Making the Most of Your Sports Partnership

So you’ve read our post on why to participate in corporate sports partnerships and now you’re ready to dive in. Here are 5 simple tips on making the most of any sports partnership:
  1. Take advantage of your partnership by utilizing branded merchandise in your marketing initiatives and campaigns. Co-branding your promotional items with the teams logo increases both the perceived value and usability. All the sudden, the item becomes less of a “promo item” and more of a “fan item”. For this reason, we recommend co-branding internal and external merchandise whenever possible. As an example, last Fall, we helped one of the Kansas City Chief’s new partners, Community America Credit Union, launch their new partnership internally with their employees. They ordered co-branded polos for all of their employees. This gift got employees excited an on board for the new partnership and also gave them some fun, work appropriate fan gear for the season.
  2. Capitalize on the “media multiplier effect” through your social media channels. What does that mean? Well, to make it simple – tag, tweet, post, and hashtag team handles whenever it’s applicable. This will increase your social media presence, give you access to the teams followers/fan base and is an easy (and free) way to leverage your partnership.
  3. Form a marketing/advertising strategy specifically tied to the team and their season. Just drive around a big city that’s home to a professional sports team. You’ll see billboards and signs that advertise a specific brand as the “Rockets” banking partner or the “Cowboys” choice for movers; you may even see an advertisment that ties in one of the athletes to that brand. Keep in mind, not all co-branded advertisements need to directly tie back to what you are selling or providing. Sometimes creating that strong association of being recognized as a partner with the team automatically elevates your brand’s status.
  4. Choose assets that mesh with your brand’s strategy and target audience. This has been hugely important for us in developing successful partnerships. As a B2B marketing company, we realized that traditional advertising offers (signage, naming rights, etc.) would be ineffective in capturing our target audience and allowing us to build relationships. After all, how often have you seen a sign like INM Marketing Group and think, “Man, I need to call them and let them handle all of my branded merchandise needs.”? We suggest working with the team to choose the best assets specifically for your company based on your target audience and most effective methods of advertising.
  5. Utilize game suites and tickets as an incentive option internally and externally. Internally, giving out special tickets or suite invites is a great incentive item and gesture of good will to recognize or thank employees who go above and beyond. Externally, sporting events are great ways to entertain clients or prospects in a fun and laid-back environment. Inviting employees or clients provides an experience with a lasting impression that positively speaks to your relationship.
Sponsoring a team is a marketing investment. When done with careful strategy and consideration, it can be a fantastic addition to your current marketing methods. However, when rushed and poorly planned, it can leave you with a chunk of money missing out of your budget and nothing to show for it but maybe a few game tickets.

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