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You see their logos at baseball games and trade shows. You often receive their brochures and CD-ROMS just before you hear a celebrity deliver a motivational speech. Even little leaguers bear their messages on t-shirts as they slide into home plate for the very first time.
They’re sponsors – and they’re utilizing a unique form of marketing to build their brand and solidify their hold on the market.
Sponsorship marketing is an effective and accepted part of the world’s business culture. From the moment we first heard Big Bird tell us that this episode of Sesame Street was “brought to you by the Letter Q and the Number 7,” we came to grips with the fact that events cost money, and it’s the generosity of the movers and shakers in a particular industry that make any given event possible.
Sponsorship marketing – particularly in the health care industry – can be a surefire way to position your agency as a leader in the area of home health care provision. The key is to be shrewd and strategic in the way you choose your sponsorship opportunities. The events you sponsor should provide windows through which you can reach your target market.
Blogger Kathy Hendershot-Hurd considers the example of a chiropractic practice that specifically targets children. In this case, she argues that a children’s sports team would be an excellent sponsorship opportunity to reach youngsters – and their parents.
“When the coach contacts you to pick up the check for sponsorship, be sure to have brochures prepared for the coach to hand out at the beginning of the season,” Hendershot-Hurd writes. “Ideally, the brochure should cover things young athletes can do to avoid injuries and what to do if injuries occur. Of course, the brochure should also cover which injuries can best be treated with chiropractic care.”
By attending the games, cheering the players on, meeting the parents and holding an ice cream party at the end of the season, she argues, the chiropractic practice will cement itself in the minds of the community as a generous health care provider that cares about the needs of children. When a child suffers a back injury, the parent will know where to go.
There are a host of sponsorship opportunities other than sports teams: trade shows, seminars, speaking engagements, state fairs, and holiday celebrations – the possibilities are endless. How can you choose the right one for you? Here are some tips.
1) Consider return on investment. What kind of exposure will your agency receive? Specifically, will it help you reach your target market? If it’s not targeted enough, the cost of the sponsorship may outweigh your relative gains. Run the numbers first to make sure you’ll come out on top.
2) Does the event enhance your image? One of the driving motivations of sponsoring an event is to improve your brand. Obviously a health care provider likely would not want to sponsor a pipe smokers’ convention. Find events that would highlight your agency’s experience, compassion and professionalism.
“Coca Cola, for example, is always looking to generate a positive influence of their products in the minds of their consumers, and as such regularly support events they feel can influence consumer opinions,” writes Susan Friedman for About.com.
3) Who are the other sponsors? Like it or not, you are often judged by the company you keep. You can’t control how other sponsors conduct business, but you can choose whether to co-sponsor with them. Blogger George Torok suggests taking a closer look at those who might be joining your endeavor and determine if the association will enhance your reputation or decimate it.
4) Believe. Above all, Torok says it’s crucial that your agency knows about and supports the event that’s taking place. “If you don’t believe in the program, group or their battle cry – then stay away from it,” he writes. “If you fake your support you will be uncovered and it will haunt you and hurt you.”
5) Flock with birds of a feather. For a home care agency, the best sponsorships are with chronic disease associations. Find which ones are favorites of physicians that are on the #1 target list. Look for associations that are not already sponsored by competitors so your agency can really make an impact.
Sponsorship marketing does more than get your message out. It demonstrates to the community that your agency has heart – that it is involved with the community. Now more than ever, it is critical for health care providers to show that they’re focused on care – not the bottom line. It also positions you to be with those who are potential referral sources for your agency. Referrals come from those who know and trust you, and working together is the best way to gain that trust.
corecubed knows how to best help you pick the right sponsorship for your agency. Let us help. Call today. We can show you how sponsorship can make you Number One in your community.
Watch the video below about IBM’s strategic sponsorship of Wimbledon: