Sponsorships are an important marketing channel that has been producing consistent results for decades, and in the age of digital media, it only becomes more essential. Businesses that are able to identify the most suitable sponsorship partners and promote the partnerships they forge in the online space can make a huge impact on the audience and gain a lot of new customers. Being associated with positive causes is the best advertisement money can buy, and it often trumps traditional media campaigns when it comes to brand building.

Of course, there is more to a successful sponsorship than simply giving money to someone famous or sympathetic. Brands must carefully nurture connections with the right partners while taking into account their own development plans so that the sponsorship pushes them in the right direction. There are countless strategic concerns that come into play, and every company should decide how to use sponsorships most effectively.

Marketing & Sponsorship

Marketing & Sponsorship

What is Sponsorship Marketing?

In the broadest terms, sponsorship marketing is an agreement between two entities where one of them is supporting the other in exchange for public endorsement. Such agreements can take many different shapes and involve material or financial support given on a short-term or long term basis. At the same time, the obligations of the recipient towards the sponsor (if any) are clearly defined in the contract so that the relationship is mutually beneficial.

What is Sponsorship Marketing

What is Sponsorship Marketing

A classic example of sponsorship marketing is when businesses pay for endorsements from world-class athletes or entertainers. A soccer team might have its main sponsor whose logo is emblazoned on the team shirts and prominently displayed on the stadium, while individual players could also have their own sponsors (i.e. shoe manufacturers). In this example, the sponsors gain a lot of brand visibility from all the sports fans, while the team and players are cashing in on their popularity.

Another common arrangement is that a non-profit organization seeks support from multiple sponsors to operate or conduct specific activities (i.e. hold public events). Unlike with charitable contributions that can also be used to finance cultural or socially valuable activities, sponsorships are always given with the explicit requirement to publically name the benefactors, such as by naming the event or its parts in sponsor’s honor. This type of sponsorship may not catch as many headlines, but could make significant impact on the local or regional level.

How to Make a Change

How to Make a Change

When used the right way, celebrity marketing & sponsorship deals can act as central pillars of a successful promotional strategy. Many big name companies rely on this marketing channel to stay relevant and increase their prime time media presence at a reasonable cost, while smaller brands can launch into public consciousness with a well-targeted sponsorship. In some cases, sponsorships can last a long time and cause the brand name to become permanently associated with a beloved event, organization, or person.

Why You Should Consider Sponsorship Marketing for Your Business?

Since sponsorship deals can be pricey and are not directly supporting sales, many businesses believe they can’t afford them. This may not always be true, as sponsorship marketing can be conducted even without a huge budget. Aside from micro companies or heavily indebted enterprises, all businesses should consider this approach if one of the following conditions are met:

How to Develop a Sponsorship Marketing Strategy

Formulating a sustainable and profitable sponsorship marketing strategy is a serious task that requires a lot of foresight and planning. To begin with, companies of different sizes should approach this question in vastly different ways – where large brands might seek maximum exposure, smaller companies will typically prefer a cost-efficient sponsorship. A number of other factors play a role, from the industry in which the sponsor is active to the nature of the partnership and the type of activities it involves.

 Develop a Sponsorship Marketing Strategy

Develop a Sponsorship Marketing Strategy

Having clear objectives is very important – simply throwing money at a popular name and expecting instant results is beyond naïve. Sponsors should carefully choose who they are partnering with based on overlapping interests and organic links. A company should only enter partnerships that fit into their existing brand identity and support goals that are clearly consistent with their corporate mission. There are countless cautionary tales of sponsorships that ended in embarrassment for the brand, which illustrates why it may be wiser to be very selective.

Naturally, the available budget determines the extent of collaboration and the level of visibility a company can receive. Being a general sponsor of a high-profile sports or culture event can be quite expensive, so only companies that stand to gain clear advantages and have the resources on their disposal can even consider this type of promotion. When funds are limited, sponsorships should be handed out more carefully and cover activities that are in direct relation to the company offering.

Frequently Asked Questions about Sponsorship Marketing

Are long-term partnerships between brands better than short-term sponsorships?

While long-standing sponsorship agreements introduce stability and enable deep relationship-building, they are not always feasible or practical. A short-term sponsorship deal could also deliver plenty of marketing value if the match between the sponsor and recipient is good and well-coordinated with the overall sentiments in the market.

What do sponsors expect in return for their money and support?

There are situations in which sponsorships are given purely out of altruism, but more often the agreement includes some promotional activities. It’s common for the sponsor’s name and logo to be displayed at the event venue, printed on the marketing materials, or mentioned during press conferences and speeches.

How important should sponsorship marketing be in my overall business plan?

It’s not really prudent to build a promotional strategy purely on sponsorship deals, but some brands are permanently engaged in this marketing format and constantly find new targets for sponsorships. Ideally, this channel should be combined with other marketing techniques, including brand visibility ads and campaigns that directly affect sales.


Even though sponsorships are a well-known form of promotion, many companies are unsure how to fit them into their marketing plans. There is a perception that sponsorships are basically a luxury of deep-pocketed brands that want to flaunt their power by appearing on the brightest stage. However, there are ways for smaller companies to benefit from partnerships with popular people or organizations even if they don’t have millions to throw at them. It’s safe to say that sponsorship agreements will remain hugely important in the future, and brands should be creative about leveraging their value.


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