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Testing And Tweaking Like many other companies, Bell South Corp.’s sponsorship program has been dramatically reshaped to meet new market conditions (see p. But the company also fosters change, said Marci Raible, senior director, advertising & sponsorships.

Specifically, the company constantly tests various activation elements of its program and makes tweaks to ensure that it is leveraging its deals in the most effective ways.“We’ve taken a basic principal from direct marketing, where you test against a control and keep testing against it to improve results.

We’ve done the same thing with sponsorship, where we test to find out what works and what doesn’t.” For example, Bell South tested different uses of its suites and ticket allotments at pro sports events and found that the best use of those benefits was to offer evening opportunities for business-to-business hospitality and to use daytime events for radio promotions giving tickets to consumers.

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For example, if a fan is between 18 and 34 years old and not interested in buying a house, the company sends a message with information about a career in real estate and links to its recruiting Web site.If a consumer in the same age range is considering a first-time home purchase, Century 21 sends a link to its financing site, which provides a calculator to determine how much home the consumer can afford.Award voters between 35 and 55 years old receive information on home selling, including the benefits of using a Century 21 office as the listing agent.The fully automated promotion allows Century 21 “to target a message to individuals based on their needs, and give our offices the ability to contact these individuals,” Greenleaf said.Making Employees And Customers Into Heroes With banking products becoming increasingly commoditized, creating a point of differentiation is BMO Financial Group’s greatest challenge, said chief marketing officer and senior vice president Michael Beckerman.“We differentiate ourselves by establishing a strong connection between our frontline employees and the company,” he said.

“They are our brand ambassadors and becoming part of an experiential marketing campaign is one of the best ways for them to really understand the organization they work for.They will then outsell their competitors because of that emotional engagement and attachment.”The Bank of Montreal parent company developed a program around its sponsorship of the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs that allowed the bank’s frontline employees to nominate individual customers to be the BMO Customer Hero of the Game based on their volunteer activity or some other contribution to the community.Customers selected would win tickets to a Maple Leafs game and their name and accomplishments would be shown on the arena scoreboard.Rethink Activation Rethink Breast Cancer, a four-year-old Canadian nonprofit that targets the 25-to-40-year-old demographic with fund-raising and awareness campaigns, has had great success in securing sponsors. Recognizing that activation is more than ever the key driver of sponsorship success, both sponsors and properties are stepping up their efforts to find relevant ways of engaging with target audiences.Below, some of the freshest ideas and best practices presented at : A prime objective of Century 21 Real Estate Corp.’s MLB sponsorship is to generate leads for its local brokers and agents, said John Greenleaf, senior vice president, marketing.The company’s activation around the deal not only allows it to collect those leads, but also to qualify and target them.