We all want to believe we’re walking around with a multi-million-dollar sponsorship opportunity in our back pockets just waiting for an interested company.
And who knows? Maybe you are, but if you aren’t, it does you no good to assume you are.
It actively hurts your chances at securing sponsorship, as nothing is worse than a sponsorship seeker who doesn’t know their worth.
Well, maybe one who doesn’t know their worth and lacks audience data, but we’re talking about sponsorship opportunity value today.
Going from data to dollars doesn’t have to be difficult. This guide to sponsorship valuations for 2024 will help you understand what your sponsorship property is worth and seek higher-value sponsorship opportunities in the future.
Quick Review – What Is Sponsorship Valuation?
Let’s get underway by reviewing what sponsorship valuation is for the uninitiated and those who want to learn more about it before proceeding with their own valuations.
A sponsorship valuation is how you determine what your sponsorship property is worth.
You can’t guess what you believe it’s worth or pull a number out of thin air. You must be 100 percent sure.
You’re the only one who knows your value. You’ll share it with the sponsor, but they won’t have access to the same degree of internal data you do.
Sponsorship seekers who don’t do valuations shoot themselves in the foot with every sponsorship opportunity, as they usually undervalue themselves.
What Is Market Value and How Do I Calculate It?
The key to valuing your sponsorship property is through market value.
Allow me to explain. Market value is the base price for a service.
Let me make it clearer with an example.
You’ve held a discovery session with your sponsor, where they divulged the unfortunate news that their website engagement has tanked. They attract traffic, but the bounce rate is so high that people don’t stay on the site long enough to convert.
Well, your sponsor is in luck, because you’re an advertising guru. After learning about the full extent of the sponsor’s problems, you recommend an advertising campaign.
Great! Now, how much should you charge for your ads?
That depends on the type of ad you run, but some quick Googling will reveal a price range. That’s the market value.
You must measure the market value for every asset and activation you offer the sponsor. It’s not always as cut and dried as researching ad prices, I’m sorry to say.
Sometimes, you must dig really deep into the depths of the internet or request quotes to get an understanding of what some services will cost.
Adjusting the Value of Your Assets and Activations – Tips and Guidance
Once you’ve determined the market value, you’re not exactly finished. It would be great if you were, but that’s not how this whole sponsorship thing works.
The market value isn’t designed to give you a price to add to your sheet. It’s meant to serve as a baseline.
For example, let’s say you were selling art. You’d look up the art piece online and see what people sell it for. However, you would also evaluate yours to see if its value should be higher or lower.
Maybe it’s an earlier print or in better condition, so you push the value up.
That’s exactly how valuing your assets works.
So, let’s use another example related to sponsorship. This time, you’re selling social media posts to a sponsor. Market research revealed that an average social media post is worth $100.
You could charge $100, or maybe you decide on $200 or $400 per post. You could even cut your prices to $50.
It’s a tough choice. My best tip? Be honest with yourself.
Naturally, you will want to drive up the cost of every asset and activation because you have the freedom to set the prices. You’ll maximize the value of your sponsorship opportunity that way.
Or will you?
Determining the value of your assets is sort like selling on eBay. We’ve all seen a Cheeto shaped like SpongeBob SquarePants listed for $3,500. Just because it’s out there at that price doesn’t mean anyone will buy it.
Your sponsors have the same attitude. You could increase the costs of every activation and asset on your list well over the market value, but it doesn’t mean a sponsor has to buy it.
Let me tell you from experience – very often, they won’t. They won’t often refuse you with a flat-out no, but rather, will ghost you.
So, how do you keep the power of setting your own prices from going to your head? Simple – don’t do it alone!
Make setting your prices a collective effort between other team members or stakeholders. When you have two or three other people, you can temper the temptation of elevating every asset price.
However, I wouldn’t recommend more than three people be involved besides yourself. More than that and it’s too many cooks in the kitchen.
It’s okay to set the prices today, then come back tomorrow and reevaluate. However, don’t continue to agonize over the decision.
All you need to do to determine if you should raise or lower the price over the market value is assess the quality of your services. If they’re better than average, you can sell for more. If they aren’t or are about average, sell for the market value or less.
You might decide to sell lower across the board to attract sponsors. This can work, but it usually only benefits the sponsor, not you. Undervaluing yourself also doesn’t pan out long-term, as the sponsor will expect cheaper assets next time you work together.
Lower-cost activations and assets have their place, as you’re about to see, and it’s expected you’ll have them.
