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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!”

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Secure cycling sponsorship by understanding why companies sponsor

You can increase your ability to secure cycling sponsorship by understanding why, and how, companies use sponsorship to achieve their goals.

When you understand why companies provide sponsorship and funding, and what motivates them, it makes it easier to develop effective messages, strategies, tactics, sponsorship proposals, and sponsorship letters which will get their attention. Leveraging this basic knowledge can help differentiate your club or team, and enable you to develop long term, rewarding, sponsorship relationships, while securing more funding.

Three BIG motivating factors for any company are the desire to make money, save money, and project the “intended” image for their company, brand, products and/or services. Although there are several additional motivations, one can categorize much of the rationale behind corporate sponsorship into making money, saving money, and image. Here’s how.

Making money – anything that can help increase sales, revenue, market share, and profitability is going to contribute directly to a company’s bottom line. Sponsorship of a club, team, or event can help a company to make money by increasing visibility, which in turn can drive increased awareness, interest, and traffic, resulting in increased sales. Your cycling club or team’s participation in events (races, rally’s, group rides…) community activities, initiatives (“Share the road”…) contributes to increased awareness and sales for sponsors. Additionally, your club or team’s use  of the web, social media, blogs, newsletters, and news releases, can also contribute significant dividends in driving visibility, awareness, and ultimately sales for your sponsors.

Saving money – cutting costs, saving dollars, and maximizing expenditures associated with advertising, marketing, and public relations directly impacts a company’s expense budgets, operating expenses and profitability. Sponsorship is a very viable alternative for helping companies improve customer retention and brand loyalty, increase sales and market share, or to penetrate/dominate a new market segment. Sponsorship is also used to augment existing advertising and marketing campaigns by providing a cost-effective vehicle for getting their brand message into the market. Typically, sponsorship of a club, team or event is less expensive, and will provide a faster return on investment than more traditional methods (television, print, billboards, etc.) delivering more “bang for the proverbial buck.”

Image – all companies have a certain image they would like to portray to the public, their existing and prospective customers. Sponsorship can help companies achieve this objective in a couple of ways.  First, companies supporting emerging social concerns as healthy lifestyles are aligning themselves with a growing market which can drive greater visibility, awareness, interest and sales for their products and/or services. Second, by sponsoring a club, team, or event, involved in raising money for a cause (ex. – cancer or diabetes research), will help to drive positive PR, fostering an image of involvement and social responsibility.

As you develop your cycling sponsorship plan determine how your club or team can help prospective sponsors make money, save money, or project their desired image through sponsorship. Taking the company’s view will enable you to develop messages which will clearly demonstrate the value sponsoring your club, team or event can deliver to help them achieve their business objectives. Positioning sponsorship as a solution to a company’s problem will differentiate your club, team, or events request for sponsorship, sponsorship proposal, or sponsorship letter, from generic requests submitted by other organizations.

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

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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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