Corporate golf event planners might easily follow the standard wisdom when it comes to finding sponsors. But I'm going to warn you against what everybody else recommends.
People say that you should create your sponsorship offer and marketing materials and then look for sponsors. I say you should do the exact opposite.
Sponsors have different needs and interests, and they deserve varying types of solicitations. For example, sponsors who would be entertaining executives at your event might view your day of golf as an environment in which to relax, meet and greet, and network. But other sponsors might just want to contribute to maintain their brand recognition. They might not even attend, but they want to make certain that their message is seen and heard.
Follow these seven steps to customize your offer and attract all kinds of sponsors:
Make certain that your sponsorship offer is easily understood. Beware the graphic artist who is tempted to be creative for creativity's sake, and make sure that the design is clear and straightforward.
Focus your material on the value to the potential sponsor. It must answer this question: “Why should I, the sponsor, participate in your event versus all the other options available to me?”
Include a premium in your sponsorship offer over and above what they would receive on the day of the event, such as a weekend getaway for two at a local upscale hotel or a private golf lesson with a pro. You'll be surprised at how much this is appreciated.
Explain the logical reason that the potential sponsor should participate, and then connect an emotional motivation for them to participate.
Add a “call to action” in your offer, such as an expiration date or limited availability, to create a sense of urgency.
Tell the sponsor what to do next. Do they need to mail the sponsorship form? Contact you by phone? Send an e-mail? Sign up on the Web?
Include a guarantee that, in case of inclement weather, the sponsor's investment will be returned or used at a later date.
These seven tips will provide real results and help you to attract more sponsors to your next event.
Mike Mucci is executive director of Golf www.golftp1.comPlanning Marketing … All Access. GTPMAA focuses on marketing strategies and techniques for all aspects of golf event planning.