Top Tips for Making Sponsorship Work for Your Business

One of the biggest marketing issues we see in small business is sponsorships. Far too often local sponsorship agreements result in missed opportunities, cost blowouts and underperformance… but it doesn’t have to be that way!

Building a successful sponsorship with a sporting club, event, community group, charity or individual can be a great way to generate awareness of your business, access their fans and followers, reinforce you positioning and imbue some of their values on your brand.  

Before you consider a sponsorship or strategic partnership in 2019, check out our top 5 tips and set yourself up for success!

  1. Be clear on your objectives for the association… and then choose a partner that fits with your strategy. What are you really looking to achieve? Do you want to expand your client base, generate engagement, build fame? Choose a partner that has strong appeal with your consumers, is aligned to your brand, or brings your values to life.  The best sponsorships are a great natural fit with benefits for both sides – think a reception venue sponsoring a popular wedding fair, or a Parenting Magazine or site sponsoring a local Children’s Charity.
  2. Don’t invest all of your funds up front. Consider how much you’ll need to amplify the partnership over time and factor that in. If you’re a Physiotherapist sponsoring a local sporting club then your budget may need to cover not just the sponsorship but also signage, press release & boosted social media posts, branded team gear, team newsletter updates, on ground staff support and an exclusive offer or special discount for members of the club when they seek treatment. Discuss up front extra ways you could firmly establish the association in people’s minds – even small things like branded balloons or a small giveaway or goodie bag  for the end of season family day.
  3. Consider how you would like to leverage your partners owned, earned and bought assets. One of the ways you can make the sponsorship work for you is by tapping into their customer or fan base – via website mentions, social media posts, signage and client communication like brochures, inclusion in events or press coverage etc. By discussing your wish list up front and listing inclusions in the agreement, you’ll agree what’s possible and be clear on deliverables at both ends.
  4. Amplify the sponsorship via your own assets. Plan for an announcement, include key milestones, events or updates in your marketing plan, consider signage, staff engagement opportunities (such as bringing one of their team in as a guest speaker). By leveraging the sponsorship through every part of your marketing plan, and across all of your customer or client touchpoints you’ll really drive your return on investment.
  5. Consider how you can extend the association over time. Beyond extension rights in the contract (which we do recommend!), think about how you can you sponsor an annual event, make a donation to their charity, create a scholarship or traineeship in their name. Use every opportunity to create a strong association between your two businesses, bring the natural ‘fit’ to life and create benefits along the way for both your business and the sporting club, event, community group, charity or individual that you sponsor.

By following these 5 golden rules and thinking BIGGER, you’ll make sponsorships and associations work for you  – and build your business’ success!

Thinking about engaging in a sponsorship or need help with amplifying an existing association? Contact   today for a free initial discussion & we’ll get you started.

Author: Sarah Ford
BlueFish Director & Marketing Specialist, Sarah Ford, has over 23 years' experience in brand management – 10 of those at Marketing Manager and Director levels and a further eight years in Retail Management. Passionate about marketing, Sarah understands the complexities of the consumer landscape and is known for her ability to create practical, cost-effective plans, which stand-out with consumers and meet business objectives. Sarah established BlueFish Marketing in 2009 and continues to provide marketing support on a campaign or project basis. Recent clients include JBS Foods, FreeTV Australia, Unilever, Paradigm Foods, MFA, Connecting Finance, Jurlique Int, Moving Mannequins, SCAD Research Inc, Little Chomps, Mummymetime and many more.