Why Companies Sponsor: The Main Goals and Objectives of Sponsorship
On this blog, I talk a lot about what’s in it for you from the perspective of your organization or business when you chase sponsorship. You get funding, access to vendors and other parties you need, publicity, promotions, and a whole new audience to potentially convert. Why does the sponsor company bother accepting sponsorship requests though? Is it simply to look good?
Sponsor companies have their own goals and objectives when offering sponsorship, which can include the following:
- Lead generation
- Improving brand awareness
- Embracing a new role
- Standing out from the competition
- Gaining media exposure
- Extending their reach
- Driving more sales
Ahead, I’ll talk about the importance of these 7 goals for any sponsor company. Understanding what your sponsor wants will make it easier for you to craft a winning sponsorship proposal that just may yield a long-term winning partnership between you two.
Let’s get started.
7 Reasons Sponsors Work with Businesses and Organizations Like Yours
When you’re the small fish in a big pond, it’s easy to think those other big fish don’t have to do much of the same business tasks you focus so much energy on. Yet when it comes to lead generation, it’s something every business must commit to. Sure, it’s much easier to find leads if you’re a Fortune 500 versus a startup or small not-for-profit, but the point still stands.
Your sponsor company has an optimized website, robust social media presence, and lots of authority-driven blog content to draw in leads. They can also work with sponsors and enjoy the leads that trickle in from the publicity, pre-event hype, and post-event contact gathering.
This hopefully explains why sponsors are so picky about which companies or organizations they choose to work with. If there’s no intersection between your audience and the sponsor company’s, then the sponsor knows the lead gen chances are slim. This already takes away from one of their chief goals to offering sponsorship, so they’ll pass on you.
Better Brand Awareness
Every brand wants to achieve that household name status that companies like Apple, Nike, Google, and Pepsi so enjoy. This helps your company rise in the ranks, gaining more clout and building your audience in kind.
Even though your sponsor company might be more well-known than your business or organization, that doesn’t mean the sponsor is super known to the average consumer. However, by accepting sponsorship, the sponsor company’s name will suddenly be all over the news. Now people will talk about them in a positive light.
A Chance to Embrace a New Role
Also tied into the above goal of becoming a bigger, better-known name is another objective of the sponsor company: to take on a new role. Now, instead of simply being another company among thousands or millions of others in their niche, your sponsor company has taken on the unique role of corporate citizen.
A few months back, I published an article about industries to consider for sponsorship. In that article, I cited some real big-name companies and the reasons they sponsor smaller businesses and organizations in their roles as corporate citizens.
For example, bank chain Wells Fargo mentioned they have a desire to improve their local communities. Thus, they only tend to work with 501 c3 sponsors in areas like K-12 education, human and health services, and arts and culture.
Food brand Clif Bar also prefers to better the community through its sponsorships. Whole Foods, a large name in grocery, seeks to promote wellness and health in the sponsors it chooses.
In working to improve a community or the health of its residents, these companies take on a different role than what you usually know them for. The news this kind of corporate citizenship will generate wins the sponsor company acclaim and praise. What company wouldn’t want that?
Standing out from the Competition
As I said before, no matter what industry your sponsor company works in, they have thousands if not millions of others who do the same. Yet there has to be a reason why you’re seeking to work with them specifically, right? Hopefully, it’s not just their deep pockets.
For instance, maybe you were drawn to the sponsor company because you read their about page or company history and noticed some comparisons to your own organization’s beginnings. Perhaps you saw this company has a long history of sponsorships in industries like yours, so you figured you’d be a good fit. You certainly should have researched the sponsor company’s audience as well to determine if there’s any alignment between theirs and yours.
If your target company offers sponsorships while even a few of their most steep competitors don’t, then that’s an instant advantage for the sponsor company. It’s those means of differentiating themselves that will continue to lure in sponsorship prospects for the sponsor company.
Gaining Media Exposure
If you’ve ever done some cursory research into the costs of getting a billboard erected in your city or town or even paying for a radio or TV ad, then you know how media exposure costs the big bucks. This is something your business or organization likely can’t afford, but your sponsor company? They have the finances and the digital Rolodex to get the word out about your partnership.
When your organization or business begins getting a media flurry of interview requests and positive mentions in newspapers and outlets in your city/town, it gets easy to forget about how your sponsor company is benefiting as well. They are indeed benefitting, as the more mentions of their name in the news, the more leads they generate, the more web traffic they attract, and the more of an advantage they have over their competitors because of the media buzz.
This is again yet another important reason why sponsors must so carefully choose the organizations and businesses they opt to partner with. Let’s say for a moment that you’re part of a major company such as Whole Foods. You want sponsors that are aimed towards health and wellness, maybe not exclusively, but in the majority. Yet if you or someone else within your party greenlights a sponsorship request without doing your due diligence, you might find out later this company manufactures junk food or something similar.
That news would generate media exposure, but the wrong kind of exposure.
It can go both ways too. Perhaps your organization thought you had found a great sponsor company, then more information comes out about them, like they were involved in fraud or embezzlement.
Unlike in the first example, where a grocery brand like Whole Foods will undoubtedly bounce back, your smaller business or organization might not. Due diligence is key before all that could-be-great media exposure becomes the worst thing to ever happen.
Greater Audience Reach
One of the biggest perks of a suitable sponsorship/sponsored company deal is the opportunity for audience intersection. I’ll say it again that you need to have audience data before you so much as even sit down to write the first draft of your sponsorship proposal.
This data is your audience’s demographics, such as their location, gender, age, marital status, employment sector, educational background, whether they have children, and how many. It’s also good to know their brand preferences in areas that are especially relevant to your organization, be those travel, telecom, retail, insurance, automotive, etc.
This is the information you want front and center. Not only is it good for your target sponsor company to see, but you also need this info handy so you can see where audience alignment may exist.
The sponsor is giving you the keys to growing your business and thus your audience. You’ll get media attention, funding or help with your event, web traffic, and new leads. In exchange for their expertise, your sponsor company gets to feed off your audience. They may capture the contact information of your event attendees or use email marketing. Then, they’ll try to convert these leads to their company as well. You should be doing the same with your sponsor’s audience.
Driving More Sales
Another key objective that sponsor companies focus on is increasing their sales. After all, they need the money to keep offering more sponsorships, be that with your organization or another company.
After converting your leads or at least beginning the conversion process, the sponsor company can sell its products or services to these leads. Since the leads are more qualified thanks to the sponsor company’s vetting, their likelihood of taking advantage of these offers is much higher.
You know why you look into sponsorship: to achieve goals that your organization or business otherwise never could have. Whether that’s putting on a five-star event or getting funding for growth, you rely on your sponsor for a lot.
The reasons a sponsor chooses to work with an organization like yours are multiple. They can generate an influx of qualified leads, use your audience to grow theirs, sell more products and services, and differentiate themselves from their competitors.
Understanding the equation from both sides lets you think like a sponsor so you can sharpen up your sponsorship proposal. Best of luck!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Baylis is the President and CEO of The Sponsorship Collective and a self-confessed sponsorship geek.
After several years as a sponsor (that’s right, the one investing the money!) Chris decided to cross over to the sponsorship sales side where he has personally closed tens of millions of dollars in sponsorship deals. Chris has been on the front lines of multi-million dollar sponsorship agreements and has built and coached teams to do the same.
Chris now spends his time working with clients to value their assets and build strategies that drive sales. An accomplished speaker and international consultant, Chris has helped his clients raise millions in sponsorship dollars.