0
How to get a cycling sponsorship NOW!

How to get a cycling sponsorship now for your club, team or event? The timing is perfect with the Tour de France underway – exciting stage finishes, record crowds and worldwide audiences receiving hours of daily coverage via every medium possible. If there was ever a time to take advantage of having sponsorship conversations and discussing the value of cycling sponsorship to companies — it’s NOW!

Simple steps on how to get cycling sponsorship NOW!

Hit your social network hard: Take the time to review your social media connections. Finding prospective sponsors by through your social media network could lead to “warm” business introductions (you know someone in common vs. a “cold” call where neither of you know anything about each other).

Sponsored riders breakaway to win and to provide TV time for their sponsors

Use social media and social networking to find companies that could be prospective sponsors, and as a vehicle to help prospective sponsors find you. Effective use of social networking tools as faceBook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter can be used to provide your club or team with better visibility, particularly if you leverage the correct words and phrases (those your audience would use to find organizations to sponsor, or to help them solve a problem). Social media and social networking can help you identify, research, and subsequently engage companies that might be potential candidates to sponsor your club, team or event.

Research & engage companies that are active in your community or that might have a natural tie in with your club (offer products that can be marketed or sold to the cycling demographic, consumers in the healthy, active lifestyle segment, etc.). These companies will see the value of aligning with your club to support the community and its constituents. This is also excellent PR for companies which can lead to increased brand awareness and recognition, and customer loyalty. (Please see “How do you find companies or individuals to engage in cycling sponsorship discussions? Where do you start?” for more information)

Look for companies experiencing change such as expansion (as pointed out in 5-hour Energy post), a merger or acquisitions, a new product announcements or management changes. These could all be a signal for a potential sponsorship opportunity. New products might target a segment which aligns with cycling’s demographic. An acquisition or merger could mean the company needs to re-evaluate their branding. Cycling sponsorship is an excellent vehicle for helping a company to “get the word out.”

Understand your audience – Identifying how your audience views sponsorship, the importance they place upon it for achieving their business objectives, philanthropic goals, public image; gives you immediate insight into how to find prospective sponsors, and how to assist them in finding you. By using keywords, terms and phrases; in your sponsorship proposals, sponsorship letters, newsletters and news releases, on your web and social media sites; you automatically increase your ability to attract companies and organizations that might have an interest in supporting your club, team, or event. The key again is to focus on the prospective sponsor and their needs. (Please also see “Securing cycling sponsorship by understanding why companies sponsor?”)

Sell the value of cycling sponsorship as a marketing tool.

Cycling provides a highly visible, and effective, marketing and advertising platform helping companies reach their target audience. Many companies are implementing marketing strategies that take advantage of the continued growth of cycling, the health & wellness market segment and eco-friendly transportation. Innovative companies are aligning their offerings with these trends to fuel incremental growth and sales.

Cycling sponsorship provides visibility for companies, brands, products and services

Position your cycling clubs’ activities and initiatives (group rides, rally’s, races, and safe cycling campaigns), community service, and external communications (website, social media, and news releases) as an effective marketing engine to showcase a company’s brand, products and services.

Cost effective alternative to traditional marketing, advertising and public relations methods: Sponsorship of your cycling club will provide companies with an efficient medium for getting their key messages into the market. Chris Baldwin’s Reuters article “Sponsors see value in backing cycling teams” demonstrates the affordability, reach, and effectiveness of cycling sponsorship to promote a brand, increase brand visibility, awareness and sales, vs. traditional advertising, marketing and public relations channels.

Provides platform to generate positive PR: Cycling sponsorship creates opportunities for companies to demonstrate social responsibility while driving brand visibility and recognition. Cycling addresses issues as health and wellness, environmental and ecological concerns, “green”, alternative transportation, and air quality/pollution. Sponsoring cycling helps companies demonstrate social responsibility, philanthropy and community involvement, which are key components garnering positive PR by “serving the greater good”, resulting in increased brand visibility and recognition. Positive PR can lead to increased consumer loyalty, sales and revenue.

