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2011 Tour: A recipe for cycling sponsorship success!

2011 Tour will drive value for cycling sponsorship!

The Tour de France, A.S.O. and the sponsors of the 22 participating teams have got to be licking their chops in anticipation of the unprecedented global media exposure this year’s race will receive. Why? Because controversy fuels discussion, passion, interest, attendance and viewers! Controversy also fuels dollars; think sponsors, advertisers, vendors, tourism, restaurants, etc. You’re going to hear about the Tour and how things unfolds in any and every possible format you can imagine. Sponsors, advertisers, the A.SO., France and participating countries are counting on it!

Fans will pack the roads along the race route while those not lucky enough to attend will watch the drama both on the road and behind the scenes. Cycling and non-cycling enthusiasts are going to tune in, blog, tweet, party and/or protest as the Grand Boucle unfolds. Many will follow this years Tour to witness whether or not, arguably, one of the best Grand Tour riders in history can win his 7th straight, 3 week race! Some will watch to see if the runner up from the last two editions can finally take the final step to the top of the podium. Yet others will watch to see if another “shoe will drop” revealing new revelations of doping, performance enhancement, tainted food, or foreign dispersants or additives are once again found where they shouldn’t be!

2011 Tour Recipe for cycling sponsorship success!

The bottom line: despite ominous comments foreshadowing the demise of cycling, once again, the Tour will be heavily attended and will draw large global audiences to watch the race.

When you mix:

  • 2 parts Rivalry (Contador vs. Schleck and everyone else; Riis vs. Schleck brothers and his old team)
  • 2 parts Intrigue (Is Contador guilty or innocent? Accusations against previous Tour champions)
  • 1 part Conspiracy Theory = Spanish Cycling Federation + UCI + WADA + Court of Arbitration for Sport
  • 3 parts Action (The race itself!)

And, shake vigorously (and the media will)!

You get every sponsor and advertiser’s dream — eyeballs seeing their brand as the Tour and the plot develops. The end result, Tour organizer A.S.O., team sponsors and advertisers are going to take advantage of the extraordinary marketing opportunities presented by global exposure, and will be laughing all the way to the bank!

4 Reasons why the 2011 Tour is a recipe for sponsorship & marketing success!

01) Alberto Contador’s participation is going to drive attendance and ratings! Period!

Whether you like him or not, believe he is guilty or falsely accused (or, receiving preferential treatment) Alberto Contador’s participation in this year’s Tour is fueling increased interest and awareness in the race and in the sport of cycling. Cyclists, journalists, sports prognosticators and fans are taking sides about whether Contador should even be in the race, if he is guilty of using PED’s and blood dopers, and if he will win this year’s Grand Boucle. This year’s event with Contador’s participation is a sponsor, advertiser, marketing executives dream. The Tour will deliver increased visibility and press coverage, along with exceptional opportunities for extensive market reach. It’s a captivating story. From a sponsorship perspective there is nothing better than supporting an event which delivers increased visibility, awareness and interest for your brand! Because increased interest can drive increased traffic, sales, revenue and market share.

02) The Tour and cycling will take center stage for the majority of July! Delivering unprecedented visibility and reach!

The media will continue to pump the bellows of controversy to keep the Contador and Armstrong stories alive!

The cycling journalists, and some of you, have been fanning the flame since the “tainted beef”, clenbuterol, story broke in September, 2010. The aftermath has had more twists and turns than a B-grade movie!

In January, 2011, Sports Illustrated vaulted to the front of the media caravan by summoning ghosts from Tours past when it released its expose “The Case Against Lance Armstrong”. Of course, this was cleverly timed with the interest generated by the NFL playoffs to increase readership and sales. Meanwhile countless professional cyclists have been paraded before us as they were summoned to testify in front of a Federal Grand Jury ala Barry Bonds and Marion Jones.

Not to be outdone, 60 Minutes poured gasoline on the story with its primetime Tyler Hamilton interview. Of course, the interview resulted in a swift and defensive response foretelling the demise of our sport with the quote; “…..this is going to kill the sport of cycling.” (Ed. – Uh, no don’t think so!)

Again, the media is going to make sure every angle of the Tour is covered. For almost an entire month cycling, the Tour de France, and every company sponsoring cycling is going to be the center of attention. Everyone is talking about it. The media has seen to that, as has the Spanish Cycling Federation, the UCI, WADA and the A.S.O.

Why is this good for the Tour, cycling and sponsorship?

