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My name's Joel Kelly and I live in Halifax, NS.

I'm a 20something guy doing digital and social media strategy for a Halifax-based marketing agency.

I'm a vegan nerd and marketing asshole.

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Contact me about whatever (like, say, your marketing questions) at

Monday, December 29, 2008

How to offer sponsorships and co-branding - Part 2

This will make more sense if you're read the first part of this series about offering sponsorships and co-branding on your website.

So I'm going to do my best to address the second issue: Isn't this all just a lot more work for advertisers?

@moreglen and I were having this discussion about sponsorships and whatnot, and he threw out that devil's advocate question.

I mean, instead of just doing some high-reach display ad campaign we've actually got to work. We need to find communities, we need to think up interesting ways to make ourselves valuable, we need to show ourselves interested and invested in these people.

It's exhausting just to consider!

So it's easy to come up with problems, but as I said before about advertising in a down economy, the advertisers and communicators that keep succeeding are the ones that think about these things and do their damnest to come up with cool, new ways to overcome any potential obstacle.

So, of course the first answer to that is, Yes, it's more work, too bad. But a little more work to make a product that's more effective, more interesting, and more helpful for everyone.

The second answer is, Well, isn't there a way to automate much of this?

Think about this possibility: Your marketing department or agency outlines just what type of sponsorships you're able to accommodate. The types of communities you're looking to sponsor, what you can offer, and what the prerequisites are on the part of the publisher/site owner.

Then you set up a site for publishers and site owners. They go, check the list of requirements, and see if their site fits the bill.

If so, they select what types of services/sponsorships/co-brandings would be appropriate for their site, from a list provided on the site.

They submit whatever other terms they have, and a message gets sent to the advertiser/marketer. And then someone is assigned to manage the account from there. That person is also responsible for what we'll talk about in the next post: How can you make sure you're providing an interesting, helpful service to the actual members of the community or site audience?

But all the leg work, the looking for sites, the selecting opportunities, all the more tedious stuff, is placed on the site owner, the publisher.

By doing this you've eliminated a lot of work, and you've shown yourself interested in having more relationships with communities. I mean, you've set up a whole system simply for this purpose.

Right now it's almost always the other way around: Websites put their terms for advertisers, what they require, what they'll accept. But for sponsorships and co-branding's the relationship is necessarily different.

It's closer, it's more delicate.

The site owner and the advertiser need to work together, need to make sure they're a great fit for each other. That should be up to the site owner to assess, as they should know their audience better than anyone else. If not, don't expect advertisers to come in and throw money at you. There's a large burden on you to make sure you're demonstrating a huge interest in your community, and have their best interests in mind.

So that's just one thought about this issue. Got any more? Post a comment, please.


Glenmore said...

One of the thoughts that I have on this is that it isn't actually a 'work' or 'cost' shift, it is making an effort to target a specific audience, which should be every marketers goal. Broad reach is a suckers bet in a world where we can categorize and dissect raw consumer habits in ways never before imagined. If you are in a marketing department of a large company, you should know what communities are the target of your marketing. They/we need to get in there and co-exist.
The work advertisers do managing a campaign like this pays off in two ways: avoiding the overpriced and currently dysfunctional media machine (print, TV, radio) and spending those dollars on something targeted and measurable.

Joel Kelly said...


Anything that's different from the norm, or the way it's always been done, though, is going to seem like excessive work, or some sort of risk.