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The rev-heads were out soaking up the smell of burning rubber at the 2010 Qantas Grand Prix at Albert Park on the weekend.


There were celebrities – think Danni Minogue, Holly Valance, John Travolta and a host of B-grade television stars shmoozing with corporates and media.

There were sports stars – the obvious being the F1 money making kind and surfers, swimmers and athletes.

There were corporates – Qantas, FXPro, Virgin, Renault to name a few.

Then there was me – walking around, not really having a clue what was going on, who was fast and who wasn’t, which team to barrack for and which to ignore. I was more interested in finding out who was sponsoring what at the event and whether or not I thought it was a worthy investment.

Qantas. BIG TIME. Good investment. You would have to be blind Freddie to not notice that Qantas was the major sponsor.

Virgin. A LITTLE. Medium investment. Richard Branson was there and everyone knew it, so was his son Sam. There were the typical hot blonde Virgin chicks.

Others. NOT SO GOOD. There were so many logos on cars and on various platforms that no-one would have noticed and they would have paid up to a couple of million for the privilege. Some had some brand synergies with Formula One and others were plain crazy. One was an investment bank focused on environmentally friendly deals – not sure how F1 fits into this.

The thing with sponsorship is that if you are going to invest in a sponsorship deal, then its best to work out up front what you can leverage off and what you can’t.

If you sponsorship a sporting event, or anything else for that matter, you need to add quite a few dollars onto it to do things that maximise the sponsorship opportunity.

Think to yourself:
  1. What is the purpose of the sponsorship
  2. Who are you trying to target
  3. What is the brand synergy between what you are sponsoring and your own brand
  4. How can you leverage the branding synergy with your target audience
  5. Is your sponsorship on your website, stationary, signage, advertising, public relations activities
  6. Do you have something to launch – if so, is it newsworthy? Can you leverage the media already attending the event?
  7. Can you invite clients and prospects? What do they need to see and feel when they are there?
  8. What is the sponsorship KPI’s and what is your expected ROI on the investment?
  9. Who is responsible for achieving a ROI
  10. How can you work best with the organisation that you are sponsoring to ensure that it is mutually rewarding?

There are so many things to consider but quite often sponsorship deals are made over lunch or  after a few beverages. Think twice before committing to a sponsorship that may not be in your company’s best interest.

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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

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