Cycling events can contribute to tourism and economic base for a community: Events are huge for communities. A community sponsoring a successful cycling event can benefit from tourism by bringing visitors to town, in a rapidly growing demographic, that would spend money and help provide a boost for the local economy. (Please see

Opens new markets and segments for sponsors: Cycling is a rapidly growing market segment and demographic corporate sponsors can leverage: The cycling demographic is continuing to grow as the second most popular recreational activity in the United States. According to the National Association of Sporting Goods Retailers study, in 2010 the U.S. had approximately 60+ million people participating in our sport (48 million adults; 14.3 million children). In addition, the study noted the total U.S. spectator base as 11 million people. Cycling sponsorship offers companies as Quiznos5-hour Energy, HTC and OptumHealth additional exposure in our market segment, while providing an opportunity to take advantage of the growing global trend of the healthy, active lifestyle market.

Customize your content to your audience: Make sure that your sponsorship proposal, sponsorship letter, areas of your website, and all communications geared towards securing sponsorship and funding are customized to address the specific issues of the intended audience. Follow the basic premise of why companies sponsor – to make money, to save money, for image! Sell your story by integrating your club, team, or events value with their goals and objectives, describing how you can help solve their problems. (There are several blog posts dedicated to Developing Effective Sponsorship Proposals III, and Sponsorship Letters)

Get your existing sponsors to talk about you: There is no better endorsement than to have a happy sponsor talk about what you have provided for their company or organization. Quotes and references can help to illustrate the value your club, team or event provided. Building a reference story describing how one of your existing sponsor views your value is even better! This lends immediate credibility to the value your club or team can deliver. Furthermore, quotes, references and reference stories, lend themselves very well to sponsorship proposals, sponsorship letters, web and social media sites. Not to mention, it also helps to spread the word, helping other companies find you! (See “Using Quotes and References” category for additional information)

Well, that’s it for today.

Thanks for visiting. Remember, until next time, to “Keep the rubber side down!”

Continue Reading

0
Tips on how to get a cycling sponsorship!

A few quick tips on how to get a cycling sponsorship!

You cycling club will increase its chances of getting sponsorship by focusing on delivering business value. In other words, the business reasons a company should sponsor your cycling club.

Business value of cycling sponsorship to companies:

Increase brand visibility & sales: Cycling provides a highly visible, and effective, marketing and advertising platform helping companies reach their target audience. Many companies are implementing marketing strategies that take advantage of the continued growth of cycling, the health & wellness market segment and eco-friendly transportation. Innovative companies are aligning their offerings with these trends to fuel incremental growth and sales.

Position your cycling clubs’ activities and initiatives (group rides, rally’s, races, and safe cycling campaigns), community service, and external communications (website, social media, and news releases) as an effective marketing engine to showcase a company’s brand, products and services.

Inexpensive yet highly effective marketing tool: Sponsorship of your cycling club will provide companies with an efficient medium for getting their key messages into the market. Chris Baldwin’s Reuters article “Sponsors see value in backing cycling teams” demonstrates the affordability, reach, and effectiveness of cycling sponsorship to promote a brand, increase brand visibility, awareness and sales, vs. traditional advertising, marketing and public relations channels.

Lucrative and growing demographic: The cycling demographic is continuing to grow globally and is the second most popular recreational activity in the United States. Cycling sponsorship offers companies additional exposure in our demographic, while providing the opportunity to exploit of the growing healthy, active lifestyle market. Last but not least, the study noted annual median household income for racing, recreational and cycling fans to be $ 75K – $ 95K. This is a great statistic to use with prospective sponsors.

