Sponsorship is a marketing tool not always considered as a “go to” strategy, with many organisations unfamiliar as to what’s involved, or what the benefits are. But in today’s new sales world, where soft selling rules, having more soft selling avenues to explore, can help businesses thrive.
What is Sponsorship?
Sponsorship uses a much softer, passive approach to selling. Rather than market its own products or services directly, sponsorship allows a brand to promote itself through an association with an external entity. The key is that it is something they know their customers/prospects care about. In return for this support, logos, slogans etc. can be displayed on merchandise, or anything else visual, showcasing the sponsor. As association between the sponsor and the sponsored party increases, brand recognition builds, elevating sales opportunities, giving a competitive advantage to the sponsor.
The sponsored party could be a specific person, group of people, charity or event and support could be through one of four ways: financial, “in-kind” aka a “contra deal”, media, or promotional partnerships.
1 Financial sponsorship
A straightforward cash transaction where the sponsoring parties offers financial support to a cause, to help them to function and succeed in what they do.
2 In-kind (Contra deal) sponsorship
The provision of non-financial assets (i.e. no money changes hands). For example: equipment, clothing, food, accommodation, products, entertainment, or transport.
3 Media sponsorship
Media sponsors pay for advertising that helps promote the sponsored party, such as, setting up a media event, purchasing advertising space on the television, publishing their own article, or creating a blog about the cause.
4 Promotional Partnerships
Promotional partnerships are the equivalent of a media sponsor, but typically consist of one individual figure (rather than a company or media outlet), who promote the sponsored party through their own networks.
What are the benefits?
It can be more effective compared to non-sponsorship strategies on a similar scale.
Sponsorship is more effective in helping a company hit its sales goals, in one effort, compared to other strategies, whilst releasing more time for follow-up marketing activities, to further capitalise on the exposure gained.
It establishes a brand as a “contender”
Sponsorship of some of the biggest events, is typically associated with brand giants like Coca-Cola, Nike and Mastercard. From hundreds of logos surrounding the perimeter of the World Cup football pitch, to Rodger Federer being dressed from head to toe in UNIQLO at the Wimbledon championships, sponsorship marketing has a high visual and subliminal impact. However, sponsorship can also help even the smallest, lesser-known brands, to create the illusion of being a “contender”, helping to raise its public profile. By selecting the most suitable entity to sponsor, it can vastly increase positive awareness.
It develops positive association towards a brand.
Through perceiving a business as one that gives back to a community, prospective customers can be motivated to use the sponsor, over that of a non-sponsoring competitor. Many businesses now have a CSR policy and sponsorships can help meet many of these objectives.
Conversion from visual to verbal marketing
When existing customers see that a brand is sponsoring a cause, word-of-mouth marketing increases, as customers who’ve had a positive experience with the brand, will inevitably talk about the company to potential prospects.
Providing in-kind products or services, can give future prospects a “taster” of what’s to come.
Offering “in-kind” provisions, as opposed to financial support, allows a sponsor to demonstrate its actual products or services, through the sponsored party. For example, hosting an event, providing catering, parking, accommodation, tours/presentations or goody bags, can allow a hotel brand or hiring venue, opportunities to secure future custom, through the experience they provide during events.
Opportunity to dominate niche markets
Sponsoring a cause that aligns with a sponsor’s own products or services, allows the ultimate opportunity to dominate niche markets. A pet supplies company sponsoring Crufts could offer financial support, or provide grooming services, collars, leads or pet food to those competing in show, instantly making them the “go-to” brand for all things canine.
Take advantage of other assets
Media coverage can be too expensive for small businesses. Sponsorship allows sponsors access to the positive publicity, events with media presence carries. A sponsored party’s website, e-mails, letters, flyers and advertisements are other valuable assets, providing yet more opportunities, to market the sponsor’s supportive connections.
Bloggers and Vloggers the new showcasing platform
In-kind sponsorship is extremely popular in the age of the blogger and influencer. Bloggers and vloggers test a brand’s products online, communicating their experience to their followers through social media. In return for their demonstrations and publicity, the influencers often get to keep the products or are paid.
EBY Sponsorship of the Moston Tigers
Supporting a cause very close to our own hearts, EBY are proud sponsors of the Moston Tigers football team. An example of “in-kind” sponsorship, EBY provides a full kit for each squad member. As well as allowing the Tigers to preserve their club funds, it’s increased their confidence, knowing a company has invested in them and their future success. It’s also increased EBY’s brand presence, whilst highlighting the promotional services the company offers, through the quality merchandise supplied.
When and how to get started?
If you’ve never undertaken sponsorship before, but are wondering where to start, EBY can assist. From identifying a suitable opportunity, through to choosing the type of sponsorship, that would best suit your unique organisation and funding, EBY have all the experience and expertise to help you meet your specific business goals. Furthermore, EBY can help you to reap the benefits of your sponsorship even further, through integrating it with your own marketing activities. Contact us to start a conversation today.