Yesterday I talked about all of the amazing benefits of sponsoring a local sports team, but I never tackled the science behind local marketing. So today, I thought I'd take a look at what advertising experts have to say about sponsoring sports teams. Spoiler alert: sponsoring sports teams is awesome.
Jackie Fast, the sponsorship manager and managing director over at Slingshot Sponsorship, explained that sponsoring an organization can translate into big bucks for a small company. She said, "The return on investment won’t always translate directly into pounds. But while measuring increased sales is important, benefits such as brand awareness, showcasing opportunities, customer loyalty, lead generation and goodwill, all need to be considered too.”
Why is sponsoring so successful? Well, the way Fast explains it, there's no way that sponsoring couldn't be successful. Image source: Fourtitude.com
One of the biggest advantages of sponsoring a group is that it combines the resources of both organizations in order to promote the business. As they say, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Fast explains that sponsorship utilizes "the strength, funds and audiences of two organizations to develop your product and build your brand awareness." The company provides the advertisements and the team disperses the advertisement throughout the local community.
As an example, Fast pointed to a florist who sponsored a local soccer team by paying for jerseys that sported the florist's company name. Fast pointed out, “The team sponsorship may have cost £300 ($450), but a direct-marketing campaign of the team’s borough would cost closer to £3,000 ($4,500).”
Another big advantage of sponsorship is that it promotes networking and word-of-mouth marketing. Let's suppose that a bank spends millions of dollars in order to place its logo on the hood of a NASCAR vehicle. There really isn't much of a human element in this type of advertising. Racing fans see the logo on the car and that's about it.
Now, let's suppose that a small business owner decides to sponsor a local little league team. This advertising strategy brings the human element back into the equation. The local news might pick up the story. Grateful parents might come up to the business owner and personally thank him for investing in his child's team. Local groups might be impressed by the business owner's generosity and approach the business owner with other sponsorship opportunities. But the most important thing here is that it will get people talking. The sponsorship will promote feel-good associations between the business owner and the benevolent deed.
If you really want to kick your sponsorship into high gear, Fast recommends that you find an organization whose goals meet your own. That's why Gatorade and Nike throw gobs of money at professional sports teams. The type of people who like to watch professional sports tend to enjoy playing sports at home.
If you run a daycare, sponsor a sports team for 8-year-old kids. If you own a trendy restaurant, sponsor a team for teenagers. Do you run an insurance company that's promoting a new family insurance plan? Sports teams will give you an excellent opportunity to reach out to potential customers.
So the next time you're thinking about spending money on advertising, don't immediately default to billboards or radio commercials. Sponsoring a local sports team with custom jerseys could do wonders for your small business.