Sponsoring, as a form of good publicity, is a multifaceted marketing tool. And to ensure it reaches your B2B target group, you need the right goals and the fitting strategies for your company. Read more about these in this guide.
B2B and B2C: similarities and differences in the reasons for sponsoring
Just one of several disciplines in marketing, sponsoring is a business exchange between two partners. The one gives the other money, goods or services – and the other returns the favour. This means that sponsors – usually companies – are not simply giving something away; they see their support as an investment. And this should pay off with:
Compared to standard advertising, sponsoring does not focus on immediately encouraging sales – although this should naturally be the long-term effect of this form of marketing. In this case, it is mainly about making sure people have a positive awareness of the sponsors and that the company’s products or services are on their minds. This can be achieved, for instance, with an image transfer of the sponsored onto the sponsor.
This goal is aimed for both in the B2C as well as in the B2B segments. However, there is a difference in the two: the target group, which is much more honed in the B2B business. In this case, sponsoring serves mainly to …
- … build up an intensive, direct tie to the customer.
- … position the partner as one with great competence.
B2B sponsoring requires the fitting strategy
B2B products are often expensive and more complex than goods for end consumers. Which is why aspects such as trust and credibility play such a significant role between companies. Those who can establish themselves as a credible partner in the long term in this profession have a huge advantage over the competition. Sponsoring can help to make an effective contribution – when it is strategically set up in a way that makes sense.
A decisive question in this respect is: what or who do I want to sponsor? The answer depends strongly on the target group on the one hand, and on the other with the image which the sponsor wants to convey. The sponsor has the following options, amongst others:
- Sports sponsoring is one of the most well-known disciplines. Many companies use this kind of sponsoring to appear dynamic and active. They rely on an image transfer from an amateur or professional sports club or individual athletes, as well as from (major) sports events.
- The arts and culture sponsoring address a rather intellectual target group. Companies that support theatre, film, music or fine arts are mentioned in the programme brochures or at events, either local or international.
- Social and environmental sponsoring can benefit non-profit organisations. With the support of projects, organisations and individual persons for a good cause, the sponsor is showing how important societal problems and their solutions are. Health and science sponsoring can have a similar effect.
Compared to standard advertising, sponsoring does not focus on immediately encouraging sales – although this should naturally be the long-term effect of this form of marketing.
How to leverage sponsoring in the B2B segment
The mentioning of a company or a brand is an important factor in sponsoring. However, sponsoring can be used in another way or intensified. For instance, events give sponsors the chance to invite business partners to exclusive venues. Here is where the idea of “hospitality seats” comes in. This makes it possible for you to start up personal talks with the business partners and/or to present your products and services to them.
Sponsoring can also extend to the digital realm. Companies can spread the word about their activities via channels such as newsletters and social media.
One this is clear: sponsoring is a marketing marathon, as in contrast to traditional product advertising it does not achieve short-term success. Instead, its effect unfolds in the middle and long terms. Much in line with the proverb “Constant dripping wears away a stone”, it should be permanently set up in the marketing mix.
In addition to persistence, sponsoring requires a monitoring of its success. And this, in turn, requires measurable, fixed goals identified in advance. These could be:
- The number of mentions in the media
- An increase in awareness
- A boost in sales
- Winning over new customers
- Employee satisfaction
Depending on its intention, sponsoring can be monitored based on figures or via surveys. The tools for these are, amongst others, target group analyses, qualitative and quantitative media monitoring, or the measuring of emotions. However, it is not always easy or possible to take an isolated view of the effect of sponsoring.