to have a robust coupon system to reap the rewards of a coupon sent to fans. We’ve taken
  2. It’s easy for the employee to check
    Look, nothing is worse than a complex redemption process that leaves the employee behind the counter wishing their lunch break would come sooner rather than later. We’ve built the system so be only one button click. Easy Peasy.
  3. You can see the number of redemptions to prove value.
    With our SQWAD redemption process, you’ll be able to see how many offers were redeemed in the store. With this number, you can actually prove the value of each campaign with your sponsor.

Ok, so you know the benefits. Let’s dive into the fan experience.

The Fan Experience

At SQWAD, we send prizes to our fans via email. We’ve found that it’s the best way to drive redemption at your sponsor’s

With the SQWAD redemption process, we’ve built the entire process into the email that the fan receives.

We thought it would be easier to see it in action…so check out a full walkthrough of the fan experience HERE!

It’s really simple. When the fan receives an email with their prize, they will be told to show that email on their phone to the employee at your sponsor location.

In the email, we have added a Staff button. When shown to the employee, all they have to do is click that Staff button.

But wait! What happens if a fan accidentally presses the redemption button?!?!

Not a problem. We added a big, kind of scary notification that lets the fan know that this button is only for staff if they accidentally push it. When implemented with fans, we’ve seen next to no issues when adding this pop-up.

Once the Staff gets past the pop-up, they will get two options:

A green screen. This means the offer has not been redeemed yet. Hand over the BOGO discount and watch as fans are elated to receive their prize!

A red screen. This means that the offer has been used already. Most of the time…if a fan is trying to game the system and they are told this has already been redeemed…they will walk away.

And that is it! With the SQWAD redemption process, you can make redeeming offers a breeze for your sponsors and fans.

So how do you turn this on for your activations in your SQWAD admin? Let’s dive in below.

Activating the SQWAD Redemption Process in Your SQWAD Admin 

While in the SQWAD admin, select the “Prizes 🏆” tab in your admin menu sidebar.

Once in the Prize section of the admin, select “Edit” on the prize you’d like to follow the SQWAD Redemption Process

Scroll down until you see the “Sqwad Redemption Process” option and check the box to activate it for that prize âś… .

NOTE: You’ll have the option to edit the button text and button color fans will see in their prize email. If you choose not to customize the button, fans will see the default configurations.

Once you are done with your edits, scroll down and click “Submit”.

And that’s it!

Once you’ve clicked submit, you are ready to roll! Simply add that prize to the next game you create and you’ll see the process show up in the emails that go out.

So what are you waiting for? Want to get started with your redemption process? Give us a shout and we’ll get you all set up.

How To Manage Sales Pace & Momentum In Sports Sponsorships

We’ve all been there in sales. We have a prospect that we KNEW was a lock. We gave the pitch, asked for the business, and now are waiting on their answer.

But the more we wait, the more we lose our sales momentum. When we don’t set the pace, we have deals that turn from green to red quickly.

So how can we manage sales pace & momentum?

Luckily, we have an industry vet in Rich Franklin to help take us through the process he has used to close countless deals.

On this episode of The Inches Podcast, we dive into the keys to sales pace and momentum in the sponsorship industry.

You can listen to the full episode HERE. But as always, I dive into some key points below.

No two prospects are the same.

Before we dive into the mechanics, we need to get a bit in the clouds here to help us level set.

In sales, we must remember that no two prospects are the same.

Everyone has different budget seasons. Different sales cycles. Different buying processes. These buying processes many times are locked…it will take a lot to get them to break it.

We are starting here because the quickest way to kill a deal is trying to force a sale through that goes against their buying process. It will come off as salesy and kill the trust.

So how can you make sure you don’t get into this scenario? ASK in the first meeting about the process of purchasing.

Simply ask them, “To ensure I am getting the right pace here as we see if this is a fit, what’s usually the budget or buying process for you all?

Is this something you could sign a contract tomorrow or do we need about a month to get approval if this is a right fit?

When we make this clear upfront, we do two things:

  1. We build trust with the prospect. We make it clear we aren’t here to jam a sale down their throat. We are here to ensure that we can sell to them at a pace that is comfortable for them.
  2. It helps us manage the next step in a way that goes over well with the prospect.

So first step, find out the buying process from your prospect in the first meeting. It will help set up your strategy for the rest of the deal flow.

What do we need to do to keep the momentum moving forward?

We never want to get to a step where there are no clear next steps. Ambiguity kills momentum.

So with every meeting, we should be prepared to think about, “What is the step I need the prospect to commit to in order to keep the deal moving forward?”

Again, this will depend on what you find out in their buying process, but we always want an action step to get the momentum moving forward.

The most common step? Asking to schedule the next meeting.

An example, you just did a discovery call with a prospect. It went well and you feel there is a fit and interest.

End the meeting with this; “Well it seems like there is a fit here. What I would like to do is go back and put together a proposal that fits the needs we discussed. Can we schedule a follow-up call so I can present them and we can go over them?”.

With this step, we are getting a commitment for a future meeting that will help get us closer to a decision.

If we ended the call with “We’ll put something together and email it.” we take the momentum out of our control. What happens if we send it over and then get crickets? We are now chasing to get that momentum back with an answer.

Now I know what you all are thinking…I get “We don’t need a meeting, just send us more materials.”

This sucks, and I will dive into how this may be a first sign that this is a suspect and not a prospect. But if this happens, we have to try and create a step to keep the sales pace going.

A couple of responses that will work:

  1. Communicate urgency. Letting them know that you don’t want to waste their time or yours if this isn’t a fit. If you can get this next meeting set, we can see within 30 minutes if we should keep talking
  2. Putting the ball back in their court. Ask them if a proposal call isn’t a good use of time for the next step, what other info will they need in order to decide that you can chat about?

Again, we don’t want to be pushy…but we do want to make sure we can keep the momentum moving.

If they say no to the next step, they might be a suspect…not a prospect

This is one of the biggest ideas and frameworks that I learned while chatting with Rich. There are not just prospects. A potential client falls into two buckets. They are either a prospect or a suspect.

Prospect: There is potential that they want to buy your product. A real chance. Not a hope.

Suspect: There is not a good fit or chance they buy. Usually, they look like a buyer, but at the end of it, you realize this was never going to be the case.

We want to find out if a potential client is a suspect as fast as possible. Why? Our time is valuable. We don’t want to waste it chasing a client that will never buy.

If a prospect doesn’t agree to a next call, just wants you to send info, and doesn’t clarify what info, there is a high likelihood they are a suspect.

So what do we do? We say no problem, send them the info, and spend very little time checking back in with them.

Why? Because hope is not a strategy. We’ve all been there. We have a prospect that we hope comes in, despite there being little evidence that they will.

This is a perfect tactic to help weed out the suspects.

Now this doesn’t mean we totally ignore the potential client as soon as they say no to that meeting. We can create a momentum tactic to try and reignite the pace.

For example, you send the info and a week later follow up asking what stood out to them in the materials you sent over? If they respond specifically, you have momentum back.

Let’s say they liked the reach with families that the team has, you now have a context to keep the conversation moving.

If they just say “We are reviewing internally and will get back to you if there is interest.” It is probably time to move your momentum efforts onto another prospect.

Losing momentum & gaining it back

Sometimes we lose momentum. It happens. You tried to schedule the follow-up call, but they passed, and now you have no idea where you are with the deal.

But you know from your conversations that there was interest. You still have a strong feeling they are a prospect.

