How SMEs can utilise Sponsorship to Grow 24th September, 2010

Sponsorship gives the impression that only international brands and high salary footballers can benefit from these strategies, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Sponsorship by its nature is a partnership opportunity for two organisations to create synergy.  Synergy creates savings for both businesses and so should really be something every company should undertake – especially in an economic climate such as ours.  Small businesses are even better organisations to undertake sponsorship initiatives as they are more flexible providing them the opportunity to leverage their sponsorship activation strategy when and as it is needed with the opportunities that arise.

Small Business Sponsors Supporting the Community

Sponsorship works for businesses who understand their target audience.  This needs to be the starting point.  Once you understand your target audience, you then have to consider where this audience communicates and how you can communicate with them.  Community sponsorship programmes are a great starting point, especially in the ways of sport.

Many school and community sporting events/teams are desperate for sponsorship to provide their athletes with new equipment.  Sponsoring these teams can be a cost-effective way to build brand awareness to your community.  This works especially well if you are a business who deals with customers within your area – such as restaurants, flower shops, etc.  If you considered the amount of people who are attending the games (both home and away!) and compare that to an advertisement spend in your local paper, I’m sure you will see the benefits.  In addition to providing a CSR programme for your company and its employees. 

Getting involved with community sponsorship programmes such as sport can also bring an additional element of staff engagement to your business.  If this is your objective, speak with the organisers of the event(s) you are sponsoring and see what opportunities you could create.  It might be that your local pizza shop provides pizza for the team when they have won a game or that your staff help out at practice.  This will give your staff the opportunity to be a part of something bigger – part of the community and part of your company – through your sponsorship.

Contra Agreements to Provide Your Services

Your business offers a great service or product which others need.  A great way to get involved with sponsorship with little investment would be to provide your services or products for free in return for sponsorship of an event/programme or perhaps your branding within their communications to their clients.  The key to choosing the right sponsorship contra agreement is to make sure that the event you are sponsoring and the sponsorship proposals you are considering have a large enough audience for you to gain the benefit of reaching them.

Another great example of SME sponsorship is from one of our current sponsors Phil Stannard Associates.  A small audio visual company, but with great potential, they approached the DMA Awards to get involved.  Through a contra deal, they are now the Judging Event Sponsors – an event that brings together 200 of the most influential people in the marketing industry during a four day event.  With no financial investment, they are able to showcase their services and their equipment to the people that are most likely to purchase from them in the future providing them significant ROI moving forward.

These are just a couple of the thousand ideas that are out there on how SME’s can integrate sponsorship within their organisation and utilise the benefits that many of the top brands receive, just at a smaller investment level.  If you ever need further sponsorship tips, be sure to check out our Top Sponsorship Tips on the Slingshot Sponsorship website.