The Human Approach to Sponsorship Sales

We’ve all heard the phrase, “people buy from those they know, like and trust.”

With the increase in AI-driven content recommendations and targeted advertising, this statement is more relevant now than ever.

Though the boom in algorithms allows companies like Netflix, Spotify and Amazon to serve up products and content tailored to users’ preferences, they’re far from perfect. Sometimes, they miss the mark.

When a company’s algorithm gets it wrong, it makes for a poor user experience. Nobody wins.

For example, after experiencing wrist pain from my laptop keyboard, I decided to purchase an elevated stand to raise my computer to eye level and use a separate keyboard. Amazon has since recommended DJing equipment to me because this laptop stand is categorized as such.

To be clear, I have no musical talent whatsoever and have no need for a fog machine, strobe lights, and a thousand-dollar mixer board.

Amazon’s algorithm missed the point.

A computer doesn’t have the same ability as humans to ask thoughtful questions, discover a potential buyer’s pain point and offer an appropriate solution. It can come close, at best, but at the end of the day, it can’t know your why.

In a recent article on the Jacobs Media Strategies blog, Fred Jacobs asserts that radio station personalities have the capacity to influence listeners, making them the best kind of algorithm. By establishing themselves as credible sources of information, they become a voice that listeners know, like and trust.

The human approach benefits both stations and sponsors.

Sponsorship messages on local NPR® stations are like personal recommendations from a trusted friend, and can serve as the human link between a person’s pain point and the product or service they need.

Because of this intimate connection, 77% of listeners have taken some sort of action as a direct result of hearing sponsorship messages on public radio.¹

The next time you approach a potential sponsor, take a human approach. Ask thoughtful questions about their marketing goals, who their ideal customer is, and what they have done in the past. Most importantly, know their why.

That way, when you offer a solution, you won’t assume that because they purchased a laptop stand in the past, they need a fog machine.

Source: Lightspeed Research, NPR State of Sponsorship Survey, March 2019
Photo by JR Korpa on Unsplash

— Dareni Wellman, Creative Services Coordinator

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