THE word sponsorship invariably conjures up visions of massive corporations spending millions of dollars on a football team or of mega events where logos are plastered everywhere from the front of the stadium to the shorts of the athletes.
However, sponsorship is about far more than big business and it may just be a great promotional medium for you.
Indeed, some may argue that smaller, targeted programs are a far better tool to connect to customers than the big-budget productions of corporate Australia.
Sponsorship can work for your small business, but before embarking on any program there are a few easy to follow tips that will give your business the optimum chance of success.
Know your target market – who are you trying to reach with your sponsorship? It is an extension of your marketing and should be treated accordingly.
Think about simple demographic aspects such as age and gender, but look also to psychographic variables such as interests and attitudes of your target market.
Set objectives – what do you want to achieve from your sponsorship?
Objectives vary. For example, awareness, sales, sampling and networking are all viable and achievable goals, and will definitely overlap, but you must have some!
Choose those that best fit your business and your target market.
Be prepared to leverage – the sponsorship fee is merely ‘cost of entry'.
In addition to the fee, you should spend additional funds on integrating sponsorship with existing marketing. Don't just sit there and wait for things to happen – they won't!
Find the right match – don't just jump at the first opportunity that comes around.
You've done your research, know your market and not everybody who sends you a proposal or asks for money will fit your needs. Be strategic and choosy!
Negotiate your contribution – everything is negotiable.
Some parts of a proposal may not be of interest or not fit your plans or the cost may be prohibitive.
Contra deals (where goods and services are exchanged) are a viable and sometimes more affordable option for small business.
Measure your investment – no matter how small your contribution the returns should be quantified.
Benchmark your involvement and always ensure measurement relates to your objectives.
If you can't or won't do these things then you are kidding yourself that it is a sponsorship.
There's nothing wrong with charity or patronage, but sponsorship is a business relationship and must provide some sort of return on investment for both the business and the sponsored organisation.
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