GUEST: Ken Ungar, President, Founder and C-level sponsorship consultant at CHARGE
Have you ever asked yourself what your customers like outside of work?
Are your prospects overwhelmingly fans of golf, frisbee golf or horse g— er, polo?
If so, maybe you should start sponsoring some events.
Despite what you may think, sponsorship isn’t just for B2C companies. In the right hands, it can be a powerful marketing tool — whether you’re sponsoring some golf-variant or community events.
He goes over:
- Why sponsorship is all about targeting the right audience
- How the access afforded sponsors can shorten your sales cycle
- How sponsoring smaller community events gives you more bang for your buck
Sponsorship needs the right audience
Often when people think of sponsorships, they think of the B2C space. Or, at least, race cars or sports stands emblazoned with B2C company logos.
But there are numerous benefits to sponsorship in the B2B arena, too. You just need to make sure you are targeting the right audience.
So, before you rush off to sponsor a Swedish Death Metal Festival, ask yourself who your audience is. If you mostly sell in the retirement space, it’s unlikely you’ll find the right targets in the Sons of Northern Darkness moshpit.
And, sure, maybe this is too obvious as an example. But what about all the CEOs who like a sport — almost always golf — and decide to sponsor a tournament?
That’s what Ken refers to as a “hobby sponsorship.” Just because you like it doesn’t mean your target audience does.
Maybe this is fine for you, but hobby sponsorships fail to leverage one of the most important payoffs of a targeted approach: bringing powerful decision-makers to your brand.
“You’re creating an opportunity where instead of going to power, power is coming to you.”
KEN UNGAR at CHARGE
Using sponsorship to create a fertile sales environment
In the B2B world, your buyers are either professional buyers, who are really hard to reach. Or they’re C-level executives, who…are really hard to reach.
One of the beautiful things about sponsoring events is, depending on the event, you may be able to reap the benefits of access, providing your prospects with unique experience.
So, let’s say the golf tournament is the place to be for the C-suite of every potential buyer you have. If so, your sponsorship can allow you to meet the players, gain access to the clubroom or get a better view of the final hole.
And this creates a fertile ground for selling. It’s not a boardroom or an office. It’s not a high-pressure environment. It’s, instead, somewhere where your customer may actually want to be.
It’s more about the relationship and less about the transaction.
“Event sponsorships create a really fertile sales environment. Bring your prospects, get their attention and really hold it for the duration of an event.”
KEN UNGAR at CHARGE
Academics agree with this approach. Research has shown it can shorten your sales cycle. So, if you have a very long sales cycle, you can often short circuit it by incorporating a sponsorship into the mix.
Look around your community for sponsorship
Another misconception people have about sponsorship is they need to be huge in scope to be successful.
But this is way off base.
Often, the most effective sponsorship opportunities aren’t found in the Olympic Games or getting your company logo tattooed on the foreheads of The Rolling Stones (although, kudos if you pull this off).
No, the most effective sponsorships are found in much smaller events in your community. Sure, the scope is different and the dollars are smaller, but in order to justify the fee for a sponsorship, you need to actually leverage the sponsorship.
This means taking the time to activate it — developing a prospect list, sending invitations, planning the event or creating materials.
It’s hard work, but these are the things you need to do to create value for your prospects.
“Sponsorship is not something that should be feared. It’s a marketing tool like any other. Once you understand the rules of engagement, it’s relatively easy to deploy.”
KEN UNGAR at CHARGE
If you target the right audience, the right sponsorships and put the work in, sponsorship is not something you need to fear, it’s an effective marketing tool to add to your toolbox.
Sponsorships can enhance your image, build sales (and relationships) and provide demonstrable ROI, which is why the market has been constantly growing.
It’s also why you should give it a shot.