Back in 2006, I took out a personal sponsorship of an ANZMAC track and room, and it cost me over a month’s rent, and it was definitely worth it.
Hi there. I’m Dr Stephen Dann, host of StephenDann.net (and the Web2.0h-a-riffic Stephendann.com), and (thus far) the only personal sponsor of ANZMAC tracks. Y ou may also remember me from previous ANZMACs, ELMAR arguments, and the occasional e-mail on the international social marketing mailing list (SOC-MKTG).
2006 ANZMAC Social, Not-for-Profit and Political Marketing stream
In 2006, I appeared live on all three days of ANZMAC, for a grand total of seven sessions presenting eight conference papers and speaking at the “(RE)Igniting the Fire” special session on the future of social marketing, political marketing and non profit marketing.
As part of the DANNZMAC project as it was affectionately known by several cast members of the production, I took out a room and track sponsorship double package, which gave me naming rights to the room where I had a large portion of my presentations, plus, named rights to the social marketing stream.
Why did I take out a sponsorship?
In a way, that’s not the material question in my mind – the $1000 question for me is – why aren’t other academics sponsoring track streams and rooms? As the first private sponsor of a track, I admit, my colleagues thus far haven’t put the rent money on a sponsorship.
My reasons are pretty straightforward – I believe in ANZMAC, I believe very strongly in my subdisciplinary area, and I was coming back from a relative period of academic obscurity (also known as the private sector) so I took a profile raising sponsorship. I’d backed myself at the academic level on ANZMAC 2006, and put in my conference papers and a special session into this conference. I’m a marketer, and when I looked over the conference proceedings, I realised there was a fabulous marketing opportunity to be had by sponsoring the track and room.
Not just content with the attempt at the ANZMAC conference paper record (tied at 8 conference papers) I figured it was time to push the boundaries a little with the sponsorship. What I didn’t realise was how far I was pushing, and that there were parties on the other side of the boundary line who were pushing back.
ANZMAC Sponsorships: The Deals
Track Sponsorship ($1000)
- One (1) track heading to state “Social, Not-for-Profit and Political Marketing proudly sponsored by Dr Stephen Dann”.
- Recognition as Track Sponsor for the best paper at Awards presentation at the Conference Dinner.
- Notation in ANZMAC 2006 program.
- Notation in ANZMAC 2006 proceedings.
- Notation on ANZMAC 2006 Sponsor list in satchels.
- Opportunity for representatives to attend sponsored track sessions (not including social functions) (x2).
- Company logo on website sponsorship page with hotlink to your company website
Room Sponsorship ($1000): The Deal
- Session Room to be named the Dann and Dann Roomthroughout duration of ANZMAC 2006 Conference.
- Company name will be on Session Room doors
- Notation in the ANZMAC 2006 program (Dann and Dann Room)
- Notation on ANZMAC 2006 Sponsor list in satchels. (Dann and Dann)
- Company logo on website sponsorship page with hotlink to your company website
Every marketer knows the importance of goal setting and metrics. Not all of us set goals or use metrics, but we know that they’re important, useful and we should use them more frequently. My goals for the sponsorship are promotional goals, not sales goals:
- Buzz/Word of Mouth
I want to have the sponsorship talked about during the conference, cocktail party and the awards dinner.
Metric: Buzz is a little harder to measure, so I’ll use surrogate measures of overhearing people talking about my sponsorship, and a secondary measure of reported conversations to friends/colleague
- Reputational Currency
I have a reputation. These things need maintaining, repairs, upgrades and planned overhauls alongside their natural organic growth. Purchasing the personal sponsorship adds to my reputation as an innovator in academic marketing (I appear to be the first personal sponsor), and certainly adds to my well established reputation for finding new opportunities
Metric: Any reputation statements regarding my sponsorship, either directly to me, or to third parties which are reported back to me
Metric: Being the first to pull this sort of stunt
- Mere Exposure
It may sound like a cop out, but when I have 8 conference papers, one special session and two new books, I can stand a little more reinforcement of the brand name
Metric: Number of appearances of the branded material in the conference
Metric benchmark measures are listed in the sponsorship deal
- Reinforcing Brand Exposure
The track stream sponsorship is coupled with a room sponsorship, and with an attempt to combine the two to have people hear, see and read “Dr Stephen Dann presents” in the Non Profit, Social and Political Marketing stream, and see the “Dann and Dann” door signage, plus see the incidental “Dann and Dann” and “Solomon, Dann, Dann and Russell-Bennett” at the Pearson stand, plus the “Dann and Dann” materials at the Wiley stand, plus one of the eight appearances on the program, and just being around at the drinks and dinner. It’s a big brand exposure exercise.
Metric: This is a difficult to measure, so I’ll take verbal recognition of the paired sponsorship, mention of the paired sponsorship to third parties (eg Pearson sales representatives)
- Cross Promotion
I am also using the stream sponsorship to increase the promotion for the Special Session
Metric: Ideally, the metric would be to ask attendees at the session if they were influenced to attend by the promotional materials and determine if the branded stream assisted the process through unprompted recall. That said, what I care about with the track stream is not assessing my sponsorship property. Gathering the data in the session could detract from the session performance.
Metric: Unprompted comment regarding the cross promotion
- Active contact
Metric: Being asked about the track sponsorship by at least 10 people over the three days
What went right
- Naming rights I.