Controversy fuels discussion, passion, interest, attendance and viewers! Controversy also fuels dollars; think sponsors, advertisers, vendors, tourism, restaurants, you name it. You’re going to hear about the Tour and how things unfold regardless of whether you want to or not. Sponsors, advertisers, the A.SO., France and participating countries are counting on people watching, reading, texting, talking, debating….And, sponsors are hoping throughout the next month that you see their company and brand name emblazoned across helmets, jersey’s and bib’s!  They want Contador at the Tour! Regardless of whether it is to applaud or boo him (respectfully, the UCI asks). And, they want you to tune in and pay attention! Which leads to my next point.

03) Companies sponsoring cycling get it! And, so should you!

The major sponsors of the 22 Tour teams starting the Tour encompass 22 separate  industries. Think you might have a company in your area that you could approach regarding cycling sponsorship? One that is similar to one of these 22 companies? You bet! Point to the lead sponsoring companies as examples when you approaching prospective sponsors. I mean, check it out:

  • Telecommunications, Cable Providers, Cellular: 4 (Movistar, Euskaltel, Sky, HTC)
  • Banks, Financial Services & Insurance: 4 (Saxo Bank, AG2R, Cofidis, Rabobank)
  • Sports Management Companies: 2 (Leopard, Highroad)
  • Lotteries: 2 (FDJ, Lotto)
  • Rental Car companies: 1 (Europcar)
  • Retailer: 1 (RadioShack)
  • Manufacturing companies: 2 (Quick Step, Lampre-ISD, Omega Pharma, Garmin)
  • Pharmaceuticals: 1 (Omega Pharma)
  • Environmental Products & Services: 1 (Saur)
  • Food Producer: 1 (Sojasun)
  • Information & Software Technology: 1 (Sungard)
  • Natural Gas Distributor:1 (Liquigas)
  • Campgrounds: 1 (Vacansoleil)
  • Plant Food Producer: 1 (DCM)
  • Cycling Foundation & Development Teams: 2 (Katusha, Euskadi)
  • Bicycle Manufacturers: 4 (Cannondale, Trek, BMC, Cervelo)

Non-cycling related companies sponsoring Tour teams: 22 (And, these are only the headline sponsors).

04) What can you do? And, why is the 2011 Tour good for cycling and cycling sponsorship?

See what’s happening? Everyone is talking about cycling in one form or fashion. This is extroadinary coverage of the sport we love. Take advantage of the spotlight cast on cycling. Your club has nothing to be defensive about. The sport is no longer the same it was ten years ago with previous Tour victories being in question. And, it will be cleaner, and better in 5 years than it is today! Companies are still heartily ponying up marketing and advertising dollars to sponsor teams participating in the Tour, continental, amateur clubs and teams and cycling events. (See attached link for more information on companies sponsoring professional teams)

Use this opportunity when cycling has the spotlight to sell the value of our sport to companies large and small, regardless of industry or location. Point out how companies sponsoring the professional teams participating in the Tour are receiving incredible exposure for their company, brand, products and services. When loyal domestiques go off the front, fry in the sun and are battered by winds for hours, explain how this is a tactic to not just attempt to win, but more so to provide exposure for the sponsors emblazoned across the jersey’s, helmets, shorts and butt! Television cameras, photographers, eyeballs in person, and on television, internet, from smart phone, laptop, are all capturing and displaying the action. (Also, see “Tips on how to get a cycling sponsorship”)

Regardless of where your allegiance falls this year’s Tour is going to be good for cycling and and an even better example of how media exposure and cycling drive value for sponsors.

Enjoy the Tour!

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Five reasons cycling sponsorship can drive more visibility and sales for your brand!

Want more Brand visibility? Don’t overlook cycling sponsorship as an effective marketing vehicle!

Don’t believe cycling sponsorship can be an effective marketing vehicle for your brand, products or services? Maybe you should consider the following attendance figures for major sporting events:

NASCAR 2011 Samsung Mobile 500 @ Texas Motor Speedway – 168,400 fans in attendance

MLB 2010 World Series Game 5 @ The Ballpark in Arlington – 52,045 fans in attendance

NFL 2011 Super Bowl XLV@ Cowboy Stadium – 103,219 fans in attendance

Total fans in attendance – 323,664! Okay, that’s pretty good.

But, that’s NOT even a close second! The combined total does not even come close to matching the visibility your brand would get at the largest cycling events in the world.

