Most companies get involved in some kind of sponsorship activity, so how do you ensure you get a better return from your investment?
- Set goals
For all sizes of sponsorship, set goals detailing the benefit you expect from the arrangement. Basic ones like sales and quoting opportunities can be supplemented by goals such as media profile and client involvement. Even if a sponsorship has been established over a number of years, putting in place and measuring, new goals every year makes a big difference.
- Money doesn’t buy you love
Simply giving money to an organisation and expecting a solid return does not work. You need to get involved in the sponsorship, work closely with the organisation and give it some love. The people involved with the organisation you are sponsoring always do more to help companies who are genuinely interested in their own goals and activities.
- Avoid splendid isolation
Sponsorship should be just one of the integrated parts of your marketing and business development strategy. The sponsorship can help other parts of the business and vice versa. For example, every organisation you sponsor should be giving you a reference to help portray your credibility to prospects. Check whether the industry organisation you sponsor has close links to another that you can prospect.
- Invest additional resources
All successful sponsorships invest additional resources. For example, by paying for employees to attend the organisation’s meetings and functions, direct marketing campaigns or advertising the arrangement to a wider audience. A rule of thumb is to invest at least one dollar for every dollar you spend on a sponsorship. Successful sponsoring organisations, like Emirates, typically spend over three dollars for every dollar they invest in a sponsorship deal.
- Look inside your business too
The best sponsorships are clearly aligned with the business goals and involve their employees. For example, corporate hospitality based sponsorships often struggle to find guests for every occasion. Rather than invite the director’s brother, run a competition to offer the hospitality to that month’s star performer.
Continually looking to reinvigorate a sponsorship and following the approaches outlined above, will deliver increased return. However, do not be afraid to cut a sponsorship that is not providing sustained benefit. If you have had a close dialogue with the organisation they will understand, and maybe you can get added kudos by helping them find a new partner who can make the sponsorship work.