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The Power of Sponsorship Marketing

People standing in a megaphone shape

When it comes to marketing your business there is not a one size fits all model. For even the largest businesses, deciding where to spend precious marketing dollars can seem like a complicated task. It can be difficult to know where to market, but two questions should always guide you — who is your ideal customer, and how do you reach them? One area that is often overlooked is sponsorship marketing. Sponsorship marketing achieves three mutually beneficial goals all at once: your ideal customer sees your name, your business builds customer loyalty, and you garner a great public relations narrative in supporting your community and industry.

Put your Name in Front of Your Ideal Customer

When considering sponsorship of an organization, event, local sports team, or other, make sure your ideal customer will have eyes on your good work. For example, if your business would like to increase children’s business by catering to a younger clientele, sponsoring a little league team local to your business is a great idea. Think of your ideal client and what their interests and hobbies are.

It is important to make sure that your sponsorship location is relevant to your business. For a brick and mortar business, it is always best to focus your sponsorship close to your business, in the same town, metro area, or county. If you want to gain a larger customer base from the next town over, then focus your sponsorship dollars there; However, you will need to ensure through signage, pamphlets, or other activities that your ideal customers know where to find your business. If you are sponsoring an industry organization or association, you want to make sure that the members of that group are your target market. The key takeaway is to know your ideal customer and find sponsorship opportunities with them in mind.

You are Building Customer Loyalty

According to the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center for Public Relations 2023 Global Communications Report (2023), “Over 62% of customers, 74% of employees, and 93% percent of investors all say that a business’s reputation is a leading factor when making a purchase, taking a job, or investing with a company.”( p.8)  The study goes on to highlight the importance of a company’s social purpose and its actions in the communities they operate within. When we combine a company’s social purpose with a positive reputation, sponsorship activities are a natural fit, and highly impactful. The study goes on to highlight the need for businesses to be active participants in positive change in their communities, drawing the conclusion that businesses that engage in positive community efforts will build a more loyal customer base. The bottom line is that the community will invest in your business if you invest in their community.

You are Generating Good PR

One of the best parts about being a good steward in your community and engaging in the right sponsorships for your company is that by simply sponsoring an event, charity, or civic organization you are building good public relations for your business in the community you operate in. For example, by sponsoring a clean-up day, playground building effort, or local area pet shelter adoption day, not only is your business’s name out in front of your ideal customers, but you are demonstrating your commitment to the community. Over time, if you continue to sponsor events and organizations, your customers will be loyal to you because they know you help provide a service to the community. When done correctly, sponsorships build a lot of goodwill within a community and consequently with your ideal customer.

A Few Last Notes on Sponsorship

Sponsorship can be a powerful tool in reaching your key audience but is important to get the most out of your sponsorship dollars. When your business is looking at sponsorship opportunities, make sure that the details regarding logo placement and signage are clear. If you sponsor a local sports team, you want your name on the jerseys of the players, or on the baseball diamond at the home field. Events should have signage where you can advertise with your logo with good placement and visibility. Larger sponsorship opportunities may even allow your business to set up a booth where you can pass out fliers and talk to your potential customers. If you are not able to set up a booth at a sponsored event, always ask if you can provide branded swag to be given away.

To get the most out of your sponsorship efforts, be sure to attend the event you are sponsoring, and bring your staff if possible. Your business’s attendance shows you truly do care about the event or industry you are sponsoring. Don’t pass up the opportunity to wear branded shirts to the events you attend. Lastly, if your company is taking advantage of a sponsorship opportunity, make sure you let people know by sharing it on your website, social media, or a poster in your window.

Sponsorship is a great way to get your business or brand in front of your ideal customer, it is also a great way to build relationships with a customer base you want to acquire. I am such a fan of sponsorships because you can accomplish your marketing goals while demonstrating your business’ commitment to your local community and industry. When your business is active in giving, it shows your customers and prospects that you care.

Written by: Jacqueline Thomas

Information on OWA sponsorship opportunities: Individual Contributor (personal) Professional Development Fund Sponsors (company)

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