An interesting article popped up in Inc. Magazine the other day by Issie Lapowsky about the world of sports sponsorships. CMO’s and marketers love sports sponsorships – and rightly so. After all, what CMO wouldn’t want to impress their stakeholders with highly placed visibility on major sports fields across the U.S.? Sports sponsorships have a way of reaching a lot of eyeballs.
However, the Inc. article had a different twist in that using secondary sports for sponsorship offers a great platform to own a niche market for a fraction of the dollars. As an example, the use of MMA events, which can be had for a fraction of the cost of major sports – with fewer sponsors and targeted demo’s – it makes great sense. While it doesn’t reach millions, it reaches the right audience for certain brands.
But why stop at sports sponsorships when there are so many other options outside of niche sports? While sports sponsorships have their place, there is something to be said for titling a major festival or leading a cause-marketing effort for that same fraction of cost. If executed properly, engagement with these type of event stakeholders can prove to be as, or even more, successful than the passionate sports fan.
In 2011, over 60% of all sponsorship dollars were spent on sports sponsorships. Yet, more people attend music festivals across the U.S. than they did college sports games. While those festivals didn’t net nearly the amount of eyeballs that a televised sporting event would– the level of engagement among those in attendance at a college game is equal to the engagement opportunities that can be found at any festival and for potentially fewer dollars. And, with a festival, you don’t have to worry about your competitors buying commercial slots that confuse the ‘at home’ viewer about who the “official” sponsor of their favorite college team really is.
The Great Global Recession did a lot to change the way consumers embrace brands. This shift has made the use of cause marketing more important today than it was just a couple of years ago. People consume advertising differently than they use to; with more skepticism and armed with greater information about products and the companies that make them. Cause marketing can provide brands with an immediate connection with consumers that no ad campaign could ever achieve. Today, consumers are demanding that companies be proactive in their support of communities and causes that are meaningful to the consumer and are organic for the brand. As a brand manager, do you know what your consumers and colleagues are passionate about?
Several years ago, Dannon was the leader in U.S. yogurt sales. They were overtaken by Yoplait in short order when their lids began “saving lives” through a breast cancer cause initiative. The cause tie-in resonated with both internaland external stakeholders, creating an unprecedented wave of change within the U.S. yogurt industry. I’m not sure support for the Olympic Gymnastics team would have had the same effect.
These opportunities aren’t just for Fortune 500 companies either. Rights fees for causes, associations and festivals and fairs in several of your targeted markets can be garnered for the cost of just one NFL team sponsorship. Yes, it requires a little more work to locate these opportunities– but the results can be sustainable and far greater.
So, what’s the best way to find these gems? First, find out what is going to resonate with stakeholders that can be organically embraced, not forced by a slick ad campaign.
A great resource for brand managers and CMO’s in finding those opportunities that are going to connect with your stakeholders is through SponsorPark.com. The site has over 12,000 listed sponsorship opportunities that can be viewed using search parameters to help narrow down opportunities. Saved search parameters will alert your email when new opportunities match your search criteria. Best of all, the service is free.
So, finding the right opportunity to connect your brand with consumers doesn’t necessarily have to be like searching for a needle in the haystack. SponsorPark.com locates all the needles you need.