Small & large businesses in George suffer equally when it comes to requests for sponsorship. Countless times a year someone knocks on my door looking for a sponsorship for a local football team, a school sports tour or the like.
Note that sponsorship and donations are two entirely different things. Sponsorship is marketing and a business expense. Donations is a decision often made without logic being involved, and is only a business expense as far as the SARS rebate goes, when applicable.
Now how does one know whether a proposed sponsorship will be worthwhile from a marketing perspective? Let’s take an example.
I was looking for a cycle jersey to cycle the Argus bike race in. The cost of a jersey with your company branding on it would be around R700. Should you go for it?
The first thing to look at is exposure. How many people will see the jersey and the company logo on it? I would guess in this instance not many. So it does not look like a good deal.
This is where we often overlook the more important aspect of the secondary exposure, or, as I like to call it, the conversation effect. I talk, I tweet and I blog. If someone sponsors me with a cycling jersey I am going to talk about it, tweet it, post it to Facebook and tell others about it. I won’t necessarily promote the company or what it does, but I will express goodwill towards the company, and that is often enough.
A company that is seen to be interacting with the community at large is seen as being willing to engage with its customers, and this is a big deal, certainly not to be ignored. Often you can magnify this effect by engaging on the same social media channels. Reply to my tweet, Facebook post or blog, and that way drive the online conversation.
I for one like to do business with companies that engage. If they are always out there interacting with their customers you know they will stand behind their products and services.