As a business, seeking out new opportunities to get your brand noticed by a wider audience is ongoing.
From creating great content to generating leads to boosting up your digital marketing strategy, there’s a lot you can do depending on your available time and resources.
One opportunity you may be overlooking, however, is sponsorship.
Sponsorship opportunities abound for businesses of any size, small, medium, or large, today.
While often an underutilized and underestimated marketing strategy, these sponsorships can help increase your brand’s reach, boost your reputation, and place you ahead of your competitors.
From a global corporation sponsoring the Olympics to the corner shop sponsoring a local community festival, the opportunities are out there.
Don’t underestimate the benefits of adding sponsorship to your marketing strategy. This guide will help show you why and how to get started.
What is Sponsorship?
Sponsorship is a specific marketing strategy where one entity aligns with another in some defined capacity.
This capacity may be in the sponsoring of an event, sports game, trade show, conference, or any other event.
Essentially, it is a promotion of something led by another for mutually beneficial reasons.
As the sponsor, you provide funding, services, or resources.
In return, you gain brand awareness and more.
Sponsorships can be developed between you and another company, group, or individual.
What are the 4 Types of Sponsorship?
There are four types of sponsorship to choose from, and all are effective in boosting your marketing strategy.
1. Financial Sponsorship
As a sponsor, you can donate financial support to an organization or specific event and receive recognition for doing so.
There are a variety of ways to go about this, including direct payment for venues, providing matching donations, covering wi-fi for an event, or even paying for catering.
Essentially, you are giving money in return for recognition and promotion of your brand.
2. In-kind Sponsorship
Instead of financial support, the sponsor donates services or products free of cost.
This donation can be anything from the use of its own speakers for a music event, food for a festival, or the printing of posters and banners.
More examples of this type of sponsorship include prize sponsors and venue partners.
3. Media Sponsorship
A media sponsorship involves the promotion of another’s activity.
This promotion can occur as posts on social media accounts, publishing of blog posts, and sharing information via broadcasting.
A local tv network may cover the event, providing it with beneficial media coverage.
4. Promotional Partners
Similar to a media sponsorship, promotional partners generally include individuals, like social media influencers and bloggers, who promote an activity or event across various communication platforms.
In turn, these individuals may receive a speaking slot at the upcoming conference or, they may benefit in some other way.
Examples of Sponsorship Marketing
Sponsoring an event adds value to it and also gains recognition.
Such sponsoring may include giving financial support, providing the event with needed audiovisual services, or providing food and drinks for participants.
Sponsorship opportunities include:
- Trade shows
- Charity walks or other fundraising events
- Performing arts
- Community events, such as a local food festival
- Virtual events
To increase exposure, for example, you can sponsor a trade show and also give away pens, mugs, or other items with your logo to participants.
Your brand’s name may also be included in the naming of the event.
Sponsoring a sporting event, team, venue, or individual player is another way to market your business or brand.
Sports sponsorship is a popular option, and one many are already aware of and participating in today.
While larger brands may sponsor stadiums or one particular athlete, a small business can get in on this also by sponsoring a local team and supplying them with jerseys that include its logo.
3. TV, Radio, Podcasts, YouTube Channels
Another way businesses and brands can get their name out there and attract a wider audience is through tv, radio, podcast, or video sponsorships.
For example, sponsoring a popular YouTube channel or podcast can introduce you to a different demographic that may need what you have to offer.
Sponsoring a new documentary and even providing an opening clip about why you are involved in the project can bring you recognition and respect.
Is Sponsorship a Type of Marketing or Advertising?
Advertising involves taking certain steps internally to directly promote your business, brand, product, or service.
Sponsorship is not advertising, although it may outwardly appear that way.
Instead, it is a marketing technique.
The goal of sponsorship is to facilitate a campaign wherein you market your business in a unique way. It involves the leveraging of a partnership to both parties’ advantage.
While it doesn’t promote your products or services directly, it does associate you or your business with something that your customers and potential customers relate to or care about or can showcase your brand in a new way.
How do Sponsorships Benefit Your Marketing Strategy?
With sponsorships, you gain numerous benefits, including the following.
