If you think of the last event you have attended, how many logos have you noticed displayed around the area? How many sponsors can you name? As consumers, we have become so accustomed to seeing logos everywhere, we hardly notice them. Sponsors need to think beyond logo displays to get the most out of their sponsorship investment. Sponsorship can be a really powerful marketing communications tool, but only if it’s done right.
Following are five steps that will help you increase the value of your sponsorship investment:
1.Clearly set and define sponsorship objectives
Each sponsorship campaign should have a clearly defined set of objectives. What are you trying to achieve with the sponsorship? These should be set before you agree to invest in sponsorship. I would recommend the SMART rule to be applied to these – sponsorship objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.
Not sure where to start? Have a look at your overall (corporate) objectives. What is your business trying to achieve? Then, inspect general marketing objectives. What is the aim of your marketing team? Break down the marketing objectives and apply them to the individual sponsorship opportunity. How can an individual sponsorship help you achieve these marketing objectives? Be as specific as possible, so you will be able to evaluate your sponsorship campaign.
2.Think of ways to engage the target audience
For your sponsorship to be successful, you need to find a way to stand out in the crowd of other sponsors. This will only be possible if you engage with the audience.
Think of your product and think of the nature of the event you are sponsoring. See how you could utilise what is available to you and to the event. Can you create something ‘active’ for the audience? The activation should really be the main focus of your sponsorship campaign.
3.Try adding meaningful value to the customer’s experience
This goes hand in hand with engaging and interacting with the audience. Think of what the customer experience will look like at the end and try to add to it. Giving away prizes is one way. However, can you find something that will enhance the experience of the majority of the people, and not just of a few customers? Again, look into your product and/or your resources, what is available to you that you could share with everyone in a way it will benefit them?
4.Get other people in your organisation on board with the sponsorship campaign
For a sponsorship to be really effective, it is worth looking into how your colleagues from other departments could chip in. Maybe it is something as simple as utilising customer data that your sales department is using to invite your target audience to the event? Or maybe you can get a few people from the organisation to volunteer at the event?
5.Connect with and talk to the sponsorship seeker
A sponsorship relationship usually starts with a sponsorship request sent to a potential sponsor. The sponsor either accepts it, or politely rejects it. There might be a few emails or phone calls to provide a logo and determine where it will be published and displayed, but that’s it.
For the sponsorship to be really effective and valuable, connect with the sponsorship seeker and build a relationship with them. Talk to each other, see how you can help each other, make sure you understand what the sponsorship seeker is trying to achieve, and let them know about your goals. Build further from there, and see how far the conversations will take you.
To maximise the sponsorship value and to get the most out of your sponsorship investment you need to put a bit of effort in it. But don’t worry, the sponsorship game can be very fun and creative!