Two examples:

01) The 2011 Tour of Flanders Professional Cycling Race, a one day event in Belgium had an estimated 600K – 800K fans in attendance! That’s in a country with a total population of 11M people! A one day race outdrew three North American sporting events – combined!

02) The Tour de France has hundreds of thousands of fans watching from the side of the road, each day, every day for 21 days! Stage 20 of the 2009 Tour de France had an estimated 1 million fans on Mont Ventoux! And, that was for the end of the race! That figure does not take into consideration the hundreds of thousands of fans lining the 138km route leading to the final climb up Mont Ventoux!

These are incredible marketing opportunities for your company, brand, products and services. Not only will cycling sponsorship drive visibility, but it will drive increases in awareness, interest, traffic, sales and revenue.

Are you still skeptical about cycling sponsorship’s effectiveness to increase visibility for your brand?

Here are (5) reasons you might want to give sponsorship of a local cycling club, team or event a second look.

01) The sheer nature of cycling provides an instant increase in visibility for your brand. Cycling is continuing to grow throughout the world. Meaning companies sponsoring cycling are cashing in on marketing opportunities by sponsoring clubs, professional teams and cycling events ranging in scope from:

21 day stage races as the Tour de France, Italy’s Giro D’Italia and Spain’s Vuelta a Espana which draw millions of fans globally.

North American stage races such as the USA Pro Cycling Challenge or the Amgen Tour of California.

Charity rides as the LiveStrong Challenge or the MS150.

One day North American races as the Tour of Battenkill, Philadelphia International Cycling Championship and the Hotter’N Hell Hundred.

Cycling gives your company a very visible platform for showcasing your products and services.

02) Cycling sponsorship is typically less expensive than traditional forms of advertising, marketing and public relations. The Reuters article “Sponsors see value in backing cycling teams” describes how cycling delivers more affordable cost per one thousand media impressions (CPM) making cycling sponsorship a bargain when compared other popular spectator sports

03) Sponsorship of cycling provides your company with the opportunity to align with growing societal trends as active, healthy lifestyles or “green” transportation alternatives. This is a great way to capture additional visibility, awareness and mindshare with consumers in these segments. Not to mention, aligning with emerging segments can help to drive incremental traffic, sales and revenue. (See “Employer Health & Wellness Programs – an avenue worth pursuing when seeking cycling sponsorship” for additional information regarding how cycling aligns with emerging trends and societal concerns)

04) Cycling’s demographic covers a wide range of consumers. Pick one and you will find a large group of cyclists in that segment. Cyclists comprise every possible segment imaginable. We are a diverse group of consumers. Whichever segment(s) your products or services address, you can pretty much be assured there is a large segment of cyclists interested in your company’s products or services.

05) Effective platform for communicating your messages and reaching your targeted audience. Consider statements from the following senior executives of HTC, OptumHealth, Sungard and RadioShack, 5-hour Energy and Quiznos! Each executive describes the value cycling provides their brand.

“…..we are excited about the opportunity to communicate HTC’s brand value through the great sport of cycling …. “HTC’s sponsorship of Team Columbia-HTC is one step in HTC’s commitment to increasing its global brand value and recognition.” – Peter Chou, Chief Executive Officer, HTC Corporation

“Professional cycling in the United States continues to grow as a major spectator sport and serves as a great way to reach health-conscious consumers,” he added. “This particular partnership provides a highly visible and mission-consistent opportunity to both advance our message and drive awareness of our products and services.”  Tom McEnery, Chief Marketing Officer, OptumHealth

The Saxo Bank-SunGard Professional Cycling Team represents a fantastic opportunity to gain visibility for our brand in front of a global audience.”Brian Robins, Chief Marketing Officer, SunGard

“This is an exciting time at RadioShack…. “We are re-launching our brand with a new creative platform in early August, and now having Lance on our team – an American icon who embodies the spirit of mobility, connectivity and philanthropy – really allows us to accelerate our brand’s evolution.Lee Applbaum, CMO, RadioShack

“Although we are selling over one million bottles a day, we are always looking for new opportunities to reach out to new consumers… We see this as a great opportunity to help this leading team achieve even better levels of success, and as a way to connect with the active lifestyle community that enjoys watching competitive cycling.” Scott Henderson, President, 5-hour Energy

“We always try to stay in front of what most interests our customers. Cycling is representative of the more contemporary American lifestyle and Quiznos customers participate in just this kind of activity….. With the creation of the Quiznos Pro Challenge we aim to promote an active lifestyle while bringing an exciting new pro-cycling event to a growing audience of fans in the United States.”Ellen Kramer, Quiznos Chief Communications Officer.

