Here’s How We Got Brands To Pay Us To Give Away Their Products – Sponsorship Lessons
Yes, you read that correctly. I’m going to show you how we get brands to pay us for GIVING AWAY their products.
Whether you’re a charity, sports club, event organizer, online gamer, Youtuber or influencer then chances are you’re interested in how to get sponsorship.
Most of us would simply be happy to receive free goods which enhance our offering, such as free products to give away or help us to lower our overall expenses.
But, when you understand how various brands work and what their objectives are, then you’re able to have better conversations which lead to better outcomes.
When I was working on a large scale Half Marathon event, I managed to do exactly what the title suggests. I got Coca-Cola to not only provide us with 19,000 free bottles of sports drink to give away to participants and volunteers at our event, but, they also paid us to do it.
If we were to purchase those same drinks ourselves and give them away at the finish line, it would have cost us roughly $40,000 (assuming we could get them at a discounted rate).
$40,000 worth of free product while also getting paid to give it away, I thought that was pretty good going at the time.
But how did I do it?
1. Build Relationships
The first step we took was to start connecting with Brand Managers, Sales Managers, Marketing Agencies and Marketing Managers for the products, services and items we knew we wanted or needed. A great way to reach out and connect with these people is via LinkedIn.
At first it’s just about getting to know more about their business and building a relationship. Your goal is two-fold: Develop the relationship and understand the key drivers behind what helps them make sales.
2. Gather Insights into How Brand’s Sell Their Products
I learnt that one of the biggest barriers for Fast Moving-Consumer Goods (FMCG) when they launch a new product range is to actually get people to sample/try it.
Once you understand the key drivers which helps a brand to make sales e.g. sampling a product, test driving a car, getting a discount, trial subscriptions etc, then you can begin to figure out how you can help solve that problem for them while using you as the enabler.
I learnt that the odds of someone purchasing their new drink again after they’ve sampled it once, is far greater than if they’d never sampled it before.
I also learnt that companies often assign decent sized marketing budgets to these product launches. They will often pay a lot of money to marketing agencies who create expensive campaigns, activations and send promo people out in the public to give away the new product.
3. Solve Their Problems
Once I was equipped with knowledge around how they drove sales of new product launches through sampling, and how they would assign a large budget, hire a marketing agency and have the agency manage all of the sampling then I knew how to compete.
All we’d have to do is provide the exact same outcomes the agency would provide, but in an easier and cheaper way. Sounds like a no-brainer!
As a running event, we had 15,000 participants, hundreds of volunteers and we knew we could get their new sports drink into the hands of their ideal customer (dehydrated athletes).
The same concept can be applied across many industries for various products and services. Maybe you can get vouchers into the hands of thousands of people for redemption, maybe you can get hundreds of people to test drive a car, maybe you can get people signed up to a free trial, or maybe you can get people to book a call with someone for some advice.
4. Make it impossible to say no
I estimated for a marketing agency to come up with a campaign to giveaway/sample that many drinks would have cost Coca-cola upwards of $40,000 or more.
That marketing agency would of had to hire promotional staff and it would take them weeks to be able to sample 19,000 units of sports drinks.
This means the drinks company would have to spend more money on storage and logistics to move the drinks to them when required.
Not only that, they’d likely approach events like ours and ask if they could give away drinks at our event.
So I pitched to the brand manager at Coca-Cola for this particular new sports drink what we could offer:
a) We could put 19,000 units of their sports drink into the hands of their ideal customer who are in need of their product
b) We could provide all of the staff required to hand it out, and we could promote it within all of our marketing
c) We would only take one weekend to achieve it, all they’d have to do is drop the product off to us (which they’d have to do to the marketing agency too)
d) We would also be a cheaper option for them, so long as we quoted them less than $40,000
The result was us getting 19,000 drinks for free and being paid a sizable amount to take them off Coca-Cola’s hands and put them in the hands of our participants.
Coca-Cola saved money and had to complete a heck of a lot less work than dealing with their marketing agency like they normally would.
Our participants loved it since they get more value for the money they paid to enter the event and are more likely to compete again.
Talk about win-win-win.
5. More Examples
The principle which I’ve outlined in this article/blog works across many industries, the key is to figure out what those industries see value in. Once you understand that and you can offer solutions which allow their ideal audience to use or engage with their products/brands, then you’re on to a winner.
Here are some more examples to help you out:
Gym Memberships – Getting people through the door of the gym is one of the hardest parts, if you can get people to try the gym, then chances of them becoming a paid member increase.
Food brands – Getting people to sample their products.
Software – Allowing people to trial a new software allows people to get over the biggest hurdle. It also significantly increases someone’s willingness to move into a paid version.
Automobiles – Getting people behind the drivers seat and getting them to test drive a vehicle is a big driver behind selling vehicles.
Skincare – Similar to food and drinks
Health Supplements – Same again
Experiences – Getting people to come in and try something can often be a great introduction to buying or trying something more expensive
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