What I’ve discovered about sponsorship is that we all march to the beat of our own drummer. Some of us just march. That’s right, there’s no beat, no rhythm and ultimately no purpose. A sponsorship with no purpose ends up sounding like the teacher from the Charlie Brown cartoons. You know the one where all you hear is, whah, wha whaa… wha, whah, whah. That’s the same thing I hear with a sponsorship with no beat, no rhythm and no purpose.

My question today is, why sponsor? A simple question, right? We’d give that much thought to an ad or any marketing program we want to run – what is the purpose?

The power of sponsorship as a marketing tool is to connect your clients or potential clients to your brand. You want them to feel something, draw their attention or have them interact with your brand, products or service. In many ways, finding the “purpose” of your sponsorship is not different than developing an ad – at least in the formative stages. What is central to your purpose? Are you calling attention to a new facility? Maybe you have a new partnership or you are just trying to differential your brand from all the others that are screaming for attention.

What’s your endgame?

One of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, talks about – “begin with the end in mind.” As a matter of fact, if you do not follow this principle what you end up with is the “sheep” mentality. In study out of a University in Leeds, researchers found that if you get a just a few sheep to move in one direction, the rest of the herd will ultimately follow. How many times have you seen the “pick-a-package” (sheep) philosophy to sponsorship? We’ve all seen them, they are usually labeled, gold, silver and bronze, or something to that effect. Someone else has effectively told you what your sponsorship program is without even considering your needs, your brand or your budget.

Let’s go back to the “begin with the end in mind” approach. I cannot stress how true this is with sponsorship. Once you have defined your goals, other elements of the program will become clearer. Additionally, other elements of your marketing program can be utilized to bring together those common threads.

It’s true that sponsorship will require more effort but when done properly with a unified purpose your marketing will pay huge dividends. Be bold, take charge, and think about your goals and those of your marketing and sponsorship programs. Now pick up your drumsticks and result will be a beat and a rhythm that will result in beautiful music resulting in marketing success.