I was personally thanked in the opening proceedings, and my sponsorship was highlighted as the first and only personal sponsor of a stream at ANZMAC.
- Naming rights II:
The AGM was held in the Dann and Dann room, with my logo and name on the wall. Oh yeah, that was sweet to be sitting in the room, with the Executive around, and there’s my logos on the wall. (If only I’d paid for this on a Mastercard…wait. I did. Priceless!)
- Personal Recognition:
A lot of handshakes and personal thanks from various non-executive members of ANZMAC for backing the conference. That meant a lot to me, particularly my former supervisor thanking me for supporting social marketing with the sponsorship.
- Active contact: Success
- Mere Exposure: Extremely successful
- Reputation: Successful
What went wrong I: My screw ups
This was my first major sponsorship where I ran the whole thing from start to finish. Naturally, I screwed things up a bit, and it was a learning curve for me. So, in the interests of learning from the experience, here’s the breakdown of what went wrong on my side.
- Activating the Sponsorship
I missed out on several capitalisation opportunities due to lack of resources on my behalf. For instance, I was offered a late opportunity to include pens into the conference satchel, but lacked the cash or production capacity to take up the opportunity
- Mixed goals
I couldn’t fully commit myself to a self promotion tour, and split my objectives between my own promotion, awareness raising on the Competitive Marketing Strategy book, and the Reignite the Fire session. Greater clarity of focus is the key to the next sponsorship
- Art issue
My initial logo design was a photo ready mid level resolution image of fire and flame (to emphasise the Reignite session). Due to an opportunity to be part of a promotional banner, I ended up having to redesign the logo on the fly and create a new high res (300 dpi) image that conveyed the brand message.
- Logo issue
The fire logo isn’t my traditional image. There was some brand confusion between the $ logo and the fire logo.
- Stealth Sponsorship
Due to my own personal concern regarding sponsorship and peer review conflicts of interest, I didn’t initially reveal my personal ownership of the sponsorship until relatively late in the process, and there were numerous communications problems regarding that issue.
- Cross Promotion: Limited. It didn’t work. Over reliance on the website as a promotional tool when the ANZMAC isn’t a wired event.
- Reinforced: Unsuccessful. Either the data didn’t gather, or it went wrong. I vote for “went wrong”
- Buzz: Unsure if that worked. Bad metric to use as well.
What went wrong II: ANZMAC’s screw ups
Since I’m being honest, I may as well detail what went wrong on the other side of the equation. I had a few problems interacting with the administration of ANZMAC, and part of that was inexperience, and a part was related to the fact that they’ve never had to deal with a private sponsor before now.
- The URL
Frankly, this was the most personally disappointing but ultimately least influential problem in the sponsorship – on the 2006 CD the link is wrong, the logo is wrong, and the room sponsorship was stuffed up. On the 2006 website, the links were wrong up to and including the week before the conference. I had virtually no conversion traffic from the URL sponsorship, so that’s not as big an issue as I’d believe. Still, it was annoying to have to fight to get links to my landing sites embedded properly. The desired URLs were
- http://www.stephendann.net/dann_and_dann for the room sponsorship
- http://www.stephendann.net/anzmac2006 for the track sponsorship.
- I ended up with http://www.stephendann.net/dann_and_dann for both on the site, and the CD linked to http://www.stephendann.net/anzmac
- Is it in the rules or not?
Perhaps the least surprisingly, but still highly irritating aspect was the discovery that there was any discussion regarding whether I was permitted to actually personally sponsor a conference stream. There were a couple of attempts to not let me debrand as ANU and go live as the Stephen Dann sponsorship, but those were based on the reasonable assumption that ANU had paid for the process. Once I’d clarified that it was my credit card and my rent money, that should have been the end of it. I understand that there were further problems, and to some extent, I don’t believe I was extended the same courtesy that one of the commercial bodies would have received.
I sat in the ANZMAC AGM where I heard the 2006 ANZMAC President say that he would personally speak to all of the conference sponsors about their sponsorships. This didn’t transpire with me. That was annoying. It could have been for a dozen or so reasons, but at the end of the day, it certainly made me wonder what the commercial sponsors go through, and whether I got the short end of the stick, or this is a systemic flaw.
- Fighting for my listed entitlements
My sponsorship entitled me to have people at the conference on a guest pass. It took from the Sunday registration to Wednesday morning of the conference for these tickets to be made available. Again, I think some of it had to do with who I’d put on the tickets, and I firmly feel that some of that was related to me being a private sponsor
- The Photos
Despite having sponsored the track stream, and by extension, been the sponsor of the award, I never did get my copy of the photo I had taken with the prize winning authors.
- No follow up
As it happened, I registered myself to get the 2007 sponsorship. It would have been nice to have had some form of follow up, offer of evaluation or whatever. But that’s also my industry side talking about sponsorship theory and practice.
Why I came back for the sequel
There’s a few reasons this year
- Sponsorships take at least three years to be effective
- Go long or go home was the Sparten advice. One year is a waste of money in the sponsorship business, and I don’t like wasting a month of rent on a half hearted sponsorship effort
- I still believe in ANZMAC
If anything, the 2006 experience confirmed that ANZMAC is important to me, and I can assist the organization through providing cash, and through being an active member of the academy