The first step; look at where they fell out of the funnel.

Was it after the discovery call? Was it after the proposal call? Did you send follow-up info and it didn’t get a response?

All of these scenarios will represent a different tactic because context matters.

We never want to send a “just checking in” email. This doesn’t create urgency. Urgency reignites momentum. You need to specifically ask a question that will reignite their interest.

An example, let’s say you did a discovery call where you found out their goal is to reach families. From there, it fell off after they had to reschedule a follow-up call and never did.

Reaching families is the unscratchable itch they need to scratch. That is your “in” moment.

Follow up could look like this:

“Hi Nate, last we spoke you were looking to reach families. Reaching out as we just added a new kids’ zone to our stadium. I had a few ideas about how we could integrate your brand into it authentically.

Have some time next week to chat about those ideas?”

If reaching families is still their goal, you will most likely get a response.

Notice though how the ask is a quick call. Again you are trying to avoid getting back into the “send me the ideas and we will review” answer. Trying to set up a follow-up call will help.

Activations or new ideas are perfect ways to rekindle momentum

We see this a lot in our work at SQWAD. You have a prospect that said they want to earn leads…you sent over a proposal…then crickets.

Many times the perfect way to rekindle that conversation is with a new and creative campaign or activation that will stand out.

For example, let’s say a car dealership said they were looking to gain qualified leads AND stand out to fans. The signage package and basic sweepstakes didn’t stand out.

Following up with a mock-up of a Scoreboard Trivia activation that earns email leads, grabs attention, and builds relationships can be the perfect thing to replace the “just following up” email.

If you are in a rut with a prospect, our activations can be the perfect spark to reignite the momentum. They are branded, creative, and a unique piece of inventory that is sure to get them excited.

Last, don’t let a prospect set a pace that doesn’t fit your team

Momentum can be great, but it also can also lead to your team making bad decisions on sponsorship.

For example, let’s say a prospect is ready to go right after your discovery call. They lay out that they want all the rink boards for the season…but they want a package deal to bring the cost down. They want to sign the contract next week.

You may at first think “Oh man! This is a big deal! We can sell all our rink board space right now and be done!”

But…how much is that extra space worth? With the discount, how much are you leaving on the table?

Even bigger, what if there is a bigger deal out there that will require at least some rink board inventory?

This is the case where the prospect shouldn’t set the pace. You need to go back to them and let them know you need more time to assess that.

This gives you time to get creative. Maybe you can commit to 1/4 of the rink boards in prime placement, and from there if there is an open inventory by a certain date they have first rights to buy those at a bit of a discount.

We can’t just go off the sales pace of our prospects. Slow it down, get creative, and make sure you are making the right deal.

Sales momentum and pace are key in sales. For every interaction or meeting, having a plan for how to keep the momentum moving forward is vital to closing the deal.

The Ultimate Guide To QR Codes In Sports Stadiums (Based On Real Testing)

I sound old sometimes and say “Back in my day, we didn’t have QR codes.” when I talk about how QR codes can help drive engagement & conversion in your stadiums.

At SQWAD we specialize in crafting digital experiences that help sponsors stand out and engage with fans on game day. Our goal is to help your sponsor brands make a lasting impact and leave a memorable impression on your target audience.

We’ve been doing it since 2018.

When we started, we added a short link onto the scoreboard for fans to type into their browser to play. This may sound crazy today…but it worked.

Then…came the QR codes. How exciting. Fans can simply point their camera at a code and instantly get access to a website.

The problem…marketers kill everything.

Now we see QR codes popping up everywhere. It’s a sea of pixelated black & white boxes thrust into our faces begging to be scanned.

And to make matters worse, it seems like our strategy today is “If we put a QR Code in front of fans…they will scan.” At first, this wasn’t an issue. It was new, novel, and exciting even to scan that box and see what lies behind it.

But as more QR codes showed up, the less they stood out.

We got curious as a company. Just like any advertisement, could we optimize how we present the QR Code to make sure that we are getting more scans?

This question led to a series of tests we did across 7 stadiums with clients to see what tweaks could optimize to ensure we are getting the most number of scans.

Below is what we found. I have broken it down into two groups, the Nuts & Bolts & The Psychology, to dive into some tweaks your team (or brand) can make to ensure fans are playing your game.

The Nuts & Bolts

The first thing we wanted to test is the nuts & bolts of a QR code.

Are there key things with how we present the actual QR code that will increase scans?

Does it start with your creative and the layout of your scoreboard ad?

The short answer…yes. We found two key items in the structure of how you promote it that affects the number of scans you get.

The 14-second rule

The biggest problem that we hypothesized on QR codes is there wasn’t enough love given to the time the QR code was on the scoreboard.

This makes sense. Think about the cognitive analysis and physical steps that come with seeing a QR code.

  1. First, the fan has to decide whether they want to scan it. Is it worth their attention and time?
  2. Then they have to get their phone out of their pocket, open their camera, and scan it.

How long does that take?

Well, in our study…the answer is 14 seconds.

We did a wide range of tests on the number of seconds a QR code was shown on the scoreboard ranging from 10 seconds to 45 seconds.

When the QR code was shown for less than 14 seconds, we saw a 67% decrease in scans.

Qualitatively, this takes into account the decision time it takes to decide if they want to scan.

Taking your phone out to scan takes about 5 seconds (yes, we tested this too. The average was 3.87 seconds…but let’s call it 5 seconds to be safe).

This means it takes about 9 seconds for a fan to notice the QR code and decide if they want to scan it.

When you look at the data, there is no HUGE benefit to keeping it up longer.

With almost all of our tests, we saw a surge at around the 14-15 second mark then a trickle-in of fans after that. I think the best way to decide how long after 14 seconds you want to keep it up for really depends on how long you want to give those slower fans to decide and scan.

So, the first rule for QR codes…post them for at least 14 seconds on your scoreboards. Anything less and you start at a disadvantage.

Timing is everything

If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

Scientifically, of course. Sound waves are created even if there are no ears to take those waves in to analyze & process them into a recognizable noise in our brains.

But…how do we know?

Ok, enough of the philosophical metaphor. The second most valuable insight we found was WHEN you post the QR code is just as important as what you post.

This really revolves around fan migration patterns on game day. It ranges from sports to sport and fan base to fan base…but there are times when fans are simply not in their seats.

The results below might surprise you…but this is one of the biggest key insights we found for the success of a QR codes scan.

Basketball
Best time: End of the 1st Q, end of the 3rd Q, TV timeouts during quarters.
Worst time: Pre-game, halftime, end of game.

Hockey
Best time: TV timeouts during the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd periods.
Worst time: Pre-game, End of periods, end of game.

Football
Best time: End of the 1st Q, end of the 3rd Q, TV timeouts during quarters.
Worst time: Pre-game, halftime, end of game.

Baseball
Best time: Inning changes between the 3rd and 6th inning.
Worst time: Pre-game, before the 3rd inning, after the 6th inning.

Soccer
Best time: Pre-game right before kickoff. The end of halftime.
Worst time: Early pre-game. Early halftime, the end of the game.

When we pulled this data in, we saw such a pattern that we had to dive in deeper. Qualitatively, how could it be that Basketball and Football were so close on the best times to post?

So I went to an NBA game…and it became clear as to why. Fans have migration patterns on game day. The result; these times have empty seats.

In our stadiums, when we post things on the scoreboard we bet on one thing; the majority of our fans will be in their seats.