06) Business-to-Business opportunities (B2B) – This is one of the major reasons companies sponsor sports as cycling and NASCAR. The biggest returns from a company’s sponsorship investment don’t come from consumers but from other companies! Check out my post “Leveraging B2B to drive added value for your cycling club’s sponsors” for more information on B2B and cycling sponsorship.

Branding, marketing, advertising, PR, cross-branding and B2B opportunities are endless! (your brand or company name could appear on cycling jersey or shorts, water bottles, signage, programs, banners, websites, blogs, cross-branding, etc…..the list goes on and on and on……). Literally millions of spectators and participants will see it!

Lastly, if you are still not convinced of the potential market reach cycling sponsorship provides. Look at the sheer number of cycling clubs listed on www.usacycling.org/clubs. And, the United States is only one market!

So, question – could your brand use cycling sponsorship as a platform to boost its marketing programs? Two examples of mainstream companies riding cycling’s increased popularity are 5-hour Energy and Quiznos. Take a break, give your marketing programs a jolt and smell the coffee (Starbucks sponsors cycling too!)

That’s all for today! Sorry for the length.

P.S. – Note to cyclists and cycling clubs: Use the points in this blog post with prospective sponsors and fundraising donors. It should drive the point home that cycling is an excellent addition to any company’s marketing, advertising or PR campaign.

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

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Cycling Sponsorship Case Study: Quiznos “MMMMM…. good” for cycling sponsorship!

Over the past several months two, nationally known, companies have endorsed our sport by sponsoring professional cycling teams or events: Quiznos and 5-hour Energy. And, although you may not use their products, or agree with their strategy to use cycling sponsorship as a vehicle to achieve their goals, their investment in cycling can positively impact your club, team or events cycling sponsorship efforts.

Today we’ll look at Quiznos sponsorship of the Colorado based Pro Challenge, and how you can leverage similar messages to secure cycling sponsorship for your club, team or event.

Quiznos Pro Challenge

Quiznos’ sponsorship of the Colorado based Pro Challenge gives us another major American stage race in the vein of the Red Zinger and Coors International Bicycle Classic of the mid-1970’s and 1980’s. Quiznos’  support will provide a lot of exposure to the mainstream public; helping to spread the visibility, awareness, and interest in our wonderful sport. Not only can the additional visibility help bring new riders and fans into the sport, but it also serves as an example of the effectiveness of cycling as a marketing, advertising & PR platform. The following quote describes how Quiznos’ sponsorship of cycling aligns with their brand, customers, and objectives of supporting the growing trend of healthy lifestyles.

“We always try to stay in front of what most interests our customers. Cycling is representative of the more contemporary American lifestyle and Quiznos customers participate in just this kind of activity….. With the creation of the Quiznos Pro Challenge we aim to promote an active lifestyle while bringing an exciting new pro-cycling event to a growing audience of fans in the United States.” – Ellen Kramer, Quiznos Chief Communications Officer.

In addition, Quiznos’ investment and endorsement  helps to expose companies currently not sponsoring cycling to our sport, it’s growing popularity, it’s demographic, and the potential for using cycling sponsorship to reach their goals and objectives of:

Increasing sales, revenue, and market share

Increasing visibility for their company, brand, products and services

Increase brand recognition and customer loyalty

Changing image

Promoting positive PR

Aligning and penetrating emerging market segments

(Please refer to “Understanding why companies sponsor” and “Articulating the value of cycling sponsorship” for additional information)

Lastly, in February, 2011, Quiznos invested an additional $10 million dollars on top of its initial sponsorship commitment. Rick Schaden, co-chairman of the event, founder and chairman of Denver-based private investment company Consumer Capital Partners and founder of Quiznos, said: “This investment further demonstrates our commitment to the future of the Quiznos Pro Challenge. Showing financial stability demonstrates the event’s ability for longevity in the international sports arena for many years to come.”

For your club, team, or event, Quiznos’ sponsorship of the Pro Challenge provides an opportunity to reference a well known brand, using cycling as a vehicle, to achieve their objectives. You can discuss the reasons Quiznos invested in cycling: brand recognition, market penetration, garner positive PR, and to align with active, healthy lifestyles; using these proof points describing the value of cycling sponsorship to your prospective sponsors.

