Small Business Marketing – What to Consider Before You Sponsor the Local Team
As a small business you will probably get approached by a local sports team or community event to be a sponsor. When marketing your small business this may seem an attractive marketing tactic to gain awareness or even sometimes trial of your product or service. However before you agree there are things you should consider.
What Are You Getting For Your Sponsorship?
Make sure you discuss with the organization or event organizer how you can maximize your sponsorship dollars and get in writing what exposure your business will receive.
Some questions to ask are:
- Where will my logo, brand or business name appear?
- How and how often will my logo, brand or business name appear?
- Is it an exclusive sponsorship or is it shared with other businesses? Who are the businesses that will be sharing the sponsorship and are they compatible with my business?
- What additional benefits will I receive for my sponsorship? For example, inclusion of an ad in their program, allocated seats to a game or event to entertain your customers, players of the sports team meeting your key customers etc
To ensure the quality of your logo is maintained, insist on approving any material where your logo or information on your brand or business will appear.
Cost Versus Benefit
With any marketing tactic you implement you need to be aware of the costs involved versus the results you want to achieve. Sponsorship as a marketing tactic should be no different. Analyze the cost of your sponsorship versus the estimated results you want to achieve. Compare your sponsorship costs to marketing tactical costs to determine if your money could be better spent on an alternative marketing tactic. For example, if you sponsor a luncheon how many leads do you hope to generate from the sponsorship? Would you generate more leads from a direct mail campaign to the same target audience?
If you are unable to afford a particular sponsorship you may be able to negotiate on price or contribute to a joint sponsorship. With joint sponsorships make sure your sponsorship is shared with a business which complements yours and is not a direct competitor.
Setting a Budget
Set a budget for how much you want to commit to sponsorship. Plan in advance what event, organizations etc you wish to sponsor for the year and stick to your plan. It is likely you will receive requests throughout the year from organizations that require sponsorship. Unless they offer a once in a lifetime opportunity, it is best to stick to your plan to avoid overspending and hasty sponsorship agreements that may not be relevant for your business and target market.
Relevance for Your Target Market
Choose sponsorships that are relevant to your brand or business and appeal to your target market. Try not to choose sponsorships that only interest you or a particular employee. It is no use sponsoring the local football team if the players or spectators are not your target market.
Tracking of sponsorship tactics is often difficult due to the wide audience they have the potential to reach.
Some ways to track your sponsor results include:
- Measuring the media exposure from the sponsorship eg. mention of the event and your sponsorship in the local newspaper, on the radio station etc
- Measuring the exposure of your brand or business on other mediums eg. programs, clothing, signage, etc.
- New customers that have come from your sponsorship involvement eg. asking customers where did they hear about you or undertaking market research which analyzes customer recall of where they saw your brand or business name
- Privileges you receive from the sponsorship eg. access to databases
- Contacts with people who may be influential that you could not ordinarily get to eg. members of parliament, sports stars etc
Sponsorship can be a great marketing tactic; although it is always wise to work out what it will do for your small business before you commit to spending your valuable marketing dollars.
© Marketing for Business Success Pty Ltd 2008