Sponsorships are a great way to get people to learn more about your business or organization. They’re growing in popularity, too: North American companies spent an estimated $22.4 billion in sponsorships in 2016. That’s up from $14.9 billion 10 years ago.
Sponsorship is certainly a “feel good” activity, but there may be telltale signs that you’re not getting much bang for your buck. How do you know when sponsorships aren’t leveraging the kind of marketing support that you expected? It’s usually when you haven’t been strategic about what sponsorships you take on. It goes without saying that you should have a sponsorship strategy in place before you embark on being an event, trade show or other kind of partner. If not, your efforts may flounder.
Even if you have a sponsorship strategy, you might not be as successful with it as you could be. Here are a few things to watch out for that may tell you that you need a better sponsorship strategy.
1. You Can’t Measure If Your Sponsorship’s Goals Were Met
This is a very common problem. According to the 2014 Canadian Sponsorship Landscape Study, only a paltry three percent of sponsorship budgets were devoted to research. That means the vast majority of businesses and organizations can’t answer with any degree of certainty what the impact of the sponsorship program was, if it worked, or if it offered a return on investment.
Obviously, the bigger the sponsorship budget you have, the more important it is to quantify your results. If you can’t do this, your sponsorships probably won’t be giving you what you want.
Your sponsorship strategy should take into account not only how your organization is going to approach sponsorships, but how it is going to measure their successes. After all, sponsorship is not an end to a means; it should also enable your bigger strategies and objectives.
2. Your Brand Values Don’t Align With The Sponsorship's Audience
Your business or organization may have a sponsorship strategy, but you may find that you’re not reaching the right type of people. The problem may be as simple as that you’re not targeting the right sponsorships.
It may be, as well, that you’re taking too much of an umbrella approach -- going after every sponsorship under the sun, when your tactics should be more finely honed. (The same problem can work in reverse, too: your reach might need to be broader when it’s too focused.)
You need to ask yourself first what your business or organization needs, and then work on developing sponsorships. If your sales are down, or if you’re not meeting your fundraising goals, you have to figure out the solution to that problem, and then build relationships from there. You don’t build the relationships first, and then solve the problem. You have to really think about who is going to deliver exactly what you need -- and knowing what that need should be at the outset of any interaction.
3. You’re Not Engaging Your Target Audience to Do Something
So you have a sponsorship, but maybe it’s not doing what you want. You may have all the brand awareness and positive attitudes associated with your product or service in the world, but it's not building loyalty or driving purchases.
You need to really dig deep and find real insights into what’s causing your target audience to act the way they do. Ask yourself these questions: How is your audience aligned with your partner? Why are they aligned that way? What’s an appropriate role for you to take on as the sponsor? Thinking about these things may lead you to better sponsorships.
4. You Don’t Promote Your Own Sponsorships
Sponsorships are more than just figuring out where your brand fits in with the partnership. If you’re not showcasing your sponsorships in your own advertising and marketing materials, you’re missing out on a great self-promotion opportunity. Sponsorships make you look good -- depending on what event or sports team you sponsor, it can showcase that you’re civically minded. However, if you don’t promote the fact that you sponsor something, nobody may make the connection.
A good way to promote your sponsorship is having a booth with your own swag at a trade show or event that you sponsor. That way, all of your customers or donors can see what you do, and see that you’re not just being passive about the sponsorship opportunity -- you’re directly involved in attending your partner’s event. That could leave a good, lasting impression with your customer or donor base.
Sponsorships can go beyond just raising brand awareness and driving revenues. They can showcase what your company or organization has to offer other like-minded businesses. Strategizing and picking the right ones can go a long way towards enhancing your business objectives.
Contact Cyan Solutions
If you’re interested in increasing customer engagement through sponsorships, Cyan Solutions offers extensive sponsorship strategy solutions. Contact us today to learn more about how you can increase the value of your partnerships, and maximize your sponsorship dollars.