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Sponsorship marketing is a strategic partnership between businesses and events or organizations.

This powerful tool enables businesses to increase brand awareness. But that’s only the beginning. Sponsorship marketing can take your conversions to the next level when applied.

Sound too good to be true?

Not at all. And we’ll explain how.

This article explores how businesses can leverage sponsorship marketing effectively for stellar results. We’ll also provide some amazing examples of sponsorship done right.

Ready to dig deeper? Let’s go!

Key takeaways

  • Sponsorship marketing works wonders when applied appropriately. It can help fund different events and organizations. These might include trade shows, charity events, sports competitions, and conferences. At the same time, it can boost your brand’s visibility and attract potential customers.
  • To make the most of sponsorship, you need a plan. You must set clear goals and follow best practices. You’ll also need to make a budget and stick to it. Ensure both parties approve the budget before launching the partnership.
  • The key to success is your audience. Engaging with your audience is the most important step in sponsorship, whether in person or virtually. It’s how you promote, take part, and follow up. 
  • Success isn’t accidental. Measurement and analytics are essential. Know your goals, measure the KPIs that matter, and double down on what works.

What is sponsorship marketing?

Sponsorship marketing is a way for businesses to get noticed. It’s like teaming up. A company helps an event by giving money or support. In return, the event shows off the company’s name, logo, and what it sells.

Think about a local store helping out a town’s soccer team. The store gives some money, and in return, the soccer team might wear shirts with the store logo. It’s like a thank you.

graphic of definition of corporate sponsorship

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Another example might be a corporate sponsorship of a professional conference. With a greater financial contribution, for instance, the presentation stage may feature a sign or banner with the business’s logo and name.

There’s more than one way to do sponsorship marketing. It’s not just about sports. Local events, like art shows, food markets, or school fairs, can be great chances for businesses to get involved. The main thing is to find an event that fits what the company is all about.

When a company and an event team up just right, it’s good news for both sides! They help each other out, and everyone wins.

Importance of sponsorship for businesses

The world of sports sponsorships alone shows how vital sponsorships can be for businesses. And according to PR Newswire, it’s expected to be worth more than $89.6 billion by 2027.

If you want to make the most of sponsorship marketing in your business, here are some things to remember:

  • Sponsorship opportunities: Look for events, organizations, or projects that align with your brand’s goals and target audience.
  • Cash sponsor: Many events send proposals requesting local businesses’ financial support. It’s a simple way for business owners to participate and support their communities while building brand awareness.
  • Marketing goals: Determine your goals with each sponsorship opportunity. Make sure they fit in with your overall business strategy.
  • Benefits of sponsorship marketing: Increase brand awareness, build customer loyalty, and improve your reputation.
graph showing most trusted advertising channels

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Sponsorships are a gold mine for businesses that use them well. Customers trust branded sponsorships more than almost any other advertising channel. Branded websites and personal recommendations are the only channels trusted more.

How to leverage sponsorship marketing in your business

Sponsorship marketing is a strategic approach to building a strong brand voice. It’s about creating meaningful connections, building brand equity, and reaching new audiences. It’s not just about getting your brand’s name out there. It’s also about forming partnerships that align with your brand’s values and objectives.

Step 1: Determine your goals

Start by identifying the goals you wish to achieve through sponsorship. Your goals could be anything from improving your reach in the local community to enhancing brand visibility. Or even fostering direct sales. Having a clear goal will guide your next decisions in the sponsorship journey.

Step 2: Get to know your Target Audience

Research and understand your ideal customer’s interests, concerns, pain points, activities, and passions. Knowing pain points and how you can help solve them is invaluable when seeking out sponsorship opportunities.

Step 3: Create a budget

Determine how much you’re willing to invest in a sponsorship. You need to know where you’re allocating the funds. You need a budget for event setup, promotional materials, or other related costs. You must align both your marketing budgets for the partnership to work.

screenshot of budget sheet for corporate event sponsorship

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Step 4: Search for sponsorship opportunities

Seek out opportunities that align with your goals and target audience.

Look for

  • Local event sponsorship
  • Performances
  • Sporting events
  • TV programs
  • Charities
  • Food sponsors
  • Team sponsors
  • Celebrity partnerships

Make sure any event or entity you consider aligns with your brand’s ethos and values.

Step 5: Negotiate the terms

Once you’ve identified a potential sponsorship opportunity, it’s time to negotiate. You’ll want to discuss the level of support, funding, or services provided. Ensure the terms are mutually beneficial and have a goal aligning with your initial objectives.

Step 6: Promote the sponsorship

After securing the sponsorship, promoting it to your target audience is crucial. To maximize the sponsorship’s visibility and impact, use various marketing channels. Try social media posts, email, and other content marketing. You could also try new advertising opportunities, which could be mutually beneficial. But these will depend on your sponsorship partner and their marketing channels.

Step 7: Measure the results

Assess the impact of your sponsorship by tracking metrics like brand awareness, engagement, direct sales, or leads. This will help you determine the sponsorship’s effectiveness in achieving your goals. Plus, they’ll provide insights for future sponsorship endeavors.

Step 8: Engage your employees

Encourage your employees to participate in sponsored events actively. Their involvement can foster team spirit. They can serve as brand ambassadors, enhancing the overall impact of the sponsorship. Recognize their contributions with handcrafted custom trophies, providing tangible acknowledgment of their dedication and achievements while further solidifying their role as brand advocates during sponsored events.

