Getting the Most Out of Sponsoring Events and Individuals

Sponsoring an event – or in certain cases, an individual such as an athlete – is one of the best ways to generate goodwill for a brand and extend the reach of advertising money, provided the sponsorships are handled smartly and carefully. Depending on the size of a business and the size of its target audience, even small sponsorships can lead to a big return on investment. Here we touch on some considerations when sponsoring other organizations and individuals as well as some ways to measure the effectiveness of your sponsorship efforts.

Considerations When Sponsoring

  • Some organizations will let you reach out to their contacts. Though this should be used sparingly and only for information that you can be certain is relevant to those to whom you are reaching out, this can be a valuable side benefit of sponsoring an event. Others may allow you to reach out to their contacts through a short segment in messages they already send, which will limit the types of messages you can send but allows you to use a channel that these potential customers already trust. With a little luck and a carefully-tailored message, this might generate some valuable new leads.
  • Sponsored organizations and individuals become ambassadors for your brand. Whether it’s a computer parts manufacturer sponsoring a top video game player or a sports brand teaming up with a charity for a major event, a sponsorship gives your audience a sense of your values. While the exposure a sponsorship can get you is important, carefully think about whether you want your name attached to that individual or organization. The largest charitable organization or the athlete with the best win percentage might not be the right fit for you, if they have a history of weak utilization of funds or poor sportsmanship.
  • Those you reach through a sponsored event are more likely to be interested in your product. Unlike marketing efforts conducted through traditional channels like print advertisements or Web banners, sponsored events have a certain amount of default buy-in, provided there’s synergy between the sponsor and the event. A company selling athletic shoes which sponsors a charity sports event, for example, will likely have its messages seen primarily by people who are already likely to be interested in athletic shoes, or at least not hostile to the idea of buying a pair.
  • Consider some form of direct participation in sponsored events, where appropriate. This doesn’t necessarily mean literally running in a race for disease awareness, but it might mean setting up a water station. This type of participation will add to the credibility of your support for the event and its organizers, and can also provide another point of contact for your organization, if event participants are among your likely clients.

Ways to Check for Sponsorship Effectiveness

  • Don’t underestimate the cost breaks it offers in gaining leads. While a report from the Association of National Advertisers indicated that only 14% of organizations used lowered customer acquisition cost as a criteria for sponsorship effectiveness, 78% considered it a valuable metric. Cost breaks on acquiring new customers can give an organization the chance to redouble efforts elsewhere.
  • Provide benefits to event attendance not available anywhere else. One of the easiest ways to track the impact of a sponsored event or individual is to offer participants or viewers access to something unavailable in any other way. A promotional code or other token that you can follow up on later will make tracking the impact of your sponsorships much easier.

What do you think?

Have you built a successful relationship with a charitable organization or athlete? Has sponsoring something burned you? Tell us your stories in the comments.

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