So What is on Offer?
Continuing on from last week’s theme, the question has to be asked: what is it that we can offer businesses in return for their investment in our product?
Traditional sponsorship packages rely on selling mobile billboard space. I still believe this is valid. A prominently located billboard in Adelaide will cost you $20,000 a month. A poster on the side of an average bus stop is worth around $250 a month. So for ten bus stops for a year this would be around $30,000. You would expect to pay much more for this in a larger city. So what are the advantages of choosing to have your logo plastered all over a cycling team versus more traditional billboards? The main difference is that with cycling you get engagement and loyalty of the fans. Unlike traditional cycling countries and communities, cycling in Australia is largely a white collar sport. The participants and fans generally have a higher than average disposable income, which makes them a great target market to sell products to. There is the underlying perception that cycling in Australia doesn’t get much coverage; which is true. However that puts the onus on the teams to build their own publicity. The key here is to engage with the public whenever and wherever possible. Social media of course, but also by participating in community events, having open invite training rides, and generally just being friendly, open and inclusive with the broader cycling community.
The 21st Century
Social media. This is something which is (relatively) very new, and especially with the rise of Instagram we now have a much more intimate way to connect with the cycling fan. The cycling billboard is no longer something you might see on TV, but something which you can follow anywhere. This new found ability to connect, follow and almost participate in the life of someone who has the possibilities to chase dreams is proving to be a huge drawcard. The beauty of the social media age is that it has the possibility to make traditional media sources redundant. We are now in a position to document the team, to create interesting stories and even publish our own race footage. This will help create a following. From this we can provide true value for money from sponsorship. With the addition of committed blogging we have yet another platform to encourage greater engagement with the community.
As social media has been discussed already this network isn’t Facebook, but something much more relevant to a company – a business network. Shared interests are a great way for business people to connect. With the cliché of “cycling is the new golf”, nothing says cycling more than sponsoring a cycling team. First impressions are key, and in business world were one contact can open up many new business opportunities then putting yourself in a market where you can connect with that person is a great place to start. Teams are also available to take the sponsors’ stakeholders or potential stakeholders out on training rides. In a country which idolises elite athletes, then this is a very useful tool.
The role of minor and supporting sponsors are often overlooked. Part of the reason some sponsors sign up is to improve their relationship with the major sponsors. But there are so many ways which smaller sponsors can get return for their investment, often in an almost risk free situation. The classic example is the café who signs up with the agreement that team’s training rides (including those with sponsors and the public) start and end at the café. At 10 coffees a week, that’s already $2,500 worth of investment returned before the brand building benefits are analysed. If you add in retail coffee bean purchases and the purchased loyalty of all involved in the team (upwards of 10 people), then a $5000 investment should be an almost risk free investment (a slight simplification but the point remains). Building your brand, with a guaranteed outcome makes perfect sense, and these