Sports sponsorship is booming never before has more money been put into marketing with athletes, sports teams, or sporting events. Sports sponsorship is a powerful and impactful marketing technique that gives companies the opportunity to generate brand awareness and customer loyalty. In times of information and advertising overload, it is imperative to incorporate storytelling and content marketing in your advertising plan.
Here are 5 reasons why sports sponsorship should be used in a brand marketing strategy.
1. Build Brand Awareness
Whether you are a well-known brand or a small local company, brand awareness is critical as it sits at the top of the purchase funnel. Some of the most common assets leveraged to enhance brand awareness are those with some sort of media value attached to them such as stadium signage or commercials during sports radio and television broadcasts. A brand can leverage marketing benefits from an athlete, event, or sports team. These sponsorship opportunities are highly visible, offering exposure to millions of consumers. Brands can drive marketing by getting the brand name, logo and mission in front of fans when they are the most engaged.
e.g. A sports sponsorship deal with MLB team – New York Mets having the benefit of brand logo and tagline displayed on signage inside the stadium, or mention of the brand by the announcers during the sporting event.
2. Become The Brand Of Choice
Increasing consumer willingness to purchase the product or service is the top priority for any company, as it is the step right before purchase. Brands are doing everything they can to become the consumer’s brand of choice and sports sponsorship's provides ample resources to accomplish this objective. Sporting events excite consumers, so pile onto the excitement by teaming up with the athlete, team or event to put your brand at the forefront of the excited consumers mind.
e.g. A sports sponsorship deal with an athlete like NFL’s New York Giants player Odell Beckham Jr. can provide your brand with the benefit of being mentioned on social media just before or after their big game. Another avenue would be to have the venue allow your product to be purchased at the event, or to offer a discount on purchasing tickets to another event at the venue such as a VIP Experience (e.g., Player Meet & Greet or participation in an in-game feature).
3. Increase Sales
What better way to boost sales than to bring your product straight to the customer or better yet entice the customer to come to you. Every company, no matter how big or small, needs to sell their product or service to stay in business. As such, the overwhelming majority of corporate sponsor are looking to leverage their partnerships to drive sales for their organization. Sport venues, events and athletes all directly drive sales, by giving the brand the benefit of having either a location in the stadium, a booth at an event, or using an athlete to promote the campaign.
e.g. There are numerous activations that can be employed to accomplish this objective. For example, a B2C company like a retail store might place a coupon on the back of your ticket stock. Meanwhile, a B2B company like a firm might leverage a suite to entertain potential clients and close that big deal they have been working on. A sports sponsorship deal with a sports property like the American Ultimate Disc League will agree to sell products to their 100,000’s of followers, and 1000’s of members through stands at their games, email marketing campaigns to their members and social media mentions to their followers.
4. Increase Website Traffic
One of the best ways to drive customers to your site is by word of mouth from someone they trust. With their favorite player or team promoting your organization and including links to your site through their social media feeds, or their teams page. The customer will feel confident that your product or service is the one they should trust and rely on. Get back-links from athlete, team and event websites to a company website via logo placement on their websites. Include company website link in an athlete, team or event social media profile, pinned post or feed. Generate interesting content from the athlete, team or event to include in the company blog.
e.g. Whether you’re a sporting goods store looking for a boost in merchandise sales or a car dealership interested in consumers getting exposure to the latest model-year cars, one of the best activations for driving traffic is a player or team promoting your company. Another example is a UFC fighter Matt Brown contributing to the company blog with an article like A UFC fighter’s top tips for keeping healthy in the workplace, and then Matt Brown promoting this blog post on his social media channels.
5. Sell To A New Audience
Many sports partners are pitching brands on the premise that their fans are more likely to conduct business with one of their sponsors. As such, they are in possession of lists of leads that their partners can use to sell their product or services too. You can also benefit from athletes spending a lot of money on gadgets, services, fashion and luxury goods. What better way to break into this elite community then getting exposure to a few of them using a sponsorship deal. Word of mouth marketing is huge among athletes, locker room chats on new products, athletes seeing what the other is wearing and using.
e.g. One of the most common partnership assets that result in a list of leads are on-site activations where your sponsor has a prize to give in exchange for your fans providing their contact information. Alternatively, this can also be done online through an enter-to-win sweepstakes. Another example is LPGA golfer Lexi Thompson as a brand ambassador who can get awareness and sales to all her LPGA companions, as well as selling into pro and amateur golf shops who want to carry products that the pros are using.