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Sponsorship and B2B Sales
Brand awareness and recognition are commonly cited as top objectives and determining factors for many firms entering into sponsorship deals. McDonalds, Coca-Cola, and Panasonic are all firms that leverage their partnerships to stay top of mind for their consumers. It’s easy to see how an Olympic partnership could help drive sales results for these consumer driven firms. Recently however, business to business firms have been donning the sponsorship hat with strategic objectives in mind.
I’m hard pressed to name even a single product I own that was produced by DOW Chemical, yet they recently signed on as an Olympic partner for the next five Olympic Games (2012 through 2020). DOW’s CEO is quoted as saying “…our association with the Olympic Games will present Dow with tremendous new business opportunities, making this partnership a powerful growth catalyst that comes at the right time in our Company’s strategic transformation.” With an estimate of only 22.9% of revenue coming from end consumers, it is safe to say DOW is expecting the Olympic partnership to help grow new business opportunities at the business to business level. DOW is not alone, GE and Atos Origin make a majority of their revenue from transactions with other businesses and both are Worldwide Olympic partners. Other high level properties have taken notice of this trend of business to business firms joining the sponsorship ranks and are facilitating the needs of their new sponsors in the form of sponsorship summits. NASCAR has been a leader in this field. Since 2004 NASCAR has brought its multitude of sponsors together through its innovative B2B council. It’s produced results too; Ford has credited the B2B council in securing corporate sales of over 16,000 cars since joining the NASCAR B2B council in 2007 (IEG.com, http://bit.ly/aWTJcv).
So what does this mean for the average sponsorship program, ones that may not have as many zeros associated with the cheque? In addition to insuring a sponsorship property will meet your marketing objectives here are three things to keep in mind when looking to leverage B2B opportunities through sponsorship.
- Look for properties that have a current sponsorship portfolio that you either currently do some business with or have targeted as strong potential clients.
- Try and find a sponsorship opportunity that currently helps sponsors come together in an environment that encourages B2B relationships
- Leverage your common sponsorship property as a means of showing business congruity between your two companies. If both companies have been diligent in insuring the property fits their brands, then its safe to say that both companies most likely have other aspects in common.
Sponsorship is an increasingly multifaceted marketing tool that can help drive business objectives for almost any size and type of company.