As a business, it is all about the steps you can take to improve your brand awareness and overall image.
If people don’t know you exist, you simply cannot expect your brand to grow.
This is where all forms of digital marketing come into play, such as sponsorship marketing.
It allows you to increase your reputation by working side-by-side with other successful and prominent brands.
If you’re looking to grow quickly while reaching your targeted audience, then sponsorship marketing may be the way to go.
Keep reading and we’ll share insight into what it is, the benefits of this form of marketing, and how to get started with your own sponsorship marketing plan.
What is Sponsorship Marketing?
Many people do not realize that sponsorship is a specific type of marketing. It can be used by numerous businesses to get a leg up on the competition in the marketplace.
As a general rule, sponsorship marketing occurs when two brands decide to work together professionally.
Basically, one brand will sponsor the other brand in some form, such as resources, funding, or services.
Some examples of sponsorship marketing include:
- Charity events
- Sporting events
The sponsoring brand will offer their support, and in return, the non-sponsoring brand will achieve a boost in their brand awareness, reputation, and the like.
It is important to understand that sponsorship marketing is not directly promoting your brand, products, etc. This means it is not a form of advertising.
Instead, the sponsoring company is paying to support a pre-determined event that will interest your customers.
As a result, your brand will be associated with said event through event attendees, customers, and the media.
Types of Sponsorship Marketing
Ultimately, there are two primary forms of sponsorship: financial and in-kind. Each has its own benefits.
A financial sponsorship is commonly referred to as a cash sponsor. This is definitely the most popular and common type of sponsorship.
The sponsor gives money to the beneficiary in return for promotion (or other services).
There are different levels of financial sponsorship, which include:
This is the highest level of sponsorship and will include the name and logo of the sponsor in the title of the event series, not to mention other benefits like access to team information to use to their advantage, stadium branding, and more.
This is very much like the series sponsor except it is for a single event.
This type of sponsor has the right to promote their unique association as a sponsor and will often benefit from press coverage.
This is a sponsor that funds individual teams. They typically receive a mention throughout the media coverage and have their logo on the team uniforms.
This type of sponsor tends to take a certain percentage of the raised funds from the event. An example of this is “an official insurance partner of the Chicago Cubs”.
These are sponsors that don’t have as many benefits as the sponsors mentioned above. Generally, the fee isn’t larger than 10% of the raised funds.
An in-kind sponsorship is a unique type of sponsorship in which the sponsor will agree to offer products or services in the place of cash.
Here is a look at the varying levels of in-kind sponsorship.
This type of sponsor will host events at their own venue for a discounted rate or free of charge.
This sponsor will donate certain items from their company to the event, including items for an auction, prizes for activities, and more.
This type of sponsor will offer free food to the event attendees.
This sponsor may offer live streaming of the event or a custom event app.
This type of sponsor will offer a variety of marketing for the event.
This sponsor offers products or services to a team or event, such as equipment, supplements, skills, etc.
Benefits of Sponsorship Marketing
Sponsorship works in a special way that offers benefits to both the sponsor and the beneficiary.
This type of marketing is quickly replacing traditional forms of funding and advertising. But what are the benefits?
Here is a look at a few of them.
1. Increased Brand Visibility
With a sponsorship, your brand is placed directly in front of vast audiences who may not be familiar with your business.
Basically, the larger the event, the more social media mentions and press you will get before, throughout, and following the day of the event.
In the case of many sponsorships, you will have access to featured advertisements, radio spots, and/or signs that will increase brand recognition ahead of the event.
If you plan to offer promotional items or giveaways, then many people at the event will be carrying around your swag, displaying and advertising your brand for you.
When selecting events to align with, make sure that you have done your research and the event has a good track record of attracting both quality customers and the press.
2. Efficient Lead Generation
The great thing about sponsorship marketing is that these events will bring the right customers to you while also allowing you the chance to show your brand’s human side.
Emotional connections are necessary to build sufficient brand loyalty.
By attending an in-person event, you will promote your products, learn about your customers, and create a mailing list of qualified leads.
3. Improved Consumer Perception
If your storefront doesn’t look great and isn’t filled with customers, others aren’t likely to be interested in checking your store out and spending any amount of time there.
For eCommerce sites, when there are no business details, solid branding, or security certificates, online shoppers are turned off.
Public perception is essential in growing your business and ensuring you have a business to even grow. It is literally a make-or-break aspect of running a business.
Positive opinions of your business are formed by customers when you are connected to a high-profile event.
Consumers will automatically assume that your company is reliable, trustworthy, and reputable if you are in sponsorship with other businesses.
No matter how much research and effort you put into reaching consumers today, traditional marketing and advertising don’t go as far as they once did.
Each minute that goes by, conventional tactics aren’t as effective thanks to improvements in technology like ad-blocking software.
Consumers not only want to be engaged by brands, but they also want to feel truly connected to them.
This is one of the many reasons why event sponsorship can be so effective at generating new leads and driving sales.
The better the connection is with consumers, the more likely it is that they will make an initial purchase and become loyal.
4. Enhanced Content Marketing
Sponsorships offer an opportunity for fresh material that can help expand your current content marketing campaign.
After all, there will be pre-event promotions, follow-up blogs, and more regarding the event itself.
Further, when an event attendee tags a photo from the event or posts a comment on a photo related to the event, you are instantly exposed to their entire network of friends and colleagues.
So, with that being said, it is imperative you take advantage of each and every content-related opportunity that comes your way in relation to the sponsorship.
For instance, post videos of presentations, blog about keynote speakers, post photos from the event, share presentation decks, and more.
Don’t forget to also engage with attendees when they make posts, especially if they mention your brand.
5. High Return on Investment
Regardless of whether your intention is to sell your products or services at the event, you can begin to form quality relationships with consumers.
Ultimately, your goal is to leave the event with a list of qualified leads that you can follow up with afterward.
So, as long as you are getting those leads, you don’t need to have skyrocketing sales at the event.
These leads will lead to long-term growth, providing you with a high return on investment.
How to Add Sponsorship to Your Marketing Plan
As you’ve learned, sponsorship marketing has the potential to help your company improve its public image, increase its credibility, and build a reputation you can be proud of.
Of course, when adding this type of marketing to your plan, it must be used tactically.
So, as you begin your research into events and what it is that your customers are passionate about, here are a few questions to bring up.
- Have you worked with other sponsors previously?
- If not, is this something that you are open to?
- What type of financial support is expected from sponsors?
- What is the level of exposure that can be reasonably expected based on the level of sponsorship?
Sponsorship is an incredible marketing tactic that involves a solid business relationship between two individual parties: the sponsor and the beneficiary.
The more you embrace your role, the more benefits you will reap from your efforts.
More often than not, you will find that many sponsorship marketing opportunities will provide you with a higher return on investment than traditional advertising methods.
With the right event, this form of marketing can improve your brand image, increase brand awareness, and offer you a competitive edge.
Looking to build your brand identity? Get started with this Brand Guidelines Bundle!