When does sponsorship make sense?

Sooner or later, you’re likely to be asked if your business wants to sponsor something – so how do you know it’s the right choice? 

Raising brand awareness and maybe even increasing sales are legitimate reasons for saying ‘yes’ to a sponsorship opportunity. The trick lies in choosing the right event or publication, or the right cause. Here are some of the questions you should ask first.

Number one is what’s in it for you? Whether it’s branding or sales, you need to be clear right from the start, so you know if you’ve met your goals. After that, the second question is, does the sponsorship fit with your marketing strategy? That means looking at the potential audience (compared against your market) and your brand values. As an example, if your business is heavily involved in your surrounding communities, a local festival might be a good choice.

If you’re happy with answers to the first two questions, it’s time to take care of a few other questions:

  • How many sponsors are taking part? Are you the only representative from your segment? Are there bigger sponsors who will drown you out?
  • How will you be showcased? A logo on its own has no lasting impact beyond some possible brand awareness. For real longevity, try to find a way to tell your company’s story, via something happening at the event.
  • Do you get free passes, a marketing list, VIP tickets? All of these can be useful on the day for networking and hosting things such as competitions for visitors.

You also need to be clear about how you measure success, not least because you may want to repeat the exercise next year, if it’s an annual event or commitment.

Finally, it’s critical to be sure that your sponsorship fits your budget – and that means looking beyond the sponsorship itself, because there will be many additional costs. A good working rule is that you’ll end up spending, in total, roughly twice the initial sponsorship bill. The extra is needed for follow-up activities that make the whole exercise worthwhile. That includes ads, PR, printed material and giveaways.

If you have any questions about assessing or realising the value of sponsorship opportunities, or need assistance with any other aspect of marketing, please don’t hesitate to contact the author.

About the Author
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Anna Nixon-Smith
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