However, a sponsor who sees the potential in your audience (provided there’s a large part of your audience they want) and assets will be willing to pay market value or higher.
Knowing When to Discard Low-Value Assets
Listen, not every asset and activation you create will be worth the most. That’s okay. A few low-value assets here and there aren’t always a bad thing. They can round out your high-value activations, and are still money in your pocket at the end of the day.
However, you don’t want too many low-value assets. They dilute your offerings as a whole and don’t do much for the sponsor, either.
So, how do you decide which to cut?
Arrange your assets and activations by value, then separate the 10 lowest-value ones. Assess each individually, reviewing the information you gathered at the discovery session on the sponsor’s needs.
How well do these assets and activations fulfill a sponsor’s need, even in a small way? If you’re struggling to think of the answer, that’s your sign that you can safely cut that asset or activation, and no one will miss it.
That said, if you’re really on the fence about it, you could always contact your sponsor and ask for their thoughts and insights. Yes, you can do that! It’s allowed.
It may help you decide which assets to cut. However, remember that at the end of the day, it’s your choice what to keep and remove.
If you disagree with your sponsor’s assessment, you can defer to your own judgment.
Documenting Your Processes
You’re proud of the work you did valuing your assets, and when it finally came time to discuss pricing with your sponsorship prospect, they agreed to your cost!
That’s wonderful, and a great step on the road to the right direction in your sponsorship program.
If you haven’t already, rush back to your office and write down your entire valuation process while it’s still fresh in your mind.
If you host an annual event, program, or opportunity, you won’t think much about sponsorship valuations for a while. The next time you have to, you can scratch your head wondering what your valuation steps were.
Save yourself the stress and headache by documenting everything now. Review the entire process your business or organization used, including how you calculated your numbers.
Sponsors will ask for that kind of information and can usually tell if you’re flubbing or making something up.
The Benefits of Valuing Sponsorship Opportunities
Valuing your assets and activations is time-consuming and sometimes arduous, especially if you have hundreds of assets. After all, you must value every single one, then you’ll discard some of them after assessing their value!
For all the time and headache (sometimes) valuations can cause, they pay back dividends to your sponsorship program. Here’s how.
Gets You a Fair Price
I can’t stress enough the importance of a fair price for your assets and activations. Underselling yourself is a no-no, as mentioned, and overselling yourself will often result in radio silence.
Valuing properly ensures you get a price closer to what you need. If one sponsor can’t fulfill the extent of your company or organization’s financial needs for your event, program, or opportunity, you can expand your sponsorship roster.
Of course, the price you settle on is in flux until you and the sponsor sign the paperwork and negotiate. It’s just a starting point and not necessarily what a sponsor will pay you.
They may decide to pay you more for your services and sometimes slightly less.
Increases Your Confidence in Sponsorship Negotiations
Sponsorship negotiations are tough. You can’t be too salesy, yet you must be ready to close the deal when you’ve progressed to the point of discussing a contract.
Confidence is key, as sponsors have zero interest in working with amateurs. When you can walk into a negotiation session with all the confidence in the world, even if this is your first one, you will make a positive impact on the sponsor.
As you get more comfortable negotiating, you will have one less thing to sweat when planning sponsorship.
Helps You Reevaluate Your Assets and Activations
It’s disappointing when your activations and assets are worth less than you had thought. Rather than spend time and brain power deciding how you can increase the numbers without your sponsor noticing (spoiler alert, they always notice), take that time to review your asset quality.
If the valuation turned up a low price for your asset, it’s because that service isn’t worth that much on the marketplace, simple as that. The price can fluctuate, of course, and may even experience an upswing.
However, ask yourself why you’re clinging to low-value assets and activations when you can expand your offerings to something bigger and better?
After all, a low market value isn’t only about how little money you’ll receive from the sponsor. It’s about a marker of quality.
Services that are cheap, easy, and abundant won’t fetch as much as those that are specialist. Customize more of what you bring to the table and your activation and asset value should increase in kind.
The journey from data to dollars requires valuation. Using the market value as your litmus test is a good place to start, but you must set your price based on that value. Remember, involving other parties within your organization or company will help you choose prices more fairly.
Document your processes, as this will only help you now when sponsors have questions about your valuation methods (which is normal, so don’t be concerned) and later when you must do another valuation.
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Chris Baylis is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Sponsorship Collective.
After spending several years in the field as a sponsorship professional and consultant, Chris now spends his time working with clients to help them understand their audiences, build activations that sponsors want, apply market values to their assets and build strategies that drive sales.
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