5 Ways to Maximize the Impact of Your Sponsorship

Sponsorship = Partnership 

While working as the Director of Marketing for an East Coast dealership, we developed a great partnership with the local Minor League Baseball team. I want to point out the key part of that statement, partnership. I believe the best sports and community sponsorships involve both parties developing programming that is mutually beneficial.

Here are 5 things I used to get the most out of my sponsorship partnership and marketing dollars.
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Ashley's 5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Sponsorships

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Collaborate on a Project

Like I mentioned earlier, we had a great relationship with a local Minor League Baseball team. For the sake of this story, lets call them the Miami Flamingos. The Flamingos, just like most minor league sports teams, are constantly looking for non-baseball events to host. Every team is looking to draw people to the ballpark when there isn’t a game because each team has 72 official home games and that leaves 293 days in the year to host other events. 

These ballparks have large fan bases and are known for providing quality entertainment. Your goal is to sell vehicles. We started our partnership by looking for opportunities where both of those interests overlapped. The Flamingoes presented an idea of a Monster Truck Show that they were planning on hosting in their parking lot. The team brought in another partner, the local Jeep dealership, to maximize the impact of the event. Making the event a win, win, win for all three partners. Over the course of the two day event, there was music, food, and fans enjoying themselves in the parking lot of the ballpark. We connected with new customers, added to our customer database, sold a few motorcycles on the spot, and associated our dealership's brand with great memories of kids posing with Monster Trucks, grilled hotdogs, and dancing to local bands.

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Customize Your Sponsorship Like You Customize Your Bike

In our business, Harley-Davidson® models are not one-size fit all. There are different bikes to suit the needs of different types of riders. You are spending money to draw attention to your dealership and sell more bikes. Don’t just hang a sign on an outfield wall; place a motorcycle above the outfield wall and give it away if someone hits a home run off of it. Or rename a stolen base a “Burn Out” which would include a Harley sound effect and public address announcement, “That Burn Out brought to you by Chariot Harley-Davidson®."  Something customized will be more memorable and your partners are going to be open to fresh ideas because it could end up creating new sponsorship inventory that they hadn't considered. 

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Improve the Event Experience

People don’t attend games/events to see your brand. They go to have a good time and enjoy the main event. When creating a partnership, you and your partner should think about ways that you can improve the experience of whatever event you're sponsoring. This will make your dealership's sponsorship memorable. For example, parking is always an issue at ballparks and arenas. It’s either expensive or hard to come by. Why not sponsor motorcycle parking and make life more convenient for your customers with the best parking at the event. Go the extra mile and deck-out the "Chariot Harley-Davidson® Front Row Parking" in branded H-D colors to make the sponsorship more memorable for those who aren't yet familiar with your brand.

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Market to Your Demographic

A Harley isn’t for everyone, so don’t waste your marketing dollars trying to sell to everyone. Do you find success selling to military and veterans? If so, target your marketing. Perhaps active military and veterans receive a free ticket, hotdog, and a beer Koozie with your logo on it, all thanks to your dealership. A good sponsorship partner is going to ask you what your target market is and what kinds of customers you're hoping to reach. So when you answer them, make sure you're specific. "Married men between the ages of 45-65" might be accurate, but that doesn't tell your partner specifics about your target customer.  

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Next Level Jumpstarts

Hopefully the ballparks, arenas, and community events that you're sponsoring draw thousands of people so that you're getting the most out of your sponsorship dollar. And as always, you want to sell motorcycles. Having a bike or two front and center at any event is a great way to showcase your latest and greatest offering. But I always prioritized events and locations that allowed us to set up Jumpstart. Letting people feel the power of a H-D is a powerful marketing tool. Once someone takes that first JumpStart, others always seem to follow. The most successful events that include Jumpstart are ones where Jumpstart almost becomes an amusement park ride. I always liked the idea of trying to kickstart a line, like a rollercoaster. What if you set out an orange velvet rope to cordon off the line with a "Line Starts Here" sign at the head of the line.

 I liked trying to turn the Jumpstart ride into an event by adding more realism to the experience. Adding a large fan in front of the bike adds an extra dimension and I always made sure to take photos of each rider on the bike. My goal was to make the photo worthy of sharing on social media. So we printed out a large backdrop of a beautiful countryside and hung it up behind the rider. When we took the photo, the rider's hair was blowing in the wind, the background made it look like they we're cruising through the backroads, and they had a giant smile on their face.  

Of course the objective of getting potential customers on a Jumpstart is to generate leads. If your dealership uses Scorpus, the Scorpus app can complete the Jumpstart release form in less than a minute and your customer's information is automatically added to your database. Once the form is completed, an Opportunity is created and assigned to a member of your bike sales team. And don't forget, that awesome photo you have of them on that bike is a great excuse to connect with that customer a few days after the event.

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