Boost brand awareness
Sponsorships offer the chance to expand your reach and get your name out in front of more people.
Whenever participants interact or visit the event you sponsor, your brand or logo will be seen and, in turn, boost brand awareness.
You can also improve your brand awareness by providing high-quality and relevant content to your audience. Sign up for WriterAccess free trial and get in touch with professional content marketers that can help you with that!
By choosing wisely and aligning your brand with something your target audience or buyer persona cares about, you can improve your reputation.
You’ll gain the trust of customers, and they will have a more positive impression of you.
Connect More with Your Customers
Sponsorships allow you more ways to directly connect with your customers. You can hand out pens or mugs with your logo to participants at a trade show, run a contest, or find other ways to engage.
Gain more Backlinks and Social Media Mentions
Sponsorships provide opportunities for gaining backlinks to your website and also social media mentions, which can benefit your marketing strategy.
Stand Out from Competitors
You can stand out from competitors with sponsorships, swaying more consumers your way when needing what you have to offer.
The boost in brand awareness, reputation, and public image from a sponsorship can lead to an increase in sales.
Sponsorships often provide you with a unique way to introduce your product or service indirectly to consumers and this, in turn, can encourage them to make a purchase.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list of benefits, you should start to see the picture of what sponsorship can do for you.
What is a Sponsorship Strategy?
As with any marketing initiative, your foray into sponsorship requires a strategy.
Here are the common steps to take.
1. Determine Goals Associated with Sponsorship
Start by identifying what goals you wish to reach by incorporating a sponsorship into your marketing strategy.
For example, you may want to improve your reach in the local community.
2. Get to Know Your Target Audience
Take the time to research and get to know your target audience, including their interests, concerns, pain points, activities, and passions.
Knowing these characteristics will help you seek out the best sponsorship opportunities to reach that audience.
3. Allocate a Budget
Determine what type of budget you can steer toward a sponsorship. These sponsorships may be tax-deductible, but if not, be sure you can afford them.
4. Search for Sponsorship Opportunities
Seek out sponsorship opportunities that will be of interest to your target audience and also fit within your allocated budget. Look for local events, charitable events, sports opportunities, and industry events.
5. Develop a Proposal
With your ideal sponsorship choice in hand, you next need to develop a proposal to present to the other party. You’ll need to include your company description, mission statement, and values.
Next, explain what your contribution will be, whether financial or in-kind. You can also make suggestions or be open to a discussion relating to brand exposure.
6. Put Sponsorship in Place
Add the sponsorship into your marketing plan and execute it. Go ahead and sponsor that event, sports team, podcast, or local festival. Determine the time and effort your team will need to provide support for it.
7. Evaluate Sponsorship Results
Once the sponsorship is complete, evaluate the results.
Did you generate more leads, increase your social media following, or grow your sales as a result? What you learn here can help you better your efforts going forward.
How do Sponsorships Help Brands?
While there are numerous marketing benefits to going with the sponsorship approach, there are also specific ways it directly helps brands.
Sponsorships can serve as an image-enhancing tool, allowing you to enhance how your brand is perceived. This effect can be important when it comes to influencing the opinions of consumers and changing buying behaviors.
They can create and expand positive publicity for your brand.
With sponsorships, you have the potential for increasing your exposure due to media attention. Thus, as you gain positive publicity, your products and services also receive higher visibility.
Sponsorships can expand the marketing of your brand without having to spend more. While you do pay for the cost of the sponsorship in some way, the reach it can potentially have can lead to a higher ROI as more audiences discover you.
Finally, sponsorships create excitement and motivation within your own company. Employees can get behind the sponsorship and want to perform to their highest capacity while at work and while representing your brand.
Wrap Up: Boost Your Marketing Strategy with Sponsorships
Finding more ways to reach your target audience is an ongoing challenge, and sponsorships are one way to get out in front of more people and turn them into potential customers.
You can go big by sponsoring a major sports event or keep it small, like being the lone sponsor of a popular local music festival. The opportunities and benefits are numerous.
Want to find out more ways to improve your brand image with sponsored marketing? Check out our blog post for tips.