Drives positive image with consumers: Perceived image is extremely important and can often impact sales and brand loyalty. One way companies can bolster image is to demonstrate social responsibility & concern through support of societal concerns, their communities and “green” initiatives. Cycling addresses each of these areas (examples: societal concerns; health, transportation; community; environmental, traffic congestion; “green”; alternative transportation, air quality). Sponsoring cycling clubs and programs helps companies demonstrate social responsibility, philanthropy and community involvement which are a key component to promoting positive PR by “serving the greater good” while driving brand visibility and recognition. (Please see “Secure cycling sponsorship by understanding why companies sponsor” for additional information)

Creates new business opportunities: Sponsorship provides companies with Business-to-Business (B2B) opportunities helping them identify and establish complementary partnerships to drive incremental sales and revenue. The additional exposure sponsors receive to your club’s other sponsors and companies sponsoring cycling events can lead to mutually beneficial business partnerships. (Please see “Leveraging B2B to drive added value for your cycling club’s sponsors” for more information)

Hope this helps your cycling sponsorship efforts.

Thanks for visiting. Remember, until next time, to “Keep the rubber side down!”

Continue Reading

2
Special Cycling Sponsorship Report: How The Tour of the Battenkill drives revenue for village & sponsors

Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Dieter Drake, General Manager/CEO, Anthem Sport Events, and the mastermind behind the successful, and iconic, Tour of the Battenkill, America’s toughest road race. Our discussion focused on three areas:

  • Why the Tour of the Battenkill has become so successful;
  • How Anthem Sports was able to secure event sponsorship from corporations like Pepsi;
  • The role community involvement played in the races success.

The goal of the interview was to provide cycling clubs key points, and insights, they can use in their event sponsorship efforts.

What key factors contributed to the growth and success of the Tour of the Battenkill?

Race Venue: Dieter discussed how the epic nature of the Tour of the Battenkill; up to 100 miles of racing across 8 sections of dirt roads, with 4,000 feet of climbing; has gained increasing popularity with cyclists who want to participate in European classics style racing in the North America. Being able to race a course, in the vein of the Tour of Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix, with 25% of the course comprised of dirt roads is not only different and challenging, but it is extremely alluring and appealing to many pro and amateur racers.

Community Support & Volunteers: Equally important to the races success has been the support from the Cambridge community. Think of it, Cambridge, NY has 1,000 residents, yet Dieter has 400 volunteers from the Cambridge community supporting his race every year! Volunteers provide event support, Fire & Rescue, Police and Infrastructure support.

Why has the community embraced The Tour of the Battenkill?

Problem: A town in need of new sources of revenue.

Cambridge, NY has historically been an agricultural community. The continued transformation of the U.S., away from its agricultural roots, to industry, and now to a service based economy, heavily impacted small, traditionally agricultural towns as Cambridge. Making matters worse was the loss of companies which helped support the local economy. Cambridge like so many other communities needed to find new avenues to drive revenue for the village and local businesses.

Solution: Bicycle racing drives tourism and revenue for communities!

Jason Sumner’s VeloNews article “Battening Down The Hatches” describes how Dieter’s entree’ into event promotion of the Cambridge Valley Balloon Festival Classic bicycle race was the first step in “introducing bike racing – and it’s potential benefits – to an otherwise sleepy town trying to establish itself as a viable tourist destination.” Dieter’s efforts with the Cambridge Valley Balloon Festival Classic, and the Tour of the Battenkill, demonstrated how a unique, well run, bicycle race could provide a solution to a problem for the town. Scheduling the Tour of the Battenkill in April would achieve a couple of objectives:

Draw tourist to Cambridge, NY, during the early spring when “normally you could roll a bowling ball down Main Street and not hit anybody”, creating revenue opportunities for businesses and the local economy.

Help get people involved in the sport of cycling whether they were racing, participating in the Pro/Am Races or Bike Marathon, or volunteering.

Dieter’s strategy and event would help Cambridge and the local economy by:

  • Bringing visitors to town, in a rapidly growing demographic, that would spend money and help provide a boost for the local economy.
  • Driving tourism revenue during a traditionally slow time of year.
  • Promoting Cambridge, NY and surrounding areas as a viable travel destination.