If you are still not convinced of Quiznos’ commitment to cycling in the United States consider Quiznos’ involvement with Denver’s B-Cycle program. Quiznos is the system wide sponsor for Denver’s B-Cycle, the first large scale, city-wide bicycle sharing program in the United States, further demonstrating their commitment to “green” initiatives, and promoting cycling as a viable transportation alternative.

Thanks again for visiting. Next time we’ll take a look at 5-hour Energy’s sponsorship of the Kenda/5-Hour Energy Pro Cycling presented by Geargrinder!

Notes:

Red Zinger and Coors International Bicycle Classic

John Wilcokson’s VeloNews article “The Pioneers: How major Road Races First Gained a Foothold in North America” chronicles the rise of American Stage Racing in the United States. In the article John writes about the birth of the Red Zinger bicycle race organized by Mo Siegel, founder of Celestial Seasonings Tea Company, and environmentalist, in 1975. John writes that Mo Siegel started the race “to help generate community awareness of bicycling while publicizing their best-selling tea, Red Zinger.” The article also quotes John Howard, winner of the races 1975 & 1976 editions, and multi-national champion, describing the impact the Red Zinger on cycling in the U.S. – “Cycling advanced several giant steps as a result of those early Zingers.” Obviously both Celestial Seasonings and Quiznos had similar motivations, using their support of cycling for brand and product recognition, while espousing the benefits of cycling for healthy lifestyles, and “green” transportation.

John’s article, “The Pioneers”, also discusses the transition of the Red Zinger to the Coors International Bicycle Classic which would come to prominence during a 9 year run in the 1980’s. “The Pioneers” describes how Mo Siegel would eventually sell the event to Michael Aisner, previously the races PR Director, for $ 1. In 1980 Aisner re-launched the race as the Coors International Bicycle Classic which took international cycling to the next level for nine years, in its heyday attracting stars as 5-time Tour De France winner Bernard Hinault, and the then budding American star Greg LeMond.

Denver B-Cycle

Denver Bike Sharing celebrates the launch of the first large scale, city-wide bike sharing system in the United States, with Quiznos as a system-wide sponsor. “Denver B-cycle is the first large-scale municipal bike sharing system in the United States. We are placing dozens of special bike stations (B-stations) in downtown Denver as well as the Cherry Creek and Denver University neighborhoods. Denver B-cycle members will be able to pick up one of the red bikes at any B-station and drop it off at any B-station. That’s why we say it’s magic: a bike that’s there when you need it and gone when you don’t. Bike sharing makes it economical and convenient to use bikes for trips that are too far to walk but too short to drive. As a member, you can use a B-cycle to run an errand, grab lunch, travel from the bus stop to your office, or just get some fresh air. There are as many reasons to use a B-cycle as there are members!” Learn more about Denver Bike Sharing by clicking here:

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Articulating the value of cycling sponsorship

How do you define the value of your club or team in order to secure cycling sponsorship?

There are a few simple rules you can follow to accomplish this effectively. First, always start by understanding the prospective sponsor’s objectives; and what they are trying to accomplish? What’s the business problem they want to solve? Second, describe how you can help them achieve their objectives. In other words, describe how your activities; participation in events, involvement in the local community; can provide a way for the sponsor to achieve their objectives. Third, and probably most important, is to always begin by taking the prospective sponsors view.

Here’s a very simple approach you can follow.

Let’s say there’s a prospective sponsor that wants to increase visibility of their brand, products and services with consumers in the growing health & wellness segment.  The table below walks you through the process of building effective value statements. The first column shows the company’s objective. The second column lists a couple of reasons driving the company’s business objective. I mentioned in an earlier post that companies are motivated by three basic rules – “How can we make money?”, “How can we save money?”, “How can we project our intended image?”

Business Objective Reason (Motivation) How your cycling club/team can help them? Why they should care?
Increase visibility & awareness of our products and services in the growing health & wellness segment Increase consumer interest, traffic, sales, revenue & market share.Align offerings within a growing segment; creates greater opportunity for sales of product & services Involvement in events; rides, rally’s, races, clinics, education…Community Service & local initiatives (“Share the Road”, trail building, Development programs, Street Adoption….)Communication & Social Media – websites, social networking, newsletters… Participation in events provides greater exposure in segment; drives visibility & salesInvolvement in community; serving the “greater good”; is great PR for sponsorsCreates B2B oppty. w/other sponsorsCommunication vehicles & SM provide additional channels for delivering their messages

The last two columns describe how cycling sponsorship can help the prospective sponsor achieve their business objective. In this case, it’s increasing visibility and awareness in a targeted segment. Your club or teams participation in events, community service and local initiatives, and use of communications & social media, provides the foundation for increasing visibility.

