Over the past couple of years, the industry volunteers who drive the Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada have been working their fannies off to build an organization that is more relevant, valuable, and attractive to the marketing community. This morning proved they have achieved their lofty ambitions.

Every couple of months the SMCC holds breakfast forums in Toronto. In past years they have been hit and miss. Some have had great content, with poor attendance. Others have been attended en masse, only to showcase disappointing content. Finally the light went on and made enough people at the SMCC executive table realize that poorly orchestrated events were more than bad events. They were actually reflecting poorly on the entire sponsorship marketing industry. How can you sell the C-suite on the ROI of sponsorship marketing when our own industry events have zero ROI?

Flash forward to 2013 and you now have all-star panels such as this morning’s featuring my pal Don Mayo of IMI, Jacquie Ryan of Scotia, Nathalie Cook from TSN, Iain Chalmers of Diageo, Alan Dark of CBC and Kyle McMann from the NHL. Today’s 8:00 AM seminar was held in Real Sports, which was great except I had never seen the place sober before. (Bummed that none of the usual waitresses were working either, but I did recognize a couple of their moms serving coffee.)

The topic of conversation was “The Elusive Fan,” with the NHL and its partner programs utilized to illustrate the theory that Fan Value is the key for sponsorship ROI for all parties: sponsor, property, and media rights holder. It’s a sound theory that extends beyond the NHL case study, although hockey is a perfect lesson for us all.

More important than the topic is the effort of the SMCC execs and the commitment of the speakers to ensure that the sponsorship marketing industry in Canada grows, flourishes, and is duly recognized for its impact on business success. That’s ROI for all of us!

Hey SMCC, you have won over this elusive fan.

Best Behaviour

Marcello Pizzeria
was the place.

April 20th was the date.

Noon was the time.

My guest? Anonymous.

In hindsight, I did not arrange this luncheon to be secretive, clandestine or remotely mysterious. It was simply an opportunity for me to enjoy a first meeting with a highly regarded marketing maven. In some circles they call it networking. Critics may call it schmoozing. Detractors may call it glad-handing. Blah…blah…blah. Continue reading “Best Behaviour”

Philanthropy in the UK

When was the last time you had the opportunity to really feel like your work was contributing to a better world?

Is it an everyday occurrence for you? Or hardly ever?

For those whose profession is more noble than mine, I would expect the odds are higher that this is an everyday feeling. At least I hope so.

How do we know if our work is benefiting society? If I were a doctor or a fireman, the results would be right before my eyes. If you work for a charity, you may also feel that way. I would hazard a guess your personal trainer, local politician and child’s teacher, also feel the same.

On Tuesday I met a woman who should never question her contribution to society when she closes her weary eyes at night.

Her name is Pauline Broomhead. Continue reading “Philanthropy in the UK”

Research: The Key to Maximizing Your ROI

One of the Forum’s most popular return speakers, Don Mayo from IMI International, wrapped up the first day of CSF 2011 with a keynote presentation on using research to maximize ROI.

One of the first steps to engaging consumers is to research their passions and interests to understand what excites them. The fact is that 30% of the population isn’t passionate about anything – forget about them. Focus on the people who do care, and figure out what it is that they care about. Don’t rely on the media to inform you about what people think – according to media coverage, hockey is too violent and it’s in trouble, but the truth is that violent sport is not dead. In fact, it’s seeing tremendous growth. So don’t listen to the opinions of the media, coworkers, or bosses – take the time to conduct the research and arm yourself with facts.

Before the presentation, Don and the IMI International team explored Montreal’s Crescent St, which is a hub of Formula 1 activity, to see how sponsorships are being activated at this highly visible national event by a variety of companies, from Sirius Radio to Dr. Pepper, Smirnoff to Ford. Their observations revealed that Formula 1 has effectively incorporated sponsors into the event to entertain tourists and ultimately integrate assets and passions. The most effective of these activations entertained consumers, remained consistent with the company’s brand messaging and engaged the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time.

Don wrapped up with a discussion of how the magic number for maximizing sponsorship ROI is three. No more than three objectives. Three properties and three seasons. Three measures, three-year contracts, and a maximum of three tactics.

Don’s real-time data analysis, backed up with his years of research experience with IMI International, were a great way to cap off a fantastic first day of CSF 2011.

Listen, Measure & Engage in Social Media

Social media is an important tool that companies and properties alike can use to connect with their audience, but engagement is about much more than simply being present. Dave Thomas from Radian6 took the stage today to discuss the importance of listening, measuring and participating in a social media program.

If Dave could leave delegates with only one thing to take away from his presentation today, he’d hope it would be to focus on the fundamentals. Lucky for me, I took away a little more and would love to share it with you.

“Only you understand your business,” says Dave. Everyone has an opinion about social media and it is important to figure out what works for you and your business. Social media has forever changed the way people and companies communicate. Speaking through press releases is no longer enough; people expect to communicate with human beings and as human beings.

Below are the top key learnings that resonated with me from David’s presentation and will help you “rev up” your social media ROI:

Number one: Listen. You need to know how to make it about “them,” not you.

Plan. Social media is only effective with it ties into your business objectives.

Engage. Talk to people the way they like to be talked to. Share information that they will find useful and give people something they want. Dave uses the analogy: how many people “liked” a business Facebook page because they love to read their press release? (No surprise, no hands!) Whether it’s a business blog, Facebook page, or Twitter feed, the reality is people engage because the like their content. Key learning: Tag it, excerpt it… infuse it with the “Google juice!” Think about how you can best optimize drive to your conversation

Analyze. Are your social media activities providing any value? Do you have what people want?

Integrate your findings into your strategic planning process.

Understand the value of your time. Analyze how much you spent compared to how much you sold.

Start with campaigns vs. understanding the ROI of your entire marketing department. That’s a realistic number that you can attain and plan for in a reasonable amount of time.

Make your campaigns trackable.

Be realistic.

Follow Dave on Twitter @DavidBThoms for more insights! You can also find his presentation on slide share.

Start Your Engines: Rev Up Your ROI

The 2011 Canadian Sponsorship Forum has officially begun! Justin Orfus kicked off the opening ceremonies with an introduction of five of the TrojanOne team members, and then encouraged the audience to introduce themselves to those around them. Next, Mark Harrison of TrojanOne took to the stage to introduce the weekend and give an overview of how to rev up your ROI. Mark covered many of the topics that other speakers will delve into over the weekend, including social media and word of mouth, the power of turning participants into promoters, and how to get more by giving more. He discussed going beyond sponsorship to make genuine connections. His presentation included a lot of examples, from Hellmann’s to Coca-Cola, from Kraft’s involvement with Hockeyville to the Purolator Tackle Hunger program. He spoke about the lessons we can all learn from Richard Branson expanding, Oprah quitting, and even Michael Jackson dying.

A clip from Charlie Sheen wrapped up the opening keynote before delegates moved out into nearby rooms for the breakout presentation. Stay tuned for more from the Canadian Sponsorship Forum!

Keep up to date with Mark Harrison on Twitter – @MarkHarrison3.