What I Learned Reviewing 40 Hours of IEG Conference Video

By Jim Andrews Apr 29, 2015

What I Learned Reviewing 40 Hours of IEG Conference Video

I know that in today’s world event takeaways are expected to be shared during and immediately after conferences, seminars, etc. In fact, I did my share of tweeting highlights on site at last month’s IEG conference, and my colleague Diane Knoepke published a great blog post recapping the social chatter just after Sponsorship Makers concluded.

But I also wanted to take some time after the conference to do a deep dive into the content of the conference presentations and workshops. Some I had attended live, of course, but the majority I consumed by watching the recorded videos. (Which, as a reminder to attendees, are available for viewing on the dashboard.)

Now emerged from my immersion, I can safely say I learned something new from each of the sessions I attended and/or watched, but rather than sprinkling this post with nuggets—that’s what Twitter is for, after all—I thought it best to summarize three presentations that were particularly content-rich and relevant to properties and brands across many sectors.

So here we go:

Tapping Customer Data to Build Better Sponsorships
Matt Rogan, CEO, Two Circles

Exploiting data, along with developing and monetizing content, was unsurprisingly among the most discussed topics at the conference. But Matt’s discussion truly drove home the point that rightsholders’ top priority should be making data a partnership asset.

Key takeaways:

  • No matter what sector you are in, start thinking of your organization as a data-driven business and make sure others, especially prospective partners, view you the same way.
  • Here’s how data changes the game: Until now, it was enough for a property to say to a potential auto sponsor: “Our research shows that 35 percent of our audience is in the market for a new car.” Using current data analysis tools, properties can say—and sponsors expect to hear—: “We can individually identify which of our customers are in the market for a new car and we know the marketing communications that will be most effective at getting them to visit your dealership for a test drive.”
  • Data makes sponsorship about small numbers, not big ones. It changes the conversation from exposing sponsors to a large amount of people (which shouldn’t have been the idea anyway) to identifying, understanding and communicating one-on-one with a brand’s best targets.
  • The ability to use data to help sell, activate and evaluate partnerships is not dependent on an immense customer database; a few thousand contacts will do. It also doesn’t require spending a lot of money. Basic CRM data compiled in one place—even if it’s just a spreadsheet—is the minimum requirement. Layer any survey/market research on top.
  • Most important question to ask sponsor prospects: How do you segment your customers? Understand the specifics of who they are targeting and show where you reach the same group or groups.
  • Biggest challenge: Getting data into one place. Many organizations have plenty of data, but it is siloed in different departments—not connected and accessible.

All In: Winning the Race for Consumer Attention and Engagement
Thomas van Schaik, Global Brand Director, Adidas
In discussing his company’s winning digital content strategy around the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Thomas shared the eight key considerations that should be part of developing compelling, sharable and relevant content:

  • Proposition. What is going to break through the content clutter? Don’t just create content to earn clicks or exposure. Ensure your content is telling the brand story and adding to brand value.
  • Tone of Voice. Make sure it is consistent with your brand personality.
  • Content Pillars. Choose focus areas. You can’t do everything, nor be everything to everybody or you will end up nowhere and meaning nothing.
  • Scenario Planning. Factor in possible outcomes, e.g., what you will say if either of the two teams competing at a sports event wins. For the World Cup, Adidas prepared 1,000 images and 300 videos in advance.
  • Content Calendar. Ensure a consistent flow of content.
  • Hashtag Hierarchy. Ensure you are joining the right conversations and make sure yours are searchable and don’t get lost.
  • Formats. Determine your channels, e.g., YouTube, Instagram, etc., and content types, e.g., length of videos, size of images, in advance.
  • Live Response. For those that want to do real-time marketing, the key is understanding that spontaneity requires a lot of preparation. Reactive posts such as Oreo’s tweet after the lights went out at the 2014 Super Bowl comprise about five percent of social content posted by real-time newsrooms. The other 95 percent is pre-planned.

How Sponsorship Storytelling and Content Achieve Multiple Objectives
Dan Griffis, Vice President of Experiential Marketing and Alliances, Target

Dan delivered a comprehensive look at Target’s sponsorship strategy and approach, which contains many best practices that other brands would be wise to follow. Here are some of the highlights:

Why Target Sponsors. 1) Connect with communities; 2) Become part of the conversation and extend cultural leadership; 3) Deepen relationships with strategic vendors, e.g., if Kraft, Unilever, Coke, Pepsi or Procter & Gamble seeks a retail partner for their brand or corporate sponsorships.

Target’s Sponsorship Objectives. 1) Drive traffic to stores, and mobile app; 2) Deepen engagement with the brand; 3) Build brand love.

Four Priority Categories. Target is doubling down in four areas to differentiate its offering from competitors. Properties must align with one or more: 1) Style (Home, Apparel, Designer, Beauty); 2) Wellness; 3) Kids; 4) Baby.

What Target Measures. 1) Affinity—through Net Promoter Scores, content generated, social sentiment and other metrics; 2) Engagement—through time spent with brand at events, mobile/digital usage, recall, samples distributed, etc.; 3) Sales—through coupon and gift card redemption, direct sales, intent-to-purchase scores and other indicators.

Sponsorship Spending Formula. Target does not deviate from its rule of spending 35 cents of every sponsorship dollar on the property fee, 55 cents on activation and 10 cents on measurement.


Digital Marketing IEG 2015 IEG conference social media sponsorship strategy trends activation


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Jim Andrews

About the Author

A 30-year sponsorship industry veteran, Jim is responsible for developing and sharing thought-leadership content based on ESP Properties’ groundbreaking work in the areas of sponsorship strategy, valuation, measurement, digital content, data-driven marketing and fan engagement.

In addition to identifying key trends and delivering his unique insights into the critical issues facing rightsholders and their commercial partners, Jim is the chairman of the Annual Sponsorship Conference, responsible for the program and speakers, as well as hosting and delivering the event’s opening address. He also is responsible for the company’s annual report and forecast of overall sponsorship spending, as well as its compilation of biggest spending companies and annual industry surveys.

A frequent media commentator and guest, Jim has been a featured speaker at hundreds of sports, entertainment and marketing conferences around the world.



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