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How To Get Sponsorship Deals That Pay - by Tim Sweeney
This topic is one that I always bring up and talk about when it is that time of the year for the first NAMM (National Association On Music Merchandisers) convention. While thousands of industry buyers walk around to the various manufacturer's booths talking about what product to buy and feature in their music stores, countless numbers of independent artists are flying around trying to get the attention of anyone who will talk with them. All desperately seeking a sponsorship deal from one of those coveted audio gear, recording equipment or instrument companies. Only later to learn that the deal they so desperately wanted doesn't provide them with money but if they are lucky, a free guitar or a discount on strings.
Now once again it is time for me to remind artists such as yourself, not to focus on equipment or music related companies but on "consumer product based companies." It should be obvious that these companies are more valuable because their "audience " per se or customer base is basically everyone. So they have more money and are worth 10 times more money than a music product company whose audience is limited to only musicians.

Whenever I talk about this subject the inevitable first question is, "why would a company like that want to work with me?" Primarily because the television, radio and print advertising they are doing in specific markets is not yielding the results they want. Your audience consists of the demographics they are going after for a specific product and you can generate something more effective than their advertising campaigns. Personal interaction and the "word of mouth."

Let me give you an example. A clothing company can sell thousands or millions of items nationwide but have poor or limited sales in your home market. Since the advertising is not working the way they want, they need to build the "word of mouth" regarding the product. Your sales are based on "word of mouth" so you have the "control" over the potential customers they want! That's what they are looking for! To use your influence to get your fans to buy their product.

More products are sold by the word of mouth than advertising. Think about the last things you bought. Was it only based upon the advertising or a friend's recommendation. Especially when it comes to movies, books and music.

Companies become interested in you based upon their "perception" of you. This what we talked about in the January workshop and article. How to use the media to build your "perception."

So where do you start?

* Research. What products do you and your audience identify with? What do you know about the products and companies that make them? Who is your audience? How would you define and describe them?

* Once you have answered those questions, start small. Research what local companies or merchants you can connect with. Focus on the areas where you play and your audience lives.

* After you have researched the local opportunities then review the potential of national companies. Start by thinking about what products people talk about that are big somewhere else but not yet in your home market.

These are just a few ideas to get you started.

So what do I send these companies?

* Identify the key person at each company that will be your main contact. Usually start with the head of marketing and let them direct you. Then once you have identified which person is the right one, send them a modified version of your Artist Profile. Never send them a press kit! Remember, you always want to best represent yourself. Why send them a press kit when it symbolizes a "non-priority" artist. Is that how you want others to see you?

In your modified Artist Profile include a cover letter that defines your music, your audience, the product you associate with and your area of influence. Your objective is to set up a meeting where you can meet to discuss your specific marketing ideas and how it will benefit them. Never define or state how much money you are looking for up front. Do that in the meeting. The reason why is because you can sell yourself short. You wanted one amount when they would have been willing to give you twice as much. So they gave you the smaller amount because that is what you wanted.

The point of this article to is to get you thinking about not limiting your potential sponsorship search down to only the music related companies everyone starts with. Think past the back of your hand. Push yourself and your music to new levels.

Right now you are probably paying for stuff that you may not have to. Don't pay for future recording, CDs or CD samplers, T-shirts, equipment or even new cars or vans until you talk with sponsors. Take the money and spend it on something else that will be beneficial to you.

If you are serious about moving forward with your career, I have 4 different books at my site that guide you to your definition of success. You can preview them and order them at

If you are serious and want my personal help getting on the right path, email me through my website,

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