Sponsorship opportunities

How to Assess a Sponsorship Opportunity

572 562 Breathe Marketing

Sooner or later, every business is approached with a sponsorship opportunity . . . and once you agree to one, you’ll find other organisations quickly knocking on your door with more chances to support conferences, fundraisers, community and charity events.

Sponsorships can be a great way to raise brand awareness and (potentially) increase sales, IF you chose the right events, but there are a number of questions you should ask before you take the plunge. Here’s a look at some important things to think about before committing your time and marketing dollars to any sponsorship.

Important questions to ask

The first question to ask yourself is, what do you hope to get out of the sponsorship? Are you hoping to raise brand awareness and get your name out to more people? Are you going to leverage the opportunity to get more sales in the short or long term?  Be clear from the start about your goals so expectations are managed.

The second key question to ask is, does a sponsorship align with your overall marketing strategy? Does the audience for the event or opportunity align with your target market? Does the event fit with your company mission, values and how you want to be perceived in the market?  For example, if you position your organisation as being family-owned or family-friendly, you’ll want any sponsorships to align with this.

Here are several other questions to ask before committing to any sponsorship:

  • How will your company be identified or showcased? Just getting your logo on something is NOT going to cut it.  Despite what you may be told by the sponsorship organisers, there’s little value in adding your logo to programs or TV screens, or having a name-check in announcements.  These things can help with branding and awareness, but there’s no real call to action or longevity if you just get your logo on a poster. See if you have a chance to tell your story or reach out to potential customers in a way that’s meaningful. Getting leverage from sponsorship is key.
  • How many other sponsors are there?  Will you have exclusivity in your industry category? If you get a mid-range sponsorship level, will you be overshadowed by bigger sponsors?
  • Does the sponsorship deal include perks such as free passes, VIP tickets, an email lists of attendees you can use, a designated table for guests, etc.? All of these things can be used as leverage by holding contests for customers to win tickets, provide benefits for staff, build relationships, gain new emails for future marketing, etc.
  • How will you measure success? How will you gauge whether or not your investment was worthwhile – and worth doing again?

The REAL costs

Last – but certainly not least – you need to assess if the sponsorship fits your budget. The dollars spent at any given sponsorship level are usually just the beginning. Overall, the rule of thumb with sponsorships is that you need to spend at least twice the amount of the sponsorship on supplementary activities to get the appropriate return on investment.

For example, if the sponsorship level is $10,000, you need to plan on spending $20,000 in total, looking for additional PR/advertising/communications opportunities, to get the full value out of your investment. Examples of this extra spend may come in the form of printed materials, banners, giveaways for attendees (like pens, t-shirts, other branded items, etc.) to help promote your brand or products way beyond your logo appearing on a program or some signage.

Need help deciding whether a sponsorship opportunity is right for you – or how to make the most of one? Contact Breathe Marketing today.


Anna Nixon-Smith

All stories by: Anna Nixon-Smith