If you’re in the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky area on March 14th at noon, consider registering for our next Ideas in Motion seminar on “Are Sponsorships A Viable Marketing Tool?” – and stop reading this blog immediately!
For those not able to attend in person, there are some key points you need to consider when deciding if sponsorships should be a part of your marketing strategy. Not too many years ago, only large organizations could afford to be sponsors and most sponsorships revolved around sports. In fact, in 1984, 90% of all sponsorship dollars went to sporting events.
Today, even small companies have the opportunity to participate in sponsorships. Sponsorships can range from sporting events, concerts, theater performances and museum exhibitions to smaller, more targeted sponsorships, such as:
- local sports teams
- park clean-ups
Here are some things you may want to consider when trying to determine if a sponsorship makes sense for your organization:
- Will the event reach your ideal client?
- Does the event have a high credibility factor?
- Will you have the ability to speak to the group?
- Will you have access to contact information for attendees?
- Do the sponsor benefits go beyond a sign or name in a program?
- Are your employees or co-workers will to jump in and “work” the crowd?
- Does this event fit into your marketing strategy?
- Is the event positively perceived by your target audience?
- Can the event be used for networking purposes or to entertain existing clients and important prospects?
- Is the event focused on a niche market you want exposure to?
- Are you aware that sponsorship is just an investment in an opportunity – not an immediate sale?
Sponsorships should never be a stand-alone activity, but will work best if they are a part of your integrated marketing strategy. Realize that sponsorships are a long-term investment. That doesn’t mean that you might not get lucky and land a big sale quickly, but odds are that it will be just another “touch” within your marketing strategy.
And, it’s important that you have a marketing strategy so when an opportunity arises, you will have a plan to measure it against. It will allow you to make a strategic decision on whether or not that sponsorship “fits” into your strategy. It will also keep you from being pressured into a sponsorship that really doesn’t make sense for your organization.
Trade show sponsorship is growing and there are many opportunities at trade shows for sponsoring:
- International Lounge or Press Room
- VIP Room
- Cocktail or Awards Reception
- Educational Program or Break-out Session
- Promotional Products (tote bags, napkins, lanyards)
- Shuttle Buses
- Hospitality Suite
But, even though trade show sponsorship is growing, it doesn’t mean that a particular trade show is appropriate for your organization. That’s why having a marketing strategy is so important. It will let you measure the opportunity against your strategy and make the decision that is best for your company.
If you decide that sponsorship is for you, make sure that you measure the results:
- Leads generated
- Sales closed
- Lifetime value of a new customer
- Products sold
- Products tested
- Visitors to your booth
- Requests for information
That way, after the sponsorship is over, you will be able to determine if you have generated a return on the marketing dollars that you have spent. If you’ve realized a return – great! If you haven’t, then at least you’ll know that sponsorship should not be repeated in the future.