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More than likely you’ve come across your favorite YouTuber dropping their favorite line, “this episode is sponsored by [Insert brand name here].” And while that tag might be an annoying sidetrack to the content you came for, there is something bigger at play with that message than what you see and hear on the surface, especially to the marketers who set up that sponsorship. 

“The feel of your brand coming out of the mouth of somebody who has a respected audience is valuable. It’s better than just appearing on a no-name editorial or piece of content. It’s better if it touches them more. So that’s the foundation. That’s the underlying principle of why that potential reward is dramatically outsized. … when you have a hit, you hit big.”

Those are the words of Daniel Conn, the CRO and Co-Founder of ThoughtLeaders. Daniel joined this episode of Marketing Trends to discuss why marketers are suddenly starting to look at sponsorship opportunities as a separate and valuable channel, and he breaks down why the right-partnership, paired with the proper voice, can have endless opportunities for your brand.

Main Takeaways:

  • A Whole New Channel: Marketers and strategic planners are now beginning to look at sponsorships as a legitimate channel that is an important part of their media mix. No longer are sponsorships viewed as single tags at the end of a bowl game. Instead, they are fully-integrated partnerships paired with strategic partners who connect with a target audience better than other kinds of advertising.
  • Authenticity Matters: Any brand and content creator can partner with each other. But when you are partnering with podcast hosts and YouTubers that already have built-in audiences, make sure their message and audience are authentic and connected to your brand. The power of influencers speaking for your brand on a daily basis is that they capitalize on the opportunity to connect with users in a way traditional advertising does not.
  • It Sounds Simple, But It’s Not: Success rate is the metric brands have to rely on when measuring the value of a sponsorship. It seems obvious, but it’s true that you cannot put too high a value on the success rate, and what it means in terms of ROI.
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Key Quotes:

“If you are in marketing meetings, if you’re in strategic planning sessions, sponsorship is now a topic that’s on the table. People looking at [sponsorships] as a legitimate channel that is an important part of their media mix.”

“The feel of your brand coming out of the mouth of somebody who has a respected audience is valuable. It’s better than just appearing on a no-name editorial or piece of content. It’s better if it touches them more. So that’s the foundation. That’s the underlying principle of why that potential reward is dramatically outsized. A lot of people recognize when they go into it, but what they soon realize as they start doing a lot of sponsorship marketing campaigns is when you have a hit, you hit big.”

“The most important thing that brands should be looking at when investing in sponsorships is success rates. Now it might sound obvious that this is something that you should look at, but actually very few people have this as a KPI, and yet it’s absolutely crucial.”

“With sponsorship, what you’re doing is you’re outsourcing the production of this content. So if you have somebody who can talk 90% of the way adequately about your products, compared to what you would, and then you’ve taken the burden of production [off your plate], guess what? They’ve got a ready-made audience already.”

“Content creators are focusing on quality and with quality comes authenticity. And with sponsorship, the ad revenue incentivizes quantity. You’re going to get better results with people that produce quality content. So the whole ecosystem around marketing, and around sponsorship, is geared around that word. Quality is geared around authenticity, which is why it’s so hard for a brand to replicate that magic.”

“The two ways you can make decisions are through first-party data or third-party data. [Great sponsors] have first-party data. If you are talking about somebody like Audible or Skillshare, they are doing thousands of pieces of content over many years. So, they know what they want to pay, they know what content areas work for them. They have well-established relationships that go back to time and they’re always trying new things, but the body of the program is bankable.”

Bio:

Daniel Conn is the CRO and Co-Founder at ThoughtLeaders,. a  company that helps turn brands in publishers. Prior to helping co-found ThoughtLeaders, Daniel was the Director of Business Development at Hacking UI. His role with Hacking UI was to match the audience that Hacking UI had with high-end sponsors that have quality offerings for his audience.

Marketing Trends podcast is brought to you by Salesforce. Discover marketing built on the world’s number one CRM: Salesforce. Put your customer at the center of every interaction. Automate engagement with each customer. And build your marketing strategy around the entire customer journey. Salesforce. We bring marketing and engagement together. Learn more at salesforce.com/marketing.

To read an unedited, automatically-generated transcript of this interview, click here.  

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