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CMO Coffee Talk ‘Aha! Moment’: Sponsorships Are a Waste of Money Without Doing This

2 min

Editor’s Note: CMO Coffee Talk is an open space for more than 1,300 CMOs to come together weekly with their peers and discuss timely, crowd-sourced topics. Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing co-hosts these dynamic, illuminating conversations with 6sense CMO Latané Conant. 

Let’s say you’re evaluating options for sponsoring your industry’s big next event. The event producers give you a slick PDF with tons of sponsorship level options, full of features and benefits.   

You pick the option that feels best for your objectives and budget, write a check, and boom!  Another successful event sponsorship right? 


Consistently through the years, no matter how various forms of sponsorships have changed for B2B marketers, there’s too often a missing element that will 100% make or break your return on investment — activation. 

What does activation mean when it comes to sponsorships? It means treating your sponsorship investment as a foundation. As table stakes. As permission to play. 

It means taking advantage of that sponsorship to develop accompanying and associated programs that specifically engage a variety of your target audiences before, during and after the active sponsorship period or event. 

Examples of Sponsorships with Successful Activation 

This year, Smartsheet is a sponsor of McLaren racing. This includes posting the company’s logo on the Formula One car and the driver’s “kit,” as well as a few other awareness placements.

But if you talk with Smartsheet CMO Andrew Bennett, he lights up when talking about all the amazing activation work his team has done to leverage this sponsorship to drive accelerated market awareness, enterprise prospect pipeline velocity, customer delight, even employee morale and employment recruiting impact. 

This includes augmenting the “baseline” sponsorship with video work, VIP passes to races, a charitable component that has driven massive press placements, and much more. 

Don’t have budget for a Formula One sponsorship?  What about that next trade show you’re sponsoring? 

If you simply show up and “man” the booth like everyone else, you’ll just blend in … like everyone else.

What about hosting a VIP breakfast? Taking key clients and prospects for a special event while they’re in town? Working with your sales team to set up target account meetings in advance? Not to mention the follow-up opportunities. 

Without activation, sponsorships might very well be a huge waste of money. 

Coming Up on CMO Coffee Talk… 

In our next CMO Coffee Talk meet-up (which is just around the corner!), we’re covering the modern marketing org chart. How are the most successful CMOs leveraging their team structure to maximize revenue impact and cross-team collaboration? And how are marketing orgs adjusting for a possible downturn? You don’t want to miss this one! 

Join Our Thriving Community! 

If you’re a B2B CMO or head of marketing and want access to a community of your peers (1,300 strong and growing) as well as many specific ABM-related resources, benchmark reports, tactical examples and more, we welcome you! Click here to apply for membership. 

Matt Heinz

Matt Heinz

Prolific author and nationally recognized, award-winning blogger, Matt is President and Founder of Heinz Marketing with 15+ years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of organizations and industries. He is a dynamic speaker, memorable not only for his keen insight and humor, but his actionable and motivating takeaways.

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