To get the most out of your sponsorship, an organisation should consider having a sponsorship strategy in place. The strategy will help sponsors identify processes and actions that will need to be taken in order to achieve their sponsorship, marketing and corporate goals.
WHAT IS SPONSORSHIP STRATEGY?
According to Optimy, a strategy is a plan that helps sponsors identify the processes that need to be taken in order to achieve the desired future for their brands.
Sponsorship is more and more recognised as a go-to marketing communications tool. It has an ability to activate the brand, instead of just building it. However, as William Rosen and Laurence Minsky noted, “sponsorship frequently delivers less than optimal results for sponsors and their marketers”. The main reason for this is lack of sponsorship strategy.
WHY IS SPONSORSHIP STRATEGY NECESSARY?
A proactive sponsorship strategy (Advantage Marketing) will help you:
- Be aware of what is happening on the market. You will be able to act and react when necessary, and keep ahead of your competitors.
- Know your sponsorship KPIs. If you set your sponsorship objectives beforehand, you can measure them and see whether you have achieved them or not. This way you are also able to adjust the strategy if needed, and invest in the opportunities that will maximise your ROI.
- Have time to think about your activations. Sponsorship activation has a much bigger effect than just displaying of your logos. Hence, learn from previous experiences, and respond to any new and unexpected developments.
- Have meaningful conversations with sponsorship seekers. Since you know exactly what you are aiming for, you are able to talk to your rights holders. Collaborate with them to create great outcomes for everyone – your brand, the sponsee, and the target audience.
- Work within your budget.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT SPONSORSHIP STRATEGY FOR YOU
Before you decide what sponsorship strategy will you take, you need to do the following:
- Clearly define your sponsorship objectives.
- Identify your opportunities, find a space that you can own and shine in.
- Study your partner, their equity fit and make sure that your brand aligns with them, their values and their properties.
- Think about what you can bring to the table, what can you do to help achieve the win-win-win outcome.
- Look for ways to activate sponsorship across different channels.
- Identify how you will measure the results.
SOME IDEAS FOR SPONSORSHIP STRATEGIES
Francis Dumas suggests the following possible strategies that you can choose from:
- Vertical integration strategy – if you sponsor a professional sports team, it may be worth sponsoring also recreational teams or amateur leagues in the same sport, for example.
- Focus strategy – instead of sponsoring different events and rights holders, invest in a single but well-activated sponsorship.
- Umbrella strategy – you can sponsor different events and rights holders but use the same and well-established activation for all of them.
- Sponsoring community strategy.
- Creating platform strategy – create your own event and determine your own benefits, choose your own partners, etc.
- Constellations strategy – sponsor everything you can and maximise your points of contact with as many people as you can.
Which strategy you will end up using will depend on your objectives, market research, and available budget.