How to use sponsorship to elevate your marketing strategy in 2023


Sponsorship does not just refer to sports sponsorship. Today, many businesses are considering sponsorship for their marketing strategies. Sponsorship is often an underutilised marketing strategy that can benefit both small and large businesses. Sponsorship marketing can grow your brand, improve your reputation and create a positive image by working alongside a relevant sponsor and brand.

Here, we will share exactly what sponsorship marketing is, sponsorship’s marketing benefits, and how to implement sponsorship in your own marketing strategy for 2023.


What is sponsorship marketing?

Sponsorship marketing is when two brands decide to work together professionally for mutual gain. Businesses often sponsor events, trade shows, brands, and charities to achieve specific brand goals and improve their competitive advantage. Sponsorships don’t directly promote your company, products, or services. Your company supports and finances an event, business, or charity your target audiences care about. Your business and brand are then associated with the sponsor. Sponsorship can be provided in different forms including funding, resources and services. Sponsors receive in return a boost in brand awareness and reputation.

Some examples of sponsorship marketing include:

  • Charity events
  • Entertainment sponsorships including concerts, festivals, theatrical events and other outdoor entertainment
  • Media sponsorships  (Particularly podcast, TV, radio and online or print media)
  • Sporting events


The impact of sponsorship marketing

Sponsorship can be a very worthwhile investment for your brand and marketing efforts. Sponsorship allows you to reach a targeted audience and enhance the sponsors’ brand public perception. The affiliation creates a ‘halo effect’ of goodwill, reflecting the positive associations with the sponsor.

Sponsorship makes a positive impact by empowering the existence of entities consumers care about, sponsorship is typically more positively perceived than advertising’s sole focus on commercial goals. Sponsorship’s commercial intent is more subtle and indirect compared to traditional advertising.

Brands or businesses can establish credibility with their target market by investing in sponsorship. To achieve effective results, there needs to be common values, visions, and goals shared between the sponsorship’s beneficiary and the sponsor. Simply put, the business or organisation you choose to sponsor should relate to your business.

Sponsorship provides invaluable exposure by allowing companies to reach and connect with their audiences and build consumer trust through affiliation. Sponsorship marketing allows businesses to cut through the noise and reach their audience with targeted messaging, 

Read more about the marketing benefits of sponsorship.


How to add sponsorship to your marketing strategy

A meaningful and effective sponsorship campaign will help your business to improve its credibility, promote brand awareness, improve public image and differentiate from competitors. Sponsorship marketing should be used strategically to reach your target customers.

To build out a sponsorship strategy in your marketing plan, you should research events, organisations, and charities that your target customers care about. Sponsorship reach and opportunities can prove to be a good use of your marketing budgeting compared to other traditional advertising.

  1. Identify sponsorship goals
    Before considering adding sponsorship to your marketing plan, your business should consider what you will accomplish through a sponsorship. You should ensure that the sponsorship in mind aligns with your business needs and goals. For example, to improve your business reputation with the local community, you could research what events and issues the community care about such as supporting a local sport or youth group.
  2. Research your target markets
    Perform research into the company’s target market to add sponsorship to a marketing plan, this will help to learn about the interests of the company’s ideal customer. Aligning the sponsorship strategy to your company’s target market can help the company benefit from the sponsorship. The sponsor should consider commonalities between themselves and the sponsorship beneficiary. For example, a healthcare brand could align with a sports team.
  3. Allocate a budget
    Decide how much of your marketing budget can be spent on the sponsorship campaign. A smaller business could consider local events and charities to sponsor that fits within their marketing budget.
  4. Engage with the local community
    Networking can be a great way for businesses to recognise potential sponsorship opportunities. Networking can also be a great opportunity to identify local groups and charities that people in the area find important.
  5. Research sponsorship opportunities
    To identify sponsorship opportunities, businesses can attend industry, local community, or charity events and research past events that align with their target audience.
  6. Create a sponsorship proposal
    Once you have identified a suitable sponsorship opportunity, you can create a sponsorship proposal. The proposal should include a company description, similar values in common with the organisation you are sending the proposal to and you can include your ideas and contribution in mind.
  7. Sponsor an event and get started with your sponsorship
    Once the sponsorship has been secured, the sponsor can start to plan the sponsorship campaign or event. A photocall and PR outreach are sometimes used to spread awareness around the sponsorship campaign or event.
  8. Measure the results
    After the campaign or event has ended, the sponsor should evaluate the results to see if the initial business goals were achieved. It also provides insight into future sponsorship strategies and opportunities.


Examples of sponsorship marketing done well

1. Laya Healthcare & Leinster Rugby, Munster Rugby and Connacht Rugby

Laya healthcare is the proud health and wellbeing partner of Leinster, Munster, and Connacht Rugby and last year celebrated their eighth year of rugby sponsorship in Ireland. Their “A Beat Ahead” campaign brought the best of laya healthcare to provincial rugby and was designed to uniquely connect fans with their team.

2. Energia and All Ireland Rugby Leagues

Energia are the proud title sponsor of the Energia AIL and Official Energy Partner of both Leinster Rugby and the IRFU. To celebrate the anniversary of the All-Ireland League, Energia created a look back at AIL’s 30-year contribution to Irish sport and culture.

3. ALDI and Electric Picnic

ALDI Ireland was the Official Supermarket for Electric Picnic 2022. ALDI created a fun sponsorship activation to kick off the much anticipated return of Electric Picnic, Music and Arts Festival. Picnicers were able to visit ALDI’s pop-store and shop for essential festival items throughout the weekend.There will be a pop-up store located in the campsite where customers can shop essential festival items throughout the weekend. Picnicers will be able to purchase all their festival essentials from breakfast foods, snacks, sweet treats, beauty items, sun cream to those all-important festival Specialbuys to fully kit out your camping area when you arrive.

4. Indeed & Dermot and Dave Today FM

In 2022, Indeed, the number 1 job site in the world, became the new official sponsor of Dermot & Dave’s mid-morning show on Today FM.

Commenting on the new partnership, Dermot & Dave said: “Are we excited about the new partnership? Indeed we are! Working with a huge global brand like Indeed is very exciting for the show. We’re very much looking forward to creating some great content together and we just know our wonderful listeners are going to love the new partnership, especially those that are on the hunt for the next step in their career!”

5. Glenisk & Offaly GAA

In 2022, Organic Dairy Glenisk announced a 5-year Partnership with Offaly GAA, Camogie and Go Games that supports all age groups. The sponsorship is a great example of a brand engaging with its community.

How to choose the right sponsorship

In order to choose the right sponsorship for your business, you should consider the following questions to ensure the sponsorship aligns with your business goals, brand, and target audience.

  1. How will the sponsorship affect your business image?
  2. Will the sponsorship create new business opportunities?
  3. Does the sponsorship align with your customers and target audience?
  4. What will the sponsorship campaign consist of?
  5. How long is your sponsorship commitment?
  6. What will the business get in return?

Legacy’s award-winning brand and sponsorship division has broadened its reach beyond sports into many different business sectors. We help brands to select and secure sponsorship and activate the brand throughout the campaign. Our campaigns include a strategic mixture of communications, content creation, social media, influencer marketing, events, and experiential.

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