Sometimes, we have the incorrect idea that no matter when I post a sponsorship ad (and QR codes) fans will simply be in their seats to consume and engage with it.

This is not the actual case.

Fans move. When the quarter ends they head to the restroom, or to food, or to get a drink. At halftime, they go meet friends. Pre-game, they are not in their seats yet. Maybe looking to find parking and stuck outside the arena.

In all of these situations, they are not in their seats.

So to go back to my metaphor with the trees…if a QR code is up on the scoreboard…but no one is there to scan it…was it ever even there?

Yes, but the results and value are nowhere to be found.

The Blowout Effect

We also found that the safest time to post is earlier in the game at those breaks above. Why? The blowout effect.

If your team is blowing out an opponent, or getting blown out…fans leave. This means you have less of an audience that sees your QR code.

We saw some big outliers in the data for 3rd & 4th quarter/end of the game posts. We were baffled…then we looked at the scores. They were very lopsided.

The Soccer Conundrum

Soccer was an interesting case to look at. In soccer (football everywhere else in the world) there are really only 2 stoppages in the game that can be planned; pregame & halftime.

In both instances, with other sports and with soccer, fans are trickling into the stadium and not in their seats for pre-game…head for the concourse for halftime.

This became an art more than science.

With QR code promotion the best time was a timing within those windows of pre-game and halftime.

  1. For pre-game, it was as close to the first kick as possible. That is when most fans were in their seats before gameplay.
  2. For halftime, it was toward the end. While in other sports the data says don’t do any halftime promotion…soccer fans seemed to be the best sport at getting back in their seats before the gameplay resumed.

Can you post the QR code during stoppages in play? Kind of.

It becomes extremely difficult to get to that 14-second mark in these windows.

And from a ‘respect’ aspect…I don’t think your club wants to throw up a promotion during the longer stoppages, which usually means injury.

With all of the above said the soccer games in our tests had some of the highest scan rates. Passion definitely makes a difference (more on that below) but overall soccer is more of an art than a science compared to the other sports.

So second rule of QR codes. Post them earlier in the game at TV timeouts or intermission breaks in the middle of the game.

Avoid halftime and pre-game (in hockey avoid the end of periods) unless you are a soccer team/club.

What didn’t matter that surprised us…QR code size.

To put some bias out there in this study, I was totally convinced we would find that the QR code size would increase scans. I was hoping to find the optimal ratio to give to you all.

But, the data is the data, we found no significant increase in scans based on QR code size that stood out.

As a practical rule of thumb, make sure it is scannable.

Obviously, if fans in the nose bleeds can’t scan due to size then you will see that number drop.

But again, from what we could find, as long as it was scannable…making the code HUGE did little to increase scans.

The Psychology Side

The above were the nuts and bolts…but they aren’t the end all be all.

We found some key items that will boost the likelihood that a fan will scan and participate in your activations on game day.

They all make psychological sense for convincing a fan to scan, so we broke them down with that distinction in mind.

Again, the nuts and bolts are the foundation. They play into the simple practicality of getting a fan to scan (how long to post, when to post, etc.. These should be used to boost your numbers when low scans are occurring…or if you absolutely have to post a QR code during a time that differs from the optimal ones above.

Promote the Prize / WHY

When we looked more closely at the promotions that performed the best at off-peak times, we found that in the creative there was an extra emphasis on promoting the prize.

Psychologically, this makes a ton of sense. We have to remember that we first have to convince the fan to pull their phone out to scan. If we can cut down on the amount of time this takes, there is a higher likelihood that we capture more fans.

More so than the experience that lies behind the QR code, the prize is what really boosted numbers. A clear definition of what the fan can win if they play.

One aspect that we are still analyzing is the “value” of that prize. Does it create more scan demand if you can win a car over a free sandwich? We are diving into that now…but overall if the advertising focuses on the prize the fan can win…the number of scans goes up.

This may be a duh type of statement…but we did see a lot of promotions in our study focus on the code and game mechanics OVER the prize.

Those campaigns saw a significant decrease in scans compared to the creative that focused on the tangible prize the fan could win if they took the time to scan.

The prize doesn’t have to be a big expensive one. It can be as simple as a buy one get one hot dog. One of our promotions at SQWAD sends out over 90,000 per night with one team.

But just having someone scan to play without promoting the prize will ensure that the campaign falls flat. It was one of the biggest tweaks in messaging we saw that increased scans.

Consistency is Key

One of the biggest things from this study was the consistency of posting.

The campaigns that only posted an activation through QR code for one game saw much lower scan numbers than those that were posted for multiple games in a row.

As we looked deeper, we started to see a big uptick at around game 3 of posting to fans. Some took longer than that, but consistently posting the same campaign for fans greatly increased the scan rate.

From a psychological standpoint, this also makes sense. Familiarity builds curiosity. The first time I see an advertisement my brain does a fight or flight calculation. Usually, it is flight, which in this case means seeing it but not scanning it.

But as we see it more regularly in our game day experience, we as humans get more familiar with it. It seems less scary.

We’ve seen this manifest with sports betting in the U.S. With every commercial and league-approved broadcast insert we see, we see sports betting as commonplace and therefore are more willing to take a chance on the experience.

The same is true for our QR codes and campaigns tied to them. The more we see it game to game, the more comfortable we are with it. This increases the likelihood that we scan it.

So the main point here is don’t judge a campaign on one game. To really see results, be consistent in your promotion through a QR code. Fans need to get familiar with it.

Fan passion makes a difference

This is sort of an intangible, but fan passion definitely affects scan rates.

As I mentioned earlier, a blowout can cause your stadium to be empty at the time the QR code is posted. No fans, no scans.

But additionally, if the general passion of your fan base is low

The biggest place we saw this in our study was where a ‘smaller’ team in stadium size actually got more scans overall than a much larger stadium. Same timing in the post. Same general messaging and promotion setup. Same prize ‘value’ to the fan.

There was nothing to justify the large discrepancy in scans. So we went to games at both.

The fans at the smaller team were just more into the game experience. They were more bought in, more attentive at breaks.

So the intangible here is your stadium culture. Have you created a place where fans trust the activations and QRcodes you put up? If not, you can make all the adjustments and still fall flat.

This obviously is a bigger discussion within your organization to lift the excitement in your stadium. The trust in your team. If you don’t have this foundation, you will struggle to get scans.

If your fans truly trust your team, you will get more participation.

So, that’s our QR Code breakdown

As I close this out, I wanted to make something clear.

These are small tweaks you can make to increase the success of your QR code experiences. BUT you should be constantly testing yourself to see what works in your stadium.

It will take some work, but the results are worth it.

Think of it like a landing page for ticketing. You are trying to create something that gets the most conversions. This means tweaks in messaging, layout, and experience for the visitor.

Once you nail this though, document it and follow it with discipline.

If you can get more scans, you get more participation. More participation, more leads. More leads, more value to your team and sponsors. More revenue for your team.

If you’ve made it this far, I hope this article has convinced you to do one main thing; not just post a QR code up on your scoreboard and expect results.

Small tweaks can drastically increase scans. Follow a few of the above and you will see those increase.

How Banking Brands Can Leverage Interactive Signage In Sports Sponsorships

For over a century, banks in America have been leveraging sports sponsorships as a means to connect with mass audiences and engage with their communities, predating the era of television.

In the early days, stadium walls served as canvases for hand-painted advertisements, while banners adorned the field’s perimeter, capturing the attention of passionate fans.

