CM Spending Speeds Past Sports Sponsorships

Ieg_1_2Sponsorship consultancy IEG, Inc. is projecting that cause marketing spending will rise 20.5 percent to $1.3 billion this year, making cause marketing the fastest growing segment of sponsorship.

The growth gives cause marketing a ten percent slice of the sponsorship pie, up from nine percent last year.  The biggest slice still goes to sports sponsorships, which command a whopping 66 percent of all sponsorship dollars.

The top three industries sponsoring nonprofits are retailers, automakers and banks.

Not surprisingly, I think cause marketing sponsorships should be part of every company's marketing mix.  But unlike other types of sponsorships (like paying to slap your logo on the Green Monster at Fenway Park) cause marketing has several unique advantages.

  • The halo effect.  While other types of sponsorships give you visibility with consumers, cause marketing can actually enhance your favorability with them.  In short, it gives consumers a better reason to do business with you than just product or price.  Whenever I see a corporate sponsorship at Fenway I always wonder how much the company is overcharging its customers to pay for it.  I bet I'm not alone.  Visibility is great.  But visibility with favorability is better.
  • Charities can ask for, well, charity.  I often tell my clients that being a nonprofit has certain advantages, like being able to ask for free or discounted stuff.  Take BMC's involvement with the Boston Triathlon.  When the race director needed promotional items I called one of BMC's retail partners and explained that any money the event could save would mean more money for the hospital.  Playing the charity card got us a 75 percent discount on the items we needed.  Would the Red Sox do that for you?
  • It's free.  My sponsorships generally come at no direct cost to retailers (the Red Sox charge people for just ASKING about sponsorships).  Why?  Because that's not where the money is.  A retailer with lots of foot traffic could raise ten times the money they could write a check to you for if they just sold mobiles to their customers.  Ask the Jimmy Fund if this works for them.  In the case of BMC's Halloween Town, the mobile program pays for the retailer's sponsorship and promotes the event.  That's worth a lot more to me than some go-away money.  Besides cause marketing what other type of sponsorship can you ask your customers to pay for at the register? 

If you're a retailer and don't believe me, test it out for yourself.  At one register, ask your shoppers if they can donate a dollar to help a poor, sick child.  At a second, ask them if they could spare a dollar so you can flash your company name on the jumbotron at Fenway.  Believe me, just because New Englanders love the Red Sox doesn't mean they don't think like Yankees.

Hat tip: Learned on Women   

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