Step 9: Build on ‌momentum

The end of the event doesn’t mean the end of your engagement. Continue interacting with the audience post-event using social media or email campaigns. If the sponsorship succeeds, establish a long-term partnership with the event or organization.

By following these steps, businesses can ensure their efforts are impactful and drive tangible results. They are creating a win-win situation for the company and the community they engage with.

benefits of event sponsorship

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Understanding the power of virtual events for businesses

Virtual events are an excellent way to leverage sponsorship marketing for your business. Virtual events’ popularity is high and will continue to rise.

What’s a virtual event?

Ever since the pandemic began, many events that used to happen in person have moved to the internet. We call these online happenings virtual events. Think of them like regular events, but you join from your computer or phone instead of going to a place. Examples include online seminars (webinars) and digital conferences.

Why virtual events are a big deal

Your business should consider virtual events as sponsorship marketing opportunities with the following benefits.

  • Worldwide Audience: One of the coolest things about online events is that anyone from anywhere can join. Whether someone is in New York or Tokyo, they can be part of the same event. Meaning businesses can reach more people than ever before.
  • Cost Savings: Hosting an event in a hall or hotel can be expensive. There are costs for the venue, food, and sometimes even travel. Sometimes, when you host the event in other cities such as Edinburgh, you may need to find good luggage storage in Edinburgh to make your visitors’ experience more comfortable. With virtual events, many of these costs disappear. This savings is especially helpful for smaller businesses or those just starting to explore events.
  • Interactive and Engaging: Just because it’s online doesn’t mean it’s boring! Virtual events can be super interactive. Attendees can chat with each other, participate in polls, or ask speakers questions in real time. It creates a dynamic environment where everyone feels involved.
  • Comfort and Convenience: No need to dress up or travel long distances. Attendees can join from the comfort of their homes. On the business side, you can host an event without the hassle of setting up a physical location.
  • A Great Starting Point: For businesses that haven’t hosted events before, going virtual can be a less daunting first step. It offers a chance to understand the audience, get feedback, and refine the approach for future events.
screenshot of a virtual conference event

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The bigger picture

Virtual events aren’t just ‌temporary solutions — ‌they’re shaping the future of how businesses connect with people. They offer a blend of convenience, reach, and engagement that’s hard to achieve with traditional events. As technology improves and more people get comfortable online, virtual events will only grow in importance. For businesses, this means a chance to innovate, reach global audiences, and make a lasting impact.

Thinking about what’s right: ethical choices in sponsorship

When businesses team up with other groups or events, it’s called sponsorship. But it’s not just about joining forces; it’s also about making sure those choices are good and fair. That’s where ethics comes in.

Why ethics matter in sponsorship

Let’s examine why ethics are vital in sponsorship marketing.

  • Good Reputation: Businesses want people to think well of them. Making good, fair choices in sponsorship helps keep a company’s name in good standing.
  • Choosing the Right Partners: It’s essential to team up with groups or events that do the right thing. If a business sponsors an event that does something wrong, people might think the business supports that wrong thing too.
  • What Customers Think: People pay attention to who businesses partner with. If they see a company making good choices, they’re more likely to trust and support that company.
  • Showing You Care: By making ethical choices, businesses show they care about more than just money. They show they want to make a positive difference in the world.

In short, when businesses think about ethics in their sponsorships, they show they’re serious about doing what’s right. It’s a way to earn trust, make ‌positive change, and show the world they care about more than just profits.

Successful case studies

The following are some of history’s most successful marketing sponsorships. By learning from them, we can follow their example of excellence.

Case Study 1: The NBA and Nike

An excellent example of a successful sponsorship activation is the partnership between Nike and the NBA. This partnership led to a 25% increase in global sales of NBA merchandise.

It shows the impressive impact that innovative sponsorships can have on getting consumers engaged. It also demonstrates real business results.

Nike and the NBA have had a good marketing partnership over the years.

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Nike became the official sponsor of the NBA, showing how sponsorship marketing can significantly increase the sales of both businesses.

Nike connected their brand with a popular sports league like the NBA. There, they could reach more people and connect with the excitement and loyalty of basketball fans.

Nike used marketing strategies like product collaborations, athlete endorsements, and exclusive merchandise releases. This form of marketing created excitement around their brand and increased demand for NBA-related products.

Key benefits:

This case study showcases the power of sponsorship marketing in

  • Boosting brand visibility
  • Increasing consumer interest
  • Driving business success

Here’s another case study about sponsorship marketing in business.

Case Study 2: Just Eat and The X-Factor

Just Eat is a food delivery company that sponsored The X-Factor in the United Kingdom for several years. The partnership was very successful for Just Eat. The company’s brand awareness increased significantly during the partnership, and it also saw a boost in sales.

Just Eat has been a sponsor of The X Factor in the United Kingdom.

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Key benefits:

  • Partner with a popular TV show or event your target audience watches.
  • Create marketing campaigns that integrate your brand with the show or event.
  • Track the results of your sponsorship to measure business success.

Conclusion

Sponsorship marketing can be a compelling way for businesses to get their brand noticed and reach their target market. Companies can easily create a plan and put on sponsorship events to create memorable experiences.

Measuring results and gauging the success of these events is imperative. It’s how to decide whether a partnership is worth reinvesting in.

Making the most of sponsorship marketing takes careful planning, reviewing and maintaining partnerships, and considering your resources. Eliminate what doesn’t work and double down on what does.

Soon, sponsorship success will be yours!