In the internet age, when big data and social platforms like Facebook dominate corporate advertising spends, it’s easy for SMEs with limited budgets to ignore more traditional marketing methods. But I believe that there’s still a place for sponsorship.
Sponsorship goes beyond the basic goals of exposure, reach and online engagement, and gives businesses the chance to connect with industry peers and their local community in the real world. And that has more potential benefits than most people realise.
Hearts and minds
There's a cost to any business in winning customers, whether it’s through competitive pricing, advertising or sourcing leads. Unlike these approaches, however, sponsorship within limitations can be an effective way of winning hearts and minds. This is because who you sponsor will give potential customers insight into your core values and ethos.
Simple acts like supporting regional sports teams, as we've done with the Tean Valley Netball Team, shows you care about your community beyond mere business interests. The same principle can apply to any area you’re keen to emphasise, whether you’re sponsoring education initiatives to show a commitment to training and support, or an environmental initiative to prove your green credentials.
If you’re looking to align yourself more closely with people in a specific industry, sponsoring independent research institutes or trade bodies is an excellent path to take. It shows you’re interested in the health of the industry at large and lets potential clients know that you both see and care about the bigger picture.
Like other service providers in our sector, we sponsor the IRRV (Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation) – an activity that’s hugely important to our council clients thanks to the regional events and seminars that benefit local authorities in the area. The Institute is also responsible for training and education within local government, and supporting such activity can provide valuable insights and opportunities to contribute ideas.
Perhaps the biggest economic case for helping industry activity, however, is that you’re immediately recognised as a potential trading partner. It shows you’re open for business, but also for discussion and debate. And in a service sector like ours, that’s key for clients, many of whom will have specific challenges that they’ll expect their service providers to meet.
Of course, one of the most important aspects is the face-to-face contact that sponsorship can provide. When you back an event, conference or organisation, you’re bound to be invited to attend. This is an invaluable opportunity to meet potential clients and start a productive dialogue – and one that can’t be matched in other marketing and advertising approaches.
Many thanks for viewing my post; I hope you found it useful. If you did, please feel free to share it with your network. And, before you go, would you use the comment section below to let me know what you found most interesting about what I had to say and how it was relevant to your own circumstances?