Fast-forward to 2023 and not much has changed  – even with all the technological advancements in every area of stadium development and marketing, static signage is still the norm.

According to SponsorUnited, Of the 1,600 finance and banking brands that sponsor US major, minor, and collegiate sports, a whopping 80% of in-stadium sponsorships include some form of signage, and a lot of that is static (even if it’s a video screen).

But despite the popularity of in-stadium signage, it fails to convert.

Traditional static signage has significant limitations. It doesn’t engage fans or drive conversions, and its impact is difficult to measure.

With financial services having one of the highest digital advertising cost-per-lead (CPL) metrics of any industry, it’s crucial for banks to focus on strategies with the best ROI.

Enter Interactive Signage.

Unlock the power of interactive signage and revolutionize your sports sponsorship marketing strategy.

Say goodbye to passive signage advertising and hello to dynamic engagement experiences that captivate fans in the stadium.

By harnessing the potential of QR codes, you can effortlessly guide users towards an immersive journey, while generating a flood of qualified emails and valuable leads.

What sets interactive signage apart is its ability to captivate and inspire action? Gone are the days of merely grabbing eyeballs; now, you can measure success based on tangible results.

Imagine having the power to update your creative options with ease, ensuring your message remains fresh and relevant at all times. With interactive signage, you’ll not only capture attention but also turn it into measurable conversions.

It’s not just marketers who are enamored by this revolutionary approach; fans adore it too.

A study conducted by Nielsen Sports revealed that a staggering 70% of sports enthusiasts are more inclined to consider purchasing a product or service associated with their beloved sports team or admired athlete.

As a banking or finance brand, this presents an unprecedented opportunity to utilize interactive signage within your sports sponsorships to generate high-quality leads and skyrocket conversions.

It’s not just about building brand awareness anymore; it’s about driving real, tangible results.

Now, you might be wondering where to begin on your journey to seamlessly integrate interactive signage into your sports sponsorships.

Look no further! Our brand-new eBook is your ultimate guide, brimming with expert insights and actionable tips specifically tailored for banking and finance brands.

Discover how to unleash the full potential of interactive signage, grab the attention of your target audience, and turn them into enthusiastic leads.

Grab your copy of our eBook now! Click HERE to download!

What’s in the E-Book?

  • Benefits of sports sponsorship for banks
  • Banking sponsorship insights and statistics into the effectiveness of interactive signage
  • The problem with static signage
  • Four ways banks can use interactive signage to drive leads
  • Exclusive case studies from banking brands seeing results with interactive signage today

Ready to give it a read? Click HERE to download!

The 3 Biggest Benefits for Sports Sponsorships

We should always be selling benefits over features in sports sponsorships.

Features are the what. They commoditize our product. Benefits are the Why. They bring context to why a brand should spend with your team over buying more digital ads.

So what are the 3 biggest benefits that sports sponsorships bring?

On this episode of The Inches Podcast, we dive into the 3 biggest benefits that sports sponsorships bring to brands.

You can listen to the whole episode HERE. But as always below are some key points in the episode.

First, why it is so important to focus on these 3 benefits.

First & foremost, it is important to remember one vital truth in sponsorship sales…We are competing for advertising budgets.

We directly compete with other forms of advertising whether we like it or not. Yes, this means you are competing with SEO, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and all of the other outlets brands use to reach their customers.

If we compete head-to-head against these ad platforms, we will lose. As Billy Beane so famously is quoted in Money Ball, “If we play like the Yankees in here, we’ll lose to they Yankees out there.”

Instead, we need to show differentiation. What are elements that we have in sports sponsorship that Google Ads can’t replicate? What are the benefits that come with our assets that a brand can’t get from running Facebook ads?

This is what will open up more dollars for your team, this is what will get you more sales.

The below benefits are meant to be used as tools to help your assets stand out from, and not compete with, the many advertising outlets out there.

Ok, now that we got that out of the way, here are the top 3 benefits you should be selling with your sports sponsorships.

1. The opportunity associated with fan passion

The most valuable thing we have as a sports team is over centuries for most teams, we have built an impassioned audience that loves our team.

In many ways, fans follow their teams closer than they do their religion. For years, we have built up this passion to be passed down from generation to generation.

When a fanbase is passionate about their team, many times they become passionate about the brands that support their passion. Our job is to authentically infuse the brand message into that passion.

Google ads don’t have this built into their product. Facebook ads either. You can try and tap into that passion with influencers, but no other ad product has a better direct line to passion than we do as sports teams.

A quick side take on this…Passion does not equate to winning. Many times, we focus on that passion when selling sponsorships when the team is winning.

If we tie the passion to winning, we lose out on a lot of value when our team isn’t performing the best.

Instead, focus in on the community and passion that comes with being a fan.

One of the best examples of this I have seen comes with a campaign done in Brazil with Sport Club Recife. The Fan Donor program created a special card for fans who consented to be organ donors.

The message they gave was that your fandom can live on long after you pass away. You are part of a long-lasting legacy of the club with this simple action. It asked them to become “immortal fans” donating their organs after they die so that their love for the club will live on in someone else’s body.

In my opinion, fucking amazing. Wow. Talk about tapping into the passion of being a fan. It had nothing to do with the performance on the pitch.

The result…the waiting list for organ transplants in the city of Recife was reduced to zero in the first year.

There is no other medium on this planet that could do this. It was the perfect way to tap into the fan passion authentically to reach a goal.

If you can focus on ways that your sponsorship package can tap into fan passion, you will differentiate yourself from every advertising medium.

2. Exclusivity

In my opinion, this is the most under-utilized aspect of sports sponsorships. Exclusivity is a superpower that we have that is very hard to replicate.

We have stadiums that reach six figures in attendance in some cases. We have social media reach that can get in front of and captivate millions on game day.

With those audiences, we can offer brand exclusivity. We can tell a car partner that they will be the only car brand that will engage with that fan.

Why is this important? Ad clutter. Through television, through print ads, through out-of-home advertising we see thousands of brand messages per day. Our brains start to essentially ignore them.

This leads to wasted advertising dollars.

But with our games, we can sell that from the time a fan walks in the door, the only car brand they will be getting messages from will be theirs. We can ensure that for that time, they will have the exclusive attention of those passionate fans when it comes to car brands.

Again, I think we discount this benefit way too much…so let’s break down where else you can get this when it comes to advertising.

Will Facebook, Google, or Twitter ever allow one brand to be the exclusive car brand advertiser on their platform? Absolutely not…and in the off chance they did, the cost would be unreasonable.

How could a brand be exclusive when it comes to city billboards? They would have to either buy every billboard in town OR work out a deal with the company selling the billboards that you will be the only car brand shown in the city.

Is that likely they will do this? No.

Even with both the scenarios above, both don’t command the attention that we have in sports on our game day.

When selling a brand, use exclusivity as a key sales point. Most of the time, brands can’t get this benefit anywhere else.

3. The “Media-Heavy” hedge

The last benefit that Rich brings up here is really key and something I hadn’t thought of.

Many times brands will spend a heavy chunk of their ads on media. Whether social media or TV, they have carved out a large portion hoping that customers will see the ad while they consume their social feed or favorite show and come make a purchase.

With all advertising spending, brands are making a bet. The bet is that this medium will help them grow customers at a larger rate than their competitors.

The problem with a media-heavy bet today comes with the number of options consumers have to skip/ignore ads.

On streaming, you can skip an ad or easily ignore the ad. We’ve all done it, wait until that “Skip ad” button shows up on YouTube or go out of the room when that ad plays on Hulu.