Result: The partnership between Anthem Sports and the Village of Cambridge paid off! The combination of unique appeal of “hard man style” racing, the venue and early spring scheduling attracts 2,500 racing participants, and typically 10 – 15K people during the two weekends the Tour of the Battenkill is scheduled. (3:1 ratio of spectators and family members: racers). An influx of this many people drives a lot of revenue for local businesses, while helping to establish Cambridge as a viable vacation spot!

Why Pepsi sponsored The Tour of the Battenkill?

Cycling provides a highly visible, and effective, marketing and advertising platform aiding companies in reaching their targeted demographic.

Dieter explained how Pepsi leverages a natural tie in with cycling, and the fitness minded, health oriented market, with their Gatorade, Aquafina and Lipton Tea brands. The Tour of the Battenkill provides Pepsi with an efficient way to receive exposure and visibility for their products through sponsorship of the race. Sponsorship enables Pepsi to promote their brands (Gatorade, Aquafina and Lipton Tea) as healthy alternatives to traditional sugary soft drinks. This drives greater brand recognition among racers, participants, volunteers and residents. Pepsi’s marketing includes parking a truck at the races finish line the week before the race, handing out free drinks during the event, along with prominently displaying their logo on the winner’s podium. Additionally, Pepsi viewed The Tour of the Battenkill as an opportunity to promote their brands through grassroots marketing, by engaging local schools and offering “non-sugary”, healthy, beverage alternatives.

Lastly, sponsors as Pepsi can use cycling to drive greater brand visibility, recognition, and awareness on local, regional, national and international levels. Aligning with cycling, The Tour of the Battenkill, and Anthem Sports’ newest races, “The Great American Cycling Series”, will offer additional opportunities for companies to promote their brand and products, while offering cities as Washtenaw, MI; Vail, CO and the Catskills, NY region, to capitalize on revenue from cycling and tourism.

The key Dieter stressed for signing non-cycling industry sponsors is to position sponsorship of your club or event as a major advertising opportunity. Discuss the sponsor’s goals, and how you can drive impressions, value, ROI, traffic and sales. Cycling sponsorship is less expensive than other traditional sports as (football, soccer, baseball, basketball), yet it provides a higher ROI for less investment. (Please see “Securing sponsorship by understanding why companies sponsor” and “Articulating the value of cycling sponsorship” for additional information.

Key takeaways for your cycling club:

  • Actively engage and involve the community in your event.
  • Sell the value of cycling sponsorship in helping companies and communities achieve their goals and objectives.
  • Gain an understanding of the problems prospective sponsors and cities might have, and position the sport of cycling as a potential solution.
  • Use the visibility of cycling as a means for sponsors to drive increased awareness, interest, value, impressions, sales and market share.
  • Discuss why cycling provides higher ROI, with less investment, than many traditional sports.
  • Be creative in your cycling club’s approach to events and cycling sponsorship.

Thanks for visiting. Remember, until next time, “Keep the rubber side down!”

P.S. – A very special thanks to Dieter Drake for agreeing to the interview. Really appreciate your time and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with you! Hope to meet you in person someday soon!

Reference articles:

Continue Reading

1
How to get sponsorship using “The New Rules of Marketing & PR”

Getting sponsorship and funding for your club, team, or event is something we are all wrestling with at one point or another. Securing funding and sponsors can be contrasted to revenue for corporations; it’s difficult to operate without it. Whether your sponsorship goals involve raising money for a worthy cause, advocacy initiatives, trips to events or races, or for equipment, sponsorship funding is the life blood of your club or team. The big question is “how do you get sponsorship and funding?”

