One of the most vital components in any business is sponsorship. Businesses must be aware of the many facets, complexities, and requirements that come with marketing sponsorship. In this blog post you will find some hard truths about marketing sponsorship and how to face them. In no way are these truths negotiable or invincible; they are just realities of a competitive marketplace that we cannot escape from. So get ready for difficult conversations and tough actions as you navigate through these thirteen hard truths about marketing sponsorship.
1. If you are a small business, it is really hard to get sponsorship
Sponsors will not just walk in your door looking to sponsor something in your business. You have to be proactive and start approaching them with a solid marketing plan and ROI data. Just having a good product or service is not enough, because there are many others just like you doing the same thing. Sponsorship is the lifeblood of businesses big and small, and they won’t take the time out of their busy day to come sit down with you if they think they won’t benefit from it or could easily do better things with their money than give it to you.
2. If you are a medium-sized business, it is really hard to get sponsorship
This is even more difficult than getting sponsorship as a small business because you have less to offer and there are many more businesses like you that want that sponsorship. The companies are going to look at the amount of marketing and exposure they will be getting for their money and compare this to all the other options they have. The more businesses chasing after them, the less likely they will pick your company.
3. If you are a large business, it is still really hard to get sponsorship
Your competition has grown exponentially as well and so now most of your sponsorship opportunities will go to other large businesses or those with major brand recognition.
4. If you have bad past experiences with sponsorship, it is really hard to get sponsorship
Any time you have had a bad experience with sponsorship, companies are going to view you as high-risk. And therefore because of this risk, if they do commit to sponsoring your business, they will do so at a much lower cost and for a shorter amount of time. Sponsorship is about trust and relationships, which means that any negative experiences in the past put that trust and relationship at risk.
5. Sponsorship is not free; it comes with a price
Whether you are in a relationship with a sponsor or just taking their money, your company has to invest time into managing that relationship and make sure it is beneficial to your business. Your company also has to be willing to take on the risk of the ROI and reevaluate that risk every month. This means a lot of work and attention goes into achieving sponsorship and making sure the partnership is worth it.
6. If you don’t sell, you can’t buy
No one will sponsor your business if you cannot sell yourself or your products/services. Sponsorship comes back to sales in the end, whether you have good sponsorship or bad sponsorship. If you can’t sell your product or service, no one is going to invest in it.
7. Sponsorship costs money
All the hard work and effort you have put into getting sponsorship must eventually be worth it. If you are not getting the results you want, then it is time to move on to another sponsor or perhaps a different product that can solve your problem more effectively.
8. Sponsors will only sponsor a few things at a time
They are going to have a general structure of what they will sponsor and then they will review the market (or the business) every six months and see if there are any changes that need to be made. They will look for business opportunities based on the market, their budget, and any upcoming changes in their company. For example, if a large company has just experienced a merger or acquisition, then they may need to restructure their marketing and this will cause them to shift their sponsorship focus accordingly.
9. Once you are sponsored, it is really hard to get unsponsored
You can only be unsponsored if there is a change in your business that requires it or if your sponsor goes out of business. Change is sometimes needed as your business grows and expands, because you may no longer need the sponsorship or it may no longer be effective for your business goals. If you are getting bad results every month and not improving, then unfortunately the sponsor will have to let you go (or if it is a large enterprise of any kind, they may decide to cut your project all together). The only thing you can do is control your performance so this does not happen to you.
10. Sponsors want proof that their money is being used properly
All sponsorship comes with an expectation of return on investment (ROI). No one should be surprised by this fact because they are giving you money and time, and they would like some sort of return out of that investment. This could take the form of more brand awareness or more sales or any number of other metrics that demonstrate improvement for their company. It could even be something as simple as a survey that can be used to see if they are seeing an improvement in their business.