If a brand is making this heavy of a bet, it should hedge with something that is hard to ignore as a customer.

Kiss Cam at a game…hard to ignore. An activation at halftime like SQWAD’s Shuffle Game is hard to ignore.

Our packages can be the hedge to a brand’s media-heavy strategy. It can help their brand stand out in those media buys as the fan has seen the brand at our sports games. they have seen the logo and interacted with it at a game, so when that logo shows up in a TV ad, they focus more on it.

This can help you turn another advertising outlet’s flaws into a win. You can pitch the Media Hedge to bring context to why they should spend with your team.

 

All of the above benefits are keys to how your team can stand out. Instead of competing with other advertising outlets head to head, use these benefits to help your team and your sponsorship packages stand out.

 

Working through Ghosts in Sports Sponsorship Sales

It’s an unfortunate part of sales. Sometimes we think there is a fit, we have the prospect excited, then…GHOSTED. Radio silence, no answer to our emails or calls.

In sports sponsorship, it is no different. We get ghosted by prospective brands.

So how can we avoid this? How can we manage ghosting in our sales process?

In this episode of The Inches podcast, Rich & Nick dive into tactics and ideas around working through ghosting in sales.

You can listen to the full episode HERE. But as always, I break down the key points below.

1. Don’t forget, time is money

The first step to getting over ghosting is to remember that time is money. Sometimes, it’s not worth it to chase a ghost.

This is a key point that Rich brings up that I think we all forget sometimes. We get so committed to a prospect coming on boards that we spend a lot of time chasing them. This time can be spent working through other prospects.

One way that Rich breaks it down is with Prospects and Suspects. In every sales process, you should ask yourself if they are a Prospect (can use your sponsorship and are really interested) or a Suspect (not as sold on your sponsorship being the answer).

It is really important to not chase Suspects. You will waste a lot of time doing so.

When someone ghosts you, they most likely enter that Suspect side of the equation. When they do, it is time to focus back on your true Prospects.

Don’t become romantically attached to a brand in the sales process. If they become a Suspect, move on until they decide they are ready to become a Prospect.

2. Hope is not a strategy

I love this phrase from Rich. Hope is not a strategy.

Really, it boils down to the idea that we as salespeople need to be actively utilizing tactics that move our deals forward in the sales process.

Does this mean being spammy or desperate? No.

But it also means we can’t be what Rich calls a ‘professional visitor’.

What is a professional visitor? It’s a salesperson that assumes that all sales activity is helping move the sale forward.

We can’t just “Check in to see what you thought of our proposal”. You can’t use sales activity as a metric for closing sales.

Activity does not equal productivity. In sales, we sometimes forget this with our touchpoints.

The easiest way to get ghosted is when you follow up with the “Checking In” email. Why? Because it brings no value to the equation.

It is a hope strategy. “I hope my proposal/presentation was good enough that I can just ‘check in’ with the prospect”. This is sales is the fastest way to get a prospect to ghost you.

It builds no urgency, it builds no momentum. It is easy to ignore and hold a deal up. A check-in email is easy to read and not respond to if the prospect/suspect is unsure and feels no urgency.

So how do we make sure that Hope is not our strategy? That brings us to #3.

3. Sales Momentum kills ghosts

Yup, sales momentum is the answer. Every follow-up you make should be to address a key need that the prospect has.

If you replace the Hope/ Check-In follow-up with a need follow-up, you will do 1 of 2 things:

  1. Identify and weed out the Suspects. If they don’t respond positively to the need follow-up, they turn into a suspect. They were never going to buy from you anyways. You can save time chasing them.
  2. This brings more value to your proposal. It will hit on that itch that they can’t quite scratch, you will create urgency on their end to move forward.

So what is a ‘need’ follow-up?

A need follow-up is a crafted follow-up that focuses on a big pain or need that the prospect has. It takes research to put your follow-up into context on why they should stop ghosting you.

A few examples:

  • You did some research and found out they are hiring or just hired a chunk of employees. Send them an email saying congrats, and mention that you can add in hospitality assets to help keep those new employees happy with company sports outings.Better yet, send over a bottle of champagne with the note.
  • Are they doing a new product launch? Make a mock-up of the new product on the ice with your players, send it over, and mention how utilizing the influence of your team and players can help give a huge boost to the launch.
  • Are you close to selling a signage or asset that they were really interested in? Let them know that you have another brand interested and you wanted to give them first right of refusal as they were interested in it first.
  • You found a new way to reach their goal. Let’s say their goal was lead generation, follow up with an activation like SQWAD’s Scoreboard Trivia for a new & exciting way to earn qualified leads for them.

What all of these do is builds momentum. It puts your assets into context with their business needs.

Do you have to wait until they ghost you to implement these? Absolutely not. You can build this into your sales process before they ghost you.

For example, let’s say you give the pitch and it feels successful. You ask to set up the next call in the meeting and they give you the “We’ll get back to you when we have decided.”

Two days later, send an email with the above examples in it. You can actually schedule this into the sales process.

This way, you aren’t scheduling a ‘follow up’, you are scheduling a need follow-up. You are scheduling urgency. You are scheduling something that scratches their business itch.

Most importantly, you are adding value rather than asking for an answer. You are building upon why your package is a can’t miss opportunity.

If they respond positively, keep the momentum going. Ask to add the new asset and get the deal signed.

If they don’t, they should be categorized as a Suspect. You should move on.

If you implement these 3 ideas, you can solve the ghost problem. Not because you converted the ghosting prospect…but because you focused your time & energy on brands that see the value and want to buy your product.

This is the key to overcoming ghosting. Not every brand is a Prospect, our job is to present our value to weed out the Suspects.

When we make this mindset shift, we close more deals.

2023 Sports Sponsorship Predictions

What a year that we are headed into with sports sponsorship. The struggles from a pandemic that shut down our business and games seem to be finally fading off, getting us back to full stadiums of fans to introduce our brand sponsors.

But what will 2023 bring? Can we really know?

No, but it is always fun to look at the upcoming year and dive into some trends and predictions we are seeing.

In this episode of The Inches Podcast, Rich & I dive into our 2023 predictions for the sponsorship industry.

You can listen to the whole episode HERE, but as always I dive into the key points below.

1. Due to economic concerns, fringe sports will take a hit

Will a recession happen? Who knows…but we have already seen some reactions in the market even with the chance that it will happen. Layoffs, budget cuts, you name it.

In sponsorship…this affects us. When marketing budgets get cut, sports sponsorship sometimes is seen as an unnecessary spend.

This will disproportionately affect fringe sports more than the big league ones. Even with the looming recession, we will see sponsors pull their dollars in minor league and fringe sports.

So how do we stop it? How can we ensure that our sponsorship is not what is cut?

Proving value. If you can prove the value and show the ROI of your sponsorship activations & assets, you will win those dollars.

For example, if your Car Dealership sponsor has a goal of earning leads…you need to show them how you can help them earn leads at a high level. If you can do this, you will become essential, not expendable.

Activations like SQWAD’s Scoreboard Shuffle can help your sponsor earn leads, send offers, and capture fan attention on game day. It is the perfect inventory to add to your sponsor package to ensure that they say yes.

So if you are a smaller organization, focus on ROI. It will help you get deals across the line.

2. YouTube will become even more powerful for your team & sponsors

We’ve written about it before, but just when we thought YouTube couldn’t get any more valuable…it shows even more ways it is the go-to platform for video.

