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If your business is beginning to gain traction, sooner or later you will be approached and offered a potential sponsorship deal.
It may be an event, display advertising such as a billboard or some kind of brand partnership. Would you know what to do?
Sponsorship can provide vast exposure to help raise awareness and get more eyes looking at your business. However, there can be a price to pay for these services, both financially and in marketing impact.
Raising your brand awareness is a key component to being successful in the marketplace. The link most sales representatives will make for entering a sponsorship will go along the lines of: ‘’If you pay X amount, we can guarantee X amount of people will see it and this will lead to an increase in sales for you’’.
Your first instinct might be to run some mental maths and conclude that it’s a no brainer. Alas, there are a number of questions you have to be asking.
Firstly, you have to ask yourself: What’s in this sponsorship deal for me? The obvious answer will be branding and an increase in sales, but you must remain entirely focused and plan out your goals.
Secondly, does the sponsorship fit in with your existing marketing strategy? You know who your ideal target audience is, but does the sponsorship deal reflect this and offer the opportunity to further this, or does it differentiate away completely? Your brand values are also crucial to who you are as a company; does the sponsorship deal compliment these or is it completely irrelevant and potentially damaging in any way?
Further questions to ask yourself will include:
Go back to your goals and figure out how you will measure success. In most cases it would reflect money spent to incoming business leads within a certain timeframe, but you have to be sure on this.
Additionally, that’s why your budget for the proposed sponsorship deal has to be concrete. Sponsorships can be costly and, with some sales practices, run the risk of not returning investment due to a variety of factors.
Make sure your budget fits the sponsorship deal and that there are no additional hidden costs, timeframes, printed material, commission structures etc – you must have a complete understanding of the process before putting ink to paper.
Besides budget, the second key component to consider is the transparency your deal will have with your consumers. Yes, we have spoken about making sure the sponsorship deal is related to your target audience in some way and that it does reflect your brand values; however, are we able to communicate symmetrically with these consumers? No.
In some cases, this can be slightly troublesome. Likewise, it does completely depend on the sponsorship deal. If it is just your logo at a charity event that will most likely be fine, but if it is a sponsored billboard at a golf event it can be difficult to get audiences noticing your business and learning about it – that’s why we have to understand what is being offered and if you will benefit from it.
Sponsorship deals come with positive and negatives outcomes to consider. You can find yourself communicating to a completely unrelated audience whilst burning money. However, if you ask yourself these questions and enter the deal with a clear focus you could, ultimately, reap the rewards afterwards.
Phillip Cross, Royce Cross Agencies
Luke Talbot-Male, Adventures Beyond