Event coordinators all over Australia will agree with me that 2009 has been one of the toughest years for sourcing funding and business support. Many businesses have evaluated their marketing expenditure, and unfortunately sponsorship is often viewed as an incidental, immeasurable item that can be easily sacrificed. However, sponsorship of an event or cause can be one of the most powerful marketing tools out there. Let me tell you why.

Many businesses make a donation, support an event, or put their logo on some sports uniforms and that’s the end of it. It’s this approach that fuels the perception that sponsorship is a ‘dead’ cost – with no potential for direct sales or results of any worth.

This might sound like more of the same, but sponsorship can be maximised if you:
a) do your research and carefully plan who, what and when you’ll support
b) discuss your marketing objectives with the event coordinator and how they can be achieved
c) leverage your sponsorship as much as possible
d) don’t treat the cost as a write off, but as an investment that needs to generate return

Sponsorship is a big contributor to brand awareness and can directly stimulate/accelerate word of mouth about your company. But, it’s up to you how you manage and increase this word of mouth.
Let me give you an example of what I mean – a local sports club is asking for $1000 and in return they’ll put your logo on their uniforms and thank you at their end-of-year presentation night. Done deal right?

How about getting some happy snaps with the team and writing a story about your sponsorship for your next corporate newsletter? What about organising a fun match between the sports team and your staff, and try and get a story about it in the local paper? How about hosting a quiz night as a fundraiser for the team, where hints to questions can be sourced from your website? All of these activities won’t cost you much, but gain some great coverage and interaction with your brand. It’s about being creative and maximising the opportunities you have.

So next time that sponsorship proposal comes across your desk, don’t think about the chunk it will take out of your budget, but the additional marketing opportunities it can provide you.

If you have a sponsorship coming up that you want to maximise – feel free to contact me and we can get together for a brainstorm.

For an example of a company that really maximised their sponsorship of a great cause, read about Mt Franklin water and the Breast Cancer Foundation. And here’s a brilliant outdoor ad that went along with it, for a bit of fun (the caption reads: ‘ every mouthful helps…’).

Mt Franklin