Last Update: 20-Oct-2021
Why Your Marketing Plan Should Include Sponsorship ?
Sponsorship provides a great means of broadening your competitive edge by improving your company’s image, prestige and credibility by supporting events that your target market finds attractive. In recent years, corporate sponsorship has become the fastest growing type of marketing in the United States.
Part of this growth can be attributed to the increasing numbers of small and medium-sized businesses involved. Previously, only large businesses could afford to sponsor cause marketing, for instance, as a way of boosting profits as well as establishing goodwill. However, now smaller companies are sponsoring everything from local volleyball and softball teams to fairs, festivals and clean-ups of parks as an effective method of boosting their visibility in their community. Most of these sponsorships help these companies to enhance their public profile relatively cheaply.
Irrespective of the size of the company, however, experts in the field tout a broad spectrum of benefits that can be gained by sponsorship aside from enhancing visibility and image, such as differentiating the company from competitors, helping to develop closer and better relationships with customers, both existing and potential ones, showcasing services and products, and even getting rid of outdated inventory. These experts go on to say that when sponsorships are strategic and well-conceived, they can boost both short-term and long-term sales.
Sponsorship and Consumers
Given the propensity of consumers to associate sponsors with the event they promote, it is important for companies to select events that are appropriate with their product or corporate image. Therefore, before signing up, check out how the show is perceived. Does it have an up-scale, classy image? Does it have a clean image, or is its reputation less than what it should be? Companies should not be associated with any event or cause without first determining if the sponsorship has the potential of having any negative effects on them.
In addition, the organizers should also provide you with details like the target audience that are expected, media coverage plans, and what obligations you have as a sponsor. It is also important to find out the kind of support the organizers will provide, and exactly what your sponsorship money is buying.
Sponsorship that involves hospitality always appeals to companies. The advantages may involve exclusive networking opportunities like golf competitions or receptions of VIP’s, which can be used to meet significant customers and consolidate business associations. It is essential to appraise every opportunity and seek ways to marry them with your business and marketing goals.
9 Marketing Benefits of Sponsorship
In all its forms, sponsorships allow you to reach targeted niche markets without the expense and uncertainty associated with traditional advertising. Strategic sponsorships can help your business meet multiple marketing goals at once.
- Shape consumer attitudes. Sponsoring events that your customers care about creates positive feelings about your brand. If customers feel you care about the same things they do, they are more likely to have a positive attitude toward your company.
- Build brand awareness. Sponsorships with in-kind products are often cheaper than traditional advertising. If you choose your events carefully, it guarantees you an audience that needs your products, unlike traditional media ads, which can be seen by anyone. For example, a pet store owner who provides branded leashes for a local kennel club’s annual dog show knows their brand’s name will be seen in action repeatedly by their target customers.
- Drive sales. Driving sales goes hand-in-hand with brand awareness, and many sponsorship opportunities allow you to introduce consumers to your product in a way that encourages them to make a purchase. Food or cosmetic companies at a trade show, for example, may have samples for a customer to try at the same location where they can purchase full-size products. You may choose to link purchases to a specific event, as American Express did by making a donation every time customers used their AmEx cards during its “Charge Against Hunger” campaign.
- Increase reach. Strategic sponsorship encourages word-of-mouth marketing. Ideally, people who attend an event that you sponsor will have a positive interaction with your brand and continue to talk about your service or product. If your company’s name is on the event’s promotional materials, including emails and advertisements, you have an additional opportunity to reach more customers.
- Generate media exposure. For many small companies, media coverage is expensive and out of financial reach. If, however, you can sponsor a local occasion or industry trade show, you can capitalize on the media presence of that event. Media coverage often includes the names of sponsors, especially if your logo is tied to the name or branding of the event. This positive publicity increases the visibility of your products and services, especially if you have a media plan in place to capitalize on the exposure.
- Differentiate yourself from competitors. Sponsoring an event, especially an exclusive sponsorship, sets you apart from your competitors by tying you to something positive in consumers’ minds. This tactic is particularly helpful if your competitor has a larger ad budget than your company.
- Take on a “corporate citizen” role. Not all sponsorships have to center around industry events. Sponsoring local sports teams, charity campaigns, or public organizations like museums puts you in the role of a good neighbor or a corporation with a conscience. Customers are more likely to perceive you as contributing to their community, which creates goodwill and positive associations with your brand.
- Generate new leads. If you’re sponsoring an industry event, you have the opportunity to connect with consumers who are actively in need of your services. Capitalize on the position and respect associated with sponsorship to showcase yourself or your product. Don’t focus on sales. Be knowledgeable and helpful while providing a way for interested customers to sign up to learn more about your business. If you can, offer something for free in exchange for their contact information.
- Enhance business, consumer, and VIP relationships. Many events will offer special opportunities to sponsors, such as exclusive networking settings, VIP receptions, or outings with high-profile people in the industry. You can take advantage of these events to meet key customers and solidify business relationships, especially if you have a plan for following up once the event is done.