UCA Cheer Competition at the Kodak Theater

Wow, just got back from a huge UCA West Coast National Cheer and Dance Competition in Hollywood, California at the Kodak Theater. It was a tiring, terribly energy draining, and a great marketing time! I had the chance to interview Lauri “Looie” Harris, the Universal Cheerleaders Association West Coast Regional Manager. We’ve worked with her now for 4 years doing customized videography and action photography.

Since becoming the Marketing Director for Highlight Sports about 2 years ago, it’s been fun to see the progress we’ve made. My partner and friend, Brett Eden, has been great to work with, always keeping the clients best interest in mind.

My role has been to acquire sponsors who not only help carry the costs of DVD and photography production to dance and cheer participants, but also give themselves unbelieveable targeted traffic to their businesses. Below shows the traffic to our website, www.HighlightSports.com, in the last 7 days. The event started on Saturday, March 3 and went through Sunday, March 4th. We handed out over 2,500 flyers and business cards to remind clients to pick up their “Free DVD and Pictures, brought to you in part by Capezio Dancewear, NuSkin, and Catch the Spirit.” Capezio created a great flyer with a 10% off coupon. On the back was a Scene Interactive ad with a tracking code (I’ll be interested to see how that works!). Here’s our current traffic stats:

UCA West Coast Nationals Traffic

I’m learning so much about effective and creative advertising:

  1. There’s a huge difference between long term branding and short term ROI ad space.
  2. If you want to know if advertising is working, you have to create a way to track it’s progress (stat tracking, landing pages, 800 numbers, special email ads, etc.)
  3. The two marketing strategies are vitally important to the growth and prosperity of a business.
  4. What Highlight Sports does, not only for the cheer and dance participants, but also for advertisers, is really hard to put a price value on – it’s unbelieveable.

Anyway, there’s my two cents! If you’re interested in direct, targeted traffic to a marketing demographic of primarily 12-24 year old girls and their super involved mothers of 30-55, this type of ad space could be for you. Email me at nate@highlightsports.com.

Were the Super Bowl Ads that good this year?

What do you all think? As I watched the news tonight after the game, the top 10 Super Bowl Commercials came on; only a few of them were really funny to me, but the main question is, “How effective will they be for the companies that invested millions in advertising money to be seen during the Super Bowl?”

I liked the “Things you can do with one finger” by e-Trade. The Budweiser beer commercial were everyone was slapping one another was pretty stupid. What was the point? I liked the “beard comb over”, but was it really that effective for Sierra Mist? What kind of ROI will they get, or was their entire plan to brand themselves more effectively? The Kevin Federline idea by Nationwide was really pretty funny – it had great meaning – “life comes at you fast”, just like it did for Kevin Federline and Brittney Spears. The snickers commercial “accidental kiss” was pretty funny, but how effective was it for Snickers? Was it really worth the $1,000,000+ they probably spent to get on TV during the Super Bowl?

What did you all think? Why do these companies invest so much? What confirms their buying decision? Can they actually track the response of viewers or do they care?

Unique, Lifetime Marketing to a Specific Targeted Audience!

Businesses are taking advertising to a new level: directly targeted, lifetime marketing and a personal connection with a specific market segment. Brand is defined as “a name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of these, intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors.” (Principles of Marketing, Kotler, Armstorng, p. G1)

Perhaps the most distinctive skill of professional marketers is their ability to create, maintain, protect, and enhance brands of their products and services. Most consumers view a brand as an importnat part of a product, and branding can add value to a product. Branding has become so strong that today hardly anything goes unbranded.

Advantages of Branding to Buyers:

  • Brand names help consumers identify products that might benefit them.
  • Brands tell the buyer something about product quality.
  • Buyers who always purchase the same brand know what they’re going to get in regard to features, benefits, and quality.

Advantages of Branding to Sellers:

  • Brand name becomes the basis on which a whole story can be built about a product .
  • Brand names provide legal protection for unique product features.
  • Branding helps the sellere to segment markets. (General Mills can offer Cheerios, Wheaties, Total, Kix, Lucky Charms, etc. – not just one general product for everyone.)

Highlight Sports feels that allowing businesses to brand themselves for a lifetime on completely customized DVDs is a huge benefit to specific businesses. As you can see in the video below, clients watch customized DVDs over and over again and put a high value on preserving memories.

If this is something your business would like to be a part of or you’d like more information, email Nate at Moller Marketing today.

More about selling advertising and sponsorship…

Here are a few things I’ve recently come up with about Sponsorship and Advertising Sales. Read and enjoy…

Focus on Controllable Factors: attitude, enthusiasm, how prepared you are to answer specific questions

Open Well: Get the prospect listening, liking you, and thinking, “Tell me more.” Make sure they see the sponsorship opportunity you’re offering. You have approximately 45 seconds to accomplish this phase.

Stay Customer-Focused: First ask questions about the prospect’s objectives. Make sure the presentation relates directly to their dominant reason for buying. Listen for all buying cues, diagnose objectives, prescribe optional sponsorship solutions that have been proven to maximize return on investment. (Do a survey later.)

Stress the 3 Strongest Benefits: People buy benefits, not features. It’s not what it is, it’s what it does. What you are selling are consequences, so stick to the high points; don’t overwhelm prospects with too much detail. These same benefits can be great for a Press Release too!
Be Sincere: If you’re truly committed to engaging in transactions that benefit everyone involved (win/wins), your good intent will shine through. No one cares about how much you know until they know how much you care.

Master the Fundamentals: know your prospect and a bit of information about their business and industry. This knowledge combined with a mastery of selling skills and thorough knowledge of sponsorship packages will increasing closing rates.

I’ve found that, by implementing these things, advertisers I’ve worked with have been a lot more prone to re-invest with us at a later date. Here’s some feedback generated from a local event: Xtreme Danzz Competition and Highlight Sports Feedback

What are your thoughts?

Sponsorship and Joint Venture Sales

Since forming a partnership with Highlight Sports about a year and a half ago, I’ve learned many important things about Sponsorship and Advertising Sales. Here are a few ideas:

– Instead of talking about price, talk about “return on investment” or what they want out of the sponsorship (some may not care as much about ROI – they just want to show their support and brand their company name)
– When the question is asked about cost over the phone, set up an appointment to meet in person if possible
– Ask questions about what the company does for marketing
– Take notes
– Pick their brain about how what we are doing could benefit them, if not now, later
– Tie their needs back in to the presentation
– KISS: keep it simple stupid
– Listen for buying clues
– Don’t burn bridges: what may not work now could always work later if you leave a good impression.

Additional Notes I took on my learning curve:
– Mention competitors as options for sponsorship
– Use phrase like “We are considering your company as a potential sponsor…”
– Generally better to start a little high with numbers: you can always negotiate down, but not up
– Be willing to negotiate price and tools provided
– If they are hesitant with the pricing, ask something like: “Is there some things I could rearrange to make that package a better fit for you?”
– Show clients past work we’ve done

There are many different approaches that can be taken; these are some of the things that have worked for me. More to come….

What have you all learned?