Fans consume HUGE amounts of video content on this platform. Even bigger is how much brands spend here to reach those fans.

The big step this year came with NFL Sunday Ticket finding its home on YouTube. There is more & more reason for fans to use the platform as the go-to place to consume their sports content.

Your team needs to create a strategy and content to post on YouTube in 2023.

A couple of big reasons why:

  1. The amount of money brands are spending here is insane. YouTube has brought in $34Bn in advertising revenue in the last 3 years alone. It generates $1.65Bn in advertising revenue every 3 weeks. Your sponsors are spending their ad dollars here. If you can build an asset on YouTube, chances are they will spend dollars on it.
  2. There is nothing stopping you. You can package and create content to post on the platform with nothing to stop you. There are definitely tips and tricks you will need to follow to make sure you get views, but it is a free service to reach a brand-new audience.

As YouTube picks up steam (which isn’t close to the ceiling yet), the teams that create content here will be in the driver’s seat to grab those dollars.

3. Growth in streaming

Much like the above, not only content you can post on YouTube will be valuable. All streaming will be key and important to dive into in 2023 as you create a strategy around digital.

Live sports is one of the most valuable and watched video content. In most cases, disproportionately so.

Yes, sometimes your live-streaming game action is stopped by the league due to broadcast deals. But we can still get creative here to help reach the value.

What if we live-streamed warmups from the field or on the ice? Get a camera on the sideline to stream the receivers warming up then post on YouTube Live or other channels.

Imagine the number of views that can bring your team. It can be a catalyst for the other content you have. It will be a channel that is unique and grabs attention.

When there is unique content, sponsors love being a part of it. They love being the first on content that grabs eyeballs.

Unique streaming opportunities will be the new sexy inventory in 2023 that sponsors will eat up.

4. Segmentation of fan data

For decades, we have pitched the idea of “here is what our fan base looks like”. Many times, this is a good audience to reach for brands.

The problem with this overall audience is it is just that, a wide net. There is no niche to target.

In every other corner of the advertising world, a niche audience is gold. On digital ads you can segment customers down to the last content they liked.

Brands love segmented audiences because they can get the right message to the right person and not waste messaging on those not interested.

In 2023, being able to segment your fan data based on interests will set teams apart when it comes to making sponsorship packages.

As an example, let’s say you create a team newsletter that focuses on the many culinary sides of the team. Maybe it features nutritional advice from the team cook as well as recipes from players on the team with their favorite dishes.

Pretty niche. You may get only 1,000 fans to sign up in a season.

Now let’s say an oven maker comes to your team to see if they want to sponsor your team. This is definitely the audience they want to reach. Selling them on sponsorship of the newsletter is probably the item that will get them over the line.

Is it 50,000 fans? No. Is it access to 1,000 fans most likely to care about the features and benefits of their oven products? YES!

As we look to 2023, the teams that can segment their fan base through content and package that into inventory to sell sponsors will make the most money. It can be as easy as the example above, you don’t need a data scientist to do it.

Get started today.

5. There will be a renewed emphasis on guest experience

Fans, for the most part, are back in our stadiums. Restrictions are no more, and I think it is safe to say that the comfort level of being in a crowd is very high compared to even last year.

But with the pandemic came certain habits that keep fans at home. We taught them how to consume from their couch for years as we couldn’t have fans in the stands.

These habits mean we need in-stadium experiences that will convince them to get off the couch and come to our games.

Is your game day experience enough to do so? What key moments are you creating beyond the action on the court, ice, or field that will keep them coming back?

In 2023, we’ll need to find things that will enhance our game experience to ensure that fans crave coming back to the game.

It can be little things, like during a TV time out adding an engaging game like SQWAD’s Scoreboard Trivia. Fans can play along on their phones and win prizes when correct to give them the incentive to come back each game.

Or a pregame experience that really stands out. Maybe it is an AR activation shown through your scoreboard.

But Nick, what does this have to do with sponsorship? I’m not on game ops?

Many times, sponsors can be the funding for these great experiences. Most of the time, if there is something that grabs a fan’s attention, they want to be a part of it.

So as you are looking for new inventory for your sponsors, don’t forget to look at the game experience. What are some ways that you can not only keep fans coming back but also create new inventory that will connect them to sponsors while doing so.

 

Again, no one knows what 2023 will bring. It’s a crap shoot.

But given the current environment, if you can focus on the 5 items above you should be in a great spot to succeed.

Sports Sponsorship 2023 New Year Resolutions

Champagne for the sports sponsorship industry

It’s a new year in sports sponsorship.

The history of New Year’s Resolutions dates back almost 4,000 years to the ancient Babylonians. In their 12-day celebration for a new year, they would project forward what they hoped to achieve in the new year.

That is all to say, we as humans have been promising ourselves to be better each year for a fair amount of time. It is in our DNA.

A new year means a chance to have a fresh start in our industry of sports sponsorships. As we turn the page to 2023, we see a fair amount of headwinds coming our way.

It’s the perfect time to refocus and make some promises to stick to throughout the year.

In this episode of The Inches podcast, Rich and I dive into the New Year’s Resolutions we have for the sports sponsorship industry. We’re bringing it back from 2020.

You can listen to the full episode HERE, but as always see below for a quick breakdown.

1. Ignore The Noise

I think we all in the industry have heard of or read about the headwinds that are anticipated for this upcoming year.

An economic downturn, recession, whatever you want to call it…we are starting to see companies brace for an adjustment to growth by cutting spending.

Tangibly, we see this with some of the biggest companies laying off workers and cutting ad spend. This means less $$$ for us to go capture.

How can you combat this? Ignore the noise.

Foundationally, I think this is the best resolution you can make for yourself in the sports sponsorship industry this year. It is a promise to not get freaked out about the things you cannot control and let it affect your game plan & execution.

You can’t stop a recession… but you can double-down your focus on the value you bring clients & win the diminished budget.

As Rich brings up in the episode, choose not to participate in a recession.

As you head into what can become a tumultuous year in 2023, ignore the noise and focus on your main goal in sports sponsorship…which should be to maximize the value you bring to your sponsors.

2. Resolve to have more sales engagement > spammy sales

Reaching target customers has never been easier. We have the ability to build a list of 1,000 potential prospects, automate the email, and reach them all in minutes.

The problem with the above, sales are built on relationships. It is hard to automate relationships.

In 2023, focus on sales engagement over automated selling.

What is sales engagement? It’s actions in the sales process that help you build a relationship before trying to sell your product.

An example I always bring up of sales engagement drives back to when I sold restaurant ads. Before trying to engage with a prospect, I would go to their restaurant and eat a meal. I would ask what they were known for while having that meal and focus on understanding the biggest items that made the restaurant special.

Then, I would email the owner. Mentioning the dish and saying I would love to help travelers know about it through our hotel book.

I took the time to get to know the product before I fired off a sales email. That is sales engagement.

Did I reach every owner and get them to buy? No. But the ones that did engage with me closed at a higher rate and bought more ad space than the ones that I just shot off an automated email to.

As we dive into 2023, look at how you prospect new business and see if you are doing more sales engagement or sales automation. If your process is heavy on the automation side, build in more sales engagement items.

3. Be a Helper in sports sponsorship

You can never go wrong with this resolution. If you can find ways to be helpful, you usually see the value come back 10X in this industry.

Be a helper with your sponsors. How are you helping them maximize their value with your sports sponsorship package? Even further than that, can you help them look like a rockstar by hosting their son’s little league team for a pregame experience?