However, your value proposition has to state the benefit of sponsoring your cycling club or team, in terms that clearly articulate why a company should write you a big fat check. You MUST be able to describe how sponsoring you will help them achieve their objectives – raising visibility, which can lead to greater awareness, interest, traffic and ultimately sales. A simple way to build an effective value statement is:

(company objective + their motivation) + (your ability to solve a problem + the benefit to them) = VALUE

A value statement as simple as the one below does the job!

“Our participation in events, activities, and initiatives within the community will help (company name) achieve your objective of increasing visibility, traffic and sales for its brand, products & services in the health & wellness segment.”

Use your words to portray how your club’s involvement in weekly rides, races, community activities and events can help them reach their desired goal.

If you build your value statements following these simple recommendations you will shift the focus from what the sponsor can do for you, to what you can do for the sponsor. And, why they should write you a big fat sponsorship check. Taking this type of approach provides you with credibility, while differentiating you from other organizations requesting sponsorship & funding. Furthermore, it provides reasons the prospective sponsor should engage you in deeper discussions.

The key, as I have always written, is to focus on them!

As always, feel free to leave comments or send an e-mail to al-at-Sponsor-My-Cycling-Club dot com.

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

Happy New Year!

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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.”

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A few additional thoughts.

Regardless of where you are in public; on the road, trail, store, coffee shop, etc.; the behavior you exhibit is a DIRECT reflection on YOU, YOUR CLUB, and YOUR SPONSORS! This also applies to everything on the web, printed, photographed. A momentary slip up can have a negative impact. A fellow cyclist relayed a story describing how his club lost a huge sponsor due to a lapse in judgement by a few of their club members. It went something like this – large group ride, irate driver, obscene gestures and language. The driver made note of the largest logo on the club kit (happened to be the sponsors), complained to the sponsor – you know what’s coming; that’s right – sponsorship pulled!

All of us hate being harassed, or mistreated, and in the heat of the moment, stuff happens. Take a second before reacting (or, like these guys – over reacting).

Thanks for visiting Sponsor My Cycling Club.com.  Until next time, keep the rubber side down!

Al

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The foundation of any good marketing, public relations, or sales campaign is making sure the message you want to get across to your target audience, is the message you are delivering. Multi-billion dollar corporations, celebrities and athletes spend a lot of time, money, and energy ensuring their audience perceives them in a specific way.

It’s the same with a cycling club. However, it extends beyond how you are perceived while on the road, trail, velodrome, etc.; to include how existing, and prospective sponsors view YOUR cycling club. When it comes to corporate sponsors, they are probably going to view your cycling club in a couple of ways – 1) does your club add value to their brand, audience, and customers; and 2) how does establishing a relationship with your cycling club benefit them?

Inevitably, these two questions will lead to how sponsoring your cycling club might impact them in the following ways:

  • increasing sales and market share
  • improving image, awareness and visibility
  • penetrating new market segments, or reaching new audiences

The answers to the above points are only a portion of the puzzle. However, careful consideration of these points, coupled with the perceived value YOUR cycling club can deliver, can be the difference between successfully landing a new sponsor, or continuing a relationship with an existing one.

Here are a couple of articles describing the importance of branding; and, how to build a brand:

“Building your business by building your brand” – Investment News

“Marketing You: Position yourself as the one to call” – Brand Champions

Although these, and many, articles discuss personal branding, the same basic principals apply to clubs, organizations and companies.  

In the near future, I will share the process of building your messaging, accurately describing YOUR cycling club’s UNIQUE value to sponsors.  Helping you to articulate “why sponsoring YOUR club will help corporations increase visibility, sales, market share, etc., while helping to project the image they desire.”  Topics I will cover include:

  1. defining who you are and what you stand for?
  2. developing messaging describing the value you provide prospective sponsors?
  3. articulating what sets you apart from other clubs, and organizations, competing for sponsorship dollars? what makes you unique and better?
  4. aligning your value and uniqueness with the sponsors goals, objectives, image, initiatives
  5. ensuring your message is heard, understood, and perceived the way you intended?

Thanks for visiting Sponsor My Cycling Club.com.  Until next time, keep the rubber side down!

Al

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