David Meerman Scott’s bestselling book “The New Rules of Marketing & PR” outlines how companies, individuals, and non-profit organizations can use Social Media, Websites, News Releases, Blogs, and more, to reach their audience, and consequently achieve their goals. The “New Rules” are directly applicable to helping you become successful in securing funding for your club, team or event.

A few of the points I noted from the “New Rules of Marketing & PR” which can bolster your sponsorship efforts are:

Focus on your buyers’ needs – For a club or team this means putting the needs of those you are approaching for sponsorship and funding first. Think in terms of the problems prospective sponsors are trying to solve – increasing visibility and awareness, increasing traffic to stores, events, or websites; increasing sales and revenue; improving public relations and image by supporting important social issues, etc. Focusing on what is important, and top of mind, to prospective sponsors will enable you to shape your messages, sponsorship proposals, sponsorship letters, and interactions in a manner which will resonate positively with them. In which case, sponsorship of your club, team or event can be viewed as a solution to a problem.

Define your goals – Start by clearly defining what you want to achieve for your club or team, or through an event. Make it quantitative – “we want to increase sponsorship funding by 20% in 2011.” Build a plan describing how you will achieve the goal. Include the problems you can solve for companies. List them. Each should clearly articulate the problem or goal of a company, how your club or team can provide a solution, and the benefit delivered.

Understand your audience – Identifying how your audience views sponsorship, the importance they place upon it for achieving their business objectives, philanthropic goals, public image; gives you immediate insight into how to find prospective sponsors, and how to assist them in finding you. By using keywords, terms and phrases; in your sponsorship proposals, sponsorship letters, newsletters and news releases, on your web and social media sites; you automatically increase your ability to attract companies and organizations that might have an interest in supporting your club, team, or event. The key again is to focus on the audience and their needs.

Customize your content to your audience – Make sure that your sponsorship proposal, sponsorship letter, areas of your website, and all communications geared towards securing sponsorship and funding are customized to address the specific issues of the intended audience. An example – requesting donations (funding) from an individual (neighbor, friend, etc.) is very different from approaching a company for sponsorship. The messages that appeal to an individual vs. a company are vastly different. So, why would you use a generic page on your website, or in a proposal with two different audiences?

Customizing your messages, website, sponsorship proposal, sponsorship letter, and focusing on the needs of the targeted audience gives you a better chance of making sure your value is understood, increasing your chances of achieving your intended goal.

Get your customers to talk about you – There is no better endorsement than to have a happy sponsor talk about what you have provided for their company or organization. Quotes and references can help to illustrate the value your club, team or event provided. Building a reference story describing how one of your existing sponsor views your value is even better! This lends immediate credibility to the value your club or team can deliver. Furthermore, quotes, references and reference stories, lend themselves very well to sponsorship proposals, sponsorship letters, web and social media sites. Not to mention, it also helps to spread the word, helping other companies find you! (See “Using Quotes and References” category for additional information)

Leverage Social MediaUse social media and social networking to find companies that could be prospective sponsors, and as a vehicle to help prospective sponsors find you. Employing keywords and phrases in on your club or team’s web and social media sites helps companies and organizations to find you, while helping you to find them. Effective use of social networking tools as FaceBook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter can be used to provide your club or team with better visibility, particularly if you leverage the correct words and phrases (those your audience would use to find organizations to sponsor, or to help them solve a problem). Social media and social networking can help you identify, research, and subsequently engage companies that might be potential candidates to sponsor your club, team or event.

I’ll leave you with one quote from the David Meerman Scott’s book “The New Rules of Marketing & PR” which you might keep in mind as you build your plans, proposals, and letters for sponsorship – “The New Rules of Marketing & PR” tell us to stop advertising and instead get our ideas out there by understanding buyers and telling them the stories that connect with their problems.”

I hope you found today’s post valuable to help answer some of your questions about securing sponsorship. As always, I would enjoy hearing from you and answering any questions you might have. Please feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

Thanks for visiting. Remember, until next time, “keep the rubber side down.”

Continue Reading