How the right structure pays off for supporting a cause or organization


I love sponsorships, and if structured right, they can be one of the most strategic marketing partnerships for your company’s new business development efforts. I have used sponsorships as a part of a successful marketing strategy for years.

Here are some of the most important lessons I’ve learned as well as tips to get the most mileage from your sponsorship dollars.

Will you reach your target audience?

I often use sponsorships as a vertical marketing strategy. Industry, trade and business associations, organizations and conferences can often help you reach a desired group of prospects that might otherwise be challenging to identify or get to.

If you can reach a high percentage of your target customers through a sponsorship, it is worth further exploration.

Find the right fit

Look for the venues and opportunities that provide you with the closest match to the target audience you want to reach. If you don’t see an opportunity that feels like the right fit, create a sponsorship program to propose one that is.

For instance, you might want to reach office managers within a specific industry. The trade association may or may not have specific programming for office managers. If there is not an existing program, work with the association to create one. Check with them to see if they would entertain a sponsorship of all or a portion of the scheduled or unscheduled programming.

Know what you want in return

In developing strategic sponsorships, I rarely select a menu option. Many times some of the best sponsorship opportunities are not on the list. Be creative and don’t be shy about asking for what you need.

For instance, possibilities include a list of attendees, opt-in email addresses, the ability to conduct an attendee survey and stage presence, among others. Most organizations are willing to work with you. The more successful the sponsorship, the more likely you will continue it. You want it to be a win-win for both of you.