Recently, Gillette decided to can its MLB sponsorship…. And I don’t mean the type of can that holds shaving cream. This announcement says so long to a 100-year sponsorship – one of the oldest in the league. Is this a sign of more things to come?

Sponsorship activations are a desirable marketing platform for brands that want to thrust themselves into the spotlight. But if you want one, prepare to open your wallet.  Wide. It might be glamorous but it’s also a costly proposition seeing your name in lights (or on banners, doors and windows, etc.). Your brand is also following the brand that came before it, and before that one and so forth.

Sponsorships are also one of the biggest revenue generators for many entertainment and sports properties. But they often don’t pan out for the sponsoring brand. Take Papa John’s, which recently severed ties with the NFL, or Bridgestone that cancelled its World Golf Championships sponsorship. While the brands both still promise to be involved with the respective sports, the larger investments were clearly not reaping enough benefits to justify their extraordinary cost. That’s a big chunk of change to toss down the toilet. Of course sponsorships aren’t totally worthless. But one of the things brands often fail to recognize is how to make the marketing partnership – whether paid or unpaid – work more in their favor and deliver better brand experiences.

Here are a few BrandAgent tips for creating better brand alliances:

  1. Turn the sponsorship into a marketing partnership. It all starts with planning. Having a proper partnership marketing plan allows you to negotiate a 2-way rather than a 1-way brand relationship and puts you in the driver’s seat. Sponsorships are often one-size–fits-all. Start from a more customized perspective and you are bound to see better marketing ROI – not just in the cost savings department.
  2. Bring your media assets to the bargaining table to barter marketing and reduce the fees. Especially in a case where properties are struggling to get viewers or attendees, you might have more negotiating power than you realize. Take the assets you’ve already invested in (such as media platforms, retail space, social media, etc.), and your customer-base and use these assets to create a 2-way arrangement that brings down the fees.
  3. Ask yourself: “Can we achieve our goals WITHOUT a sponsorship?” Sometimes a Partnership Marketing Agency health check-up is the first place to start. Are there other brand partnerships that might achieve the same goals as a big-ticket sponsorship? Doing a proper Partnership Marketing Plan allows you to assess possible brand partners that make sense for you pursue and barter with to achieve the same goals, all while you improve marketing ROI.

Want more information? Ask Regatta, The Original BrandAgents partnership marketing agency. We’ve been helping brands maximize their marketing partnerships for over 15 years. Reach out. Stop by. Say hi. We won’t bite. We promise.