AT&T Streamlines Handling Of Sponsorship Proposals

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AT&T Wireless is using Sponsorwise to improve its management of sponsorship proposals it receives from event companies, newspapers and other media owners.


The Redmond, WA, telecom company joins U.S. Bank, Hyundai Motors and Ace Hardware in seeking to streamline the proposal review and selection process as well as reduce the number of interruptions its staff receives.


"Some of these companies used to get more than 20 calls or e-mails a day regarding sponsorship," said Burt Cummings, vice president of marketing at Sponsorwise, Fremont, CA. "The first obvious result is how much time they're saving, which means they can focus their attention on real opportunities and more strategic issues."


With Sponsorwise, inquiries are directed to its system and the proposals organized according to AT&T Wireless' marketing units. This makes sense for a company with myriad marketing efforts targeted at youth, mobile professionals and so on.


"This method also helps properties because they can figure out who they want to submit a proposal to," Cummings said. "This is more efficient to both parties."


The working is simple. The first part is the placement on attwireless.com of information explaining to sponsorship seekers what AT&T Wireless is looking for.


Next, AT&T Wireless' sponsorship managers who receive the most telephone inquiries left a message on their voicemail directing callers to the About Us section on attwireless.com for information and instructions. Proposals no longer are accepted by mail or telephone.


Sponsorwise works with its clients to set up a system with parameters for the kinds of sponsorship opportunities the client is looking for. Geography and demographics could be part of that. Also, companies can choose to see all sponsorship submissions or have a subset of them based on this information.


Once a property decides to submit a proposal, it enters the Sponsorwise system on the sponsorship area of the About Us section to offer the information needed to get the proposal considered. It also can attach a document that describes the opportunity in its own words.


AT&T Wireless also offers a link that directs properties to www.sponsorwise.com so that they can register into the system.


A proposal submission to one Sponsorwise client is free, but companies can publish proposals to all Sponsorwise clients for a $30 annual fee.


The system then checks the presentation against the criteria a company like AT&T Wireless seeks and presents it in a standard format. This allows for a quick review and comparison.


Finally, AT&T Wireless follows up with those opportunities that interest it by contacting the properties. Companies also can set the system to send an automated notification to properties to let them know in two weeks their proposals have been declined.


A corporate account begins at $10,000 to a Sponsorwise customer, scaling up based on the number of users and submission points.


AT&T Wireless is willing to foot the bill, finding the old sponsorship appraisal process manually tedious and time-consuming.


"Previously, proposals came in through many venues all over the company," Cummings said. "Then, proposals were forwarded to one central group who reviewed them and then distributed them back to the different marketing departments. This took a lot of time because it wasn't clear who was going to get it."


In other news, the company's first-quarter total revenue rose 9.3 percent to $3.95 billion from the year-ago period. Despite competing rate plans, average revenue per AT&T Wireless user was $58.70 for the first quarter, nearly even with the year-ago quarter, and minutes of use per subscriber was up 18.1 percent to 508. The churn rate was reduced to 2.3 percent.


By quarter's end, an additional 283,000 customers took AT&T Wireless' total user base to 21.14 million, up 8.2 percent over the year-ago quarter.


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