Start Customer Cultivation with Strategic Sponsorships

Billions of dollars are spent globally on sponsorships each year. According to IEG, global sponsorship spending topped $65 billion last year with the majority of the money going toward sports partnerships with entertainment, causes, festival events and association organizations following.

Sponsorships offer a targeted opportunity to reach current and prospective clients on the consumer or B2B side or both. If you are new to leveraging sponsorships as an engagement tool, here are some tips to crafting your strategic plan.

Know Your Audience

Think of a sponsorship as a marketing asset that will drive your business objectives. Do you want to sell more SKUs, engage prospective clients with VIP entertainment or increase awareness through media? These are a few of the goals that can result with a successful sponsorship program.

It is also important to create an audience profile for your sponsorship plan so you can clearly define the demographics as well as interests, passion points and intent to purchase your product by this audience. Research will drive this segmentation

There are a number of research platforms available to determine the property or event that best reaches a new audience or a prospective audience for your business objectives. IEG and Scarborough Local Insights are two popular sponsorship research tools you can use.

Activate Your Sponsorship

It’s important to market your sponsorship with an activation plan to begin the customer cultivation journey (make sure you get customer contact information as part of the plan). The activation plan must create awareness of your brand, offer trial of the product if appropriate and be results-driven. The plan must also have a budget above the sponsorship fee paid to the property, and is often twice or more of the amount of the initial fee. 

Along with the activation plan, it’s important to create metrics to measure and evaluate the success of the sponsorship. These metrics can range from sales of product during the event(s), media awareness, or coupon redemption, and more.

Continue the Conversation with the Customer

Continue the conversation with these and like-minded customers you connected with via your activation experience with a strategic content campaign that may include email, search engine marketing and/or social media content. Based on the complexity of your product or business, you may have a longer sales cycle. Consider the content opportunities to help inform these buying decisions with videos, white papers or longer form content. If your product is an impulse buy, you might have more success in using social media or search engine marketing.

As you consider sponsorship marketing, let your decisions be driven by research aligned to support your business objectives with a direct and measurable call-to-action.

Jackie Reau