Be a helper to your co-workers. Can you help your marketing team fund an activation with sponsor dollars? Can you help make an in-game segment easier with a few execution tweaks?

If you focus on being a helper, you’ll see the returns throughout the year. Even better, expect nothing in return and be surprised when it comes back to you.

4. Try a new channel for an entire season/year

This one is a bit more tactical than the others, but I think one of the more important items to look at as you head into the new year.

So much in sports business and media, we rely on a few ‘known’ channels to distribute our content and by relation…build inventory to sell our sponsors.

But this will lead to tunnel vision. We focus so much on Twitter or Instagram that we don’t try new channels and see new opportunities.

In 2023, commit to trying to build an audience on a new channel that your team hasn’t tried before.

It can be YouTube, Tik Tok, Pinterest, Facebook Stories, or whatever you think will bring you the most value back.

The key to making this a resolution is to stick with it for an entire year. Many times, we try a new channel, don’t see immediate results…and then quit. This makes it so we never learn, tweak, and grow on that channel. If you look for instant results…you will probably not see them and abandon the campaign.

When you abandon this, you abandon the potential & opportunity.

Choose a channel, educate yourself on it, test it, and stick with it for an entire year. The results can only compound..better yet you can open up brand-new inventory to sell to sponsors.

5. Focus on time management in sports sponsorship

This is probably a good resolution every year, but it has a big place in the ability to execute the above resolutions.

One thing we don’t have in abundance in the sports industry is time. We can’t be inefficient with it when it comes to executing in the sports sponsorship industry.

A good way to get started is to carve out some time to do a scheduled audit. What are you spending your time on currently? What is taking the most time in your work day?

Then break those back down to your yearly goals. Is that what you should be focusing your time on? Do those actions that you spend time on help you get closer to your goals?

Take some time this week, do an audit, and then work toward a schedule that helps you manage your time more efficiently to help reach your yearly goals. Your future self in 2024 will thank you.

Choose 1, choose all 5, or whatever you think you can manage. But make your resolutions for this year and commit to helping build a better-executed 2023.

 

The Art To Upsell In Sports Sponsorship

Upsell sports sponsorship
Upselling is an art.

The best thing about a full client list is we have customers that have believed the pitch and spent dollars on your assets. It shouldn’t take much to upsell your current sponsorship clients in sports.

They get it. They are onboard.

Now you’re in year two, and you’re looking to open more revenue from your current sponsors. You’re looking to upsell them.

But where do you start? How can you make sure the relationship doesn’t turn transactional?

In this episode of The Inches Podcast, we dive into the art of the Upsell in sports sponsorships.

You can listen to the full episode HERE. But as always, some key points below.

First, what is the value of an upsell in your current sports sponsorships?

Let’s really jump into the core WHY? of upselling current sponsors. Efficiency.

Most of the time, the sponsor already believes in the sponsorship product you are putting out there. They have built the trust with you. They know what you have to offer and the value it brings.

In short, you don’t have to spend time convincing them of this. The hours you spend selling a new asset will for the most part be less than selling to a new prospect that is skeptical of your product.

Less time means a more efficient selling process, which ultimately means a more profitable client.

Before we dive into the real value (relationships, maximization of value), the big why you should be looking at upselling is simply because it is a more profitable business activity for your department. This is key in the focus to upsell in sports sponsorship.

Upsell in sports sponsorship is all about your partner’s potential

The goal of every partnership should be reaching their potential in the partnership.

In college my football coach talked constantly about a player’s full potential. That few reach it, but our goal as a player should be to unlock our full potential as a player.

He drove home that each player has different levels of full potential, but we will never know what that level is until we put in the work and time to unlock it.

I think the same way about sports sponsorships.

The most valuable aspect about upselling in my mind is the constant journey to help our sponsor reach the full potential of the partnership. What is the maximum value we can push for and achieve for them?

Notice how this changes the mindset of the upsell. The goal is not to sell more products or assets. The goal is to help our sponsors reach their full potential of value in our partnership.

If we go into the upsell with a mindset to “sell that outfield sign no one wants yet”, we aren’t starting with their interests and goals in mind. We are looking to reach our internal goals first. It will backfire on us and hurt the relationship.

If reaching their full potential is the mindset we take with our partners, the result will be selling more assets…but the added kicker will be solidifying the relationship with your partner. If you focus on maximizing potential in your upsell, you build a feedback loop that will help you close more revenue each year.

Look at your current sponsor list & ask yourself “why are they stuck at $X spend?”

A good process that Rich brings up in the process of identifying who to upsell comes with asking yourself two questions;

  1. Is this sponsor stuck at $X spending?
  2. Why are they stuck at $X spending?

It’s a good exercise to help you understand and dive deep into how you can help them reach their full potential.

For example, let’s say your local chain restaurant has been spending $10,000 a year for the last 3 seasons. Seemingly, they are stuck at that spend with you.

If we dive into the why, we can start to think through what we can offer to help them get to a higher spend.

If we look at the average QSR spend in sports sponsorship, this spend is low. So why aren’t they spending more with us?

Is it because they are at their limit of budget?

Is it because they don’t think that spending more on our assets will yield a result that is worth it?

Is it because they only see the value of your package in one lense (maybe they only sponsor your team to promote their community initiatives).

As we dive into each of our current sponsors, you can make a list of the reasons why the partner is stuck at that spend. From there, we can start to understand what we need to do to increase it and upsell in sports sponsorship.

Once you find the why, context is everything to upsell your sports sponsorships

I bring this up a lot because I think it is a cardinal sin in sports sponsorships that we fall into.

The brand sponsor doesn’t care that you have a new sign in left field or jersey patch asset. They care how it will help them toward their marketing goals.

With this, as with new prospects, the key to closing the upsell.

Context is the WHY. As Rich brings up on the podcast, each prospect has a sign around their neck that says “So What?”. It is your job to answer that question.

So how do we find context to upsell in sports sponsorship? There are 3 main ways;

Understanding their marketing goals

You should know your sponsor’s marketing goals like the back of your hand. If you don’t, find them out.

Every company has marketing goals they are looking to hit. Those goals may change year to year, but every company has them.

Your job is to help them reach those goals with your sponsorship assets.

So the first way to upsell a sports sponsor…and probably easiest…is to simply know their marketing goals.

Is breaking into a certain customer segment key for them (like reaching families in their community)? If so, adding more inventory into your package that helps them reach that goal should be an easy sell.

The continuation of your package to double down on helping your sponsor reach their goal is the easiest, and usually most beneficial way to help your team drive more revenue through upselling.

Understanding what is coming up (new product launches, etc)

Beyond current marketing goals, it is important to understand what is coming in the future with your sponsors in order to upsell them.

For example, knowing that there is a new product they are launching helps you craft a campaign that can maximize the awareness and purchases with your fanbase.

Knowing about a new investment into a community initiative will do the same thing.

Rich and I have talked about this in past episodes, but if you know what new initiatives are coming up, you can be proactive in opening new buckets of budget to spend with your team.

The best way to do this comes with three actions. The first…ask your sponsor directly what future initiatives are coming down the line. Simply asking can help you get the most detailed information on them.

The second, press releases. Many companies have blogs where they release information on upcoming deals and products.

The third, looking at the ads they are already spending on in social media. If they are spending dollars here, they most likely will want to promote the CTA in these ads further for better results.

Future initiatives are the second easiest way to add new inventory to upsell sponsors.

Understanding the industry they play in & the stuggles

The third comes with really understanding the industry that your sponsor plays in. It’s a bit harder to do than the above items…but if you can pull it off, the upsell inventory will be killer.

For example, in the auto industry recently the problem hasn’t been demand…it has been supply. Dealerships simply don’t have certain models on the lot to sell…and if they do they consumer can’t get it for months.

Understanding this item means you can create inventory and campaigns that help them solve this industry problem.

For example, utilizing a digital campaign that earns leads and builds relationships with fans can help for when the pendulum shifts from too much demand to too much supply.

A campaign like SQWAD’s prediction games where fans compete against dealership sales people each game will earn emails and build trust. When the dealership needs leads to tap into when the industry shifts…they will have a fresh audience to tap into.

Understanding industry shifts, like the above example, can open context to new campaigns.  The new campaigns are opportunities to upsell that sponsor for years to com.

 

With these three items, you can use your assets to answer the “so what?” question. This will help you upsell in sports sponsorship.

Last, make sure you are in good standing with your sponsors before you try and upsell them.

This sounds like common sense…but we lose sight of it a lot in sponsorship.

If you are not in good standing with a sponsor…don’t try and upsell them for new inventory. It is the easiest way to hurt your relationship with them.

At its core…why would a sponsor spend more with you if you aren’t giving them results?

Put another way…if you paid for advertising and the agency didn’t provide results, how would you feel if they asked for you to spend more?

Most likely it would make you trust them even less to get the job done.

Asking for an upsell before you have delivered for them on the initial package turns a relationship into a transactional one. You are obviously thinking about your sales quota over their goals and needs.

As you look to upsell your current clients, really ask yourself “have we knocked it out of the park for them?” before approaching for an upsell. If you haven’t, focus your energy on knocking it out of the park for them.

Now go out and get those upsells.

If you are looking for new inventory to offer, our digital activations at SQWAD can help your organization drive new revenue this upcoming season.

More relationships touchpoints, less logo touchpoints in sports sponsorship

In sports sponsorship, and really all sponsorship, we get bogged down in assets.

It somewhat makes sense…it is the product we sell. Our mindset sometimes shifts to “How many signs can I get sold?”.

Many times though, those assets we focus on are heavy in what I’ll call “Logo Touchpoints”. As I have mentioned before, your

Why? Well, fans see over 3,000 sponsorship ads per game when in your stadium. Our brains begin to become numb to logos much like they do to other advertisements. They don’t remember them…or even notice they are there.

For this reason, the touchpoints that we create between brand and fan can’t all be logos.

We have to create moments that focus on building relationships…especially with our auto, bank, and insurance partners.

In the most recent Sponsorship Tip of the Week, I dive into why you should be looking at touchpoints that build relationships over logo touchpoints.

Check out the full video, but I’ll dive in more below.

Why? Relationship touchpoints are more valuable in sports sponsorship

When we think about building our packages with sponsors, we have to be thinking about the value it creates for our brands.

As I mentioned above, the number of sponsorship ads fans are exposed to are mind-numbing (literally). This makes the value of a logo touchpoint less valuable as an advertising asset.

Why? Because it is less noticed. It is a CPM metric…which is the lowest cost in the advertising game.

We have captivated audiences in our stadiums each game. Passionate fans that are locked in and passionate about our teams. If we leverage that passion with logo touch points, it would be like trying to get water from a waterfall with 5 individual spoons. You will miss out on a lot of water and come away with a minimal amount collected.

In other words, we miss the full potential of that attention.

Now let’s switch it to relationship touchpoints. These are 1-on-1 interactions with fans that they will remember long after the game. They stand out. They are unique moments that help build the authentic relationship between the fan and the spnosor.

The value of a 1-on-1 conversation with a potential customer is much more valuable than a logo flash to 100,000 fans. The likelihood of closing a sale from that is much higher than with a logo.

Lastly, it allows the brand to stand out with their brand. They can get creative and find unique ways to grab that fan’s attention.

So the “why” becomes, a relationship touchpoint is more valuable than a logo touchpoint. Being more valuable…you can charge more for it.

What are some examples of relationship touchpoints in sports sponsorship?

I’ll start with there is no cookie-cutter formula for these touchpoints…or there shouldn’t be. If we start to cookie-cutter these assets…they become less valuable.

Now there are some tried & true assets that have worked. Boothing in the concourse is a great relationship touchpoint that gets your sponsors 1-on-1 opportunities to build a relationship with fans.

But…I would challenge your sponsorship team to dive in deeper than just adding a booth.

When we think about the biggest benefit to relationship touchpoints…it is the relationships they build. If we just offer our sponsors boothing opportunities with no direction…there is a high likelihood they will turn this into a sales booth.

It is hard to build a relationship with fans when the first touchpoint is a sales one. You may get the fans who are hot leads in the market…but you miss out on the ones that aren’t yet ready.

Instead, let’s help our brands get creative with the relationship touchpoints. Replace just the booth with branded pop-shots that fans can come to and take a shot at.

This reverses the fan’s fight or flight reflex. It is an un-threatening opening that pulls the fan in. No strings attached.

Today especially, some of these touchpoints need to be digital. Why? Well, fans are digital. They are on their phones.

An example of this can come with digitizing a Mascot Race. The Mascot Race in itself is a relationship-building touchpoint. It starts the relationship with a fun race that fans can gravitate towards without a sales pitch.

More than that, it stands out. It is unique in the stadium.

But we always want to continue the fan journey from touchpoint to touchpoint, this is where digitizing the experience can help.

For example, with the Dunkin Race in both the Chicago Bulls and Bears stadiums, fans can choose which character they think will win right on their phone through SQWAD’s Mascot Race activation.

When they win, they get a free offer for their next visit to Dunkin’. This offer in itself is another relationship touchpoint that centers around reciprocity. You are building the relationship further with the offer.

Then, the fan redeems the offer at the store, which is the final relationship touchpoint…and really the end goal for the sponsor. The customer service they receive creates a cycle to do the whole cycle over again.

Mapping these relationship touchpoints is the key to building your package as they can compound in the value they build.

How do I structure them into my sports sponsorship packages?

So should there only be relationship-building assets in your packages? No. Logo touchpoints do have a cognitive value…and honestly, we have so much logo inventory that our revenue numbers would dwindle (that is another problem for another day).

Relationship-based inventory should be the key foundation of your package. They should be pillar assets that the logo touchpoint assets are built upon.

With this, the ratio I recommend is 1 relationship touchpoint for every 2 logo touchpoints.

Will this challenge you to not fill a package with logo touchpoints? Yes. Will your sponsor thank you for not pitching them yet another package that is filled with logo touchpoints?

Absolutely.

Again, these shouldn’t be just “we are adding a booth for our relationship touchpoint”. This isn’t what brands pay you for.

Each relationship touchpoint should be key moments in the fan’s journey from point A to point B…with point A being “I’ve never interacted with this brand” and point B “I am purchasing from them”.

Adding relationship touchpoints into your sports sponsorship packages will help your packages make sense with your brands and help you sell more sponsorships.

Any brand you work with would rather have a relationship with its customers than just logo recognition. If you can create moments in your game that help build those relationships…the value of your sponsorship packages skyrockets.

If you can systemize this thought process into the way you create packages, your team will win more deals at a higher revenue rate.

At SQWAD, we can help you do this with our suite of digital sponsorship activations. We’ve done so for over 30 sports teams and their brands. Give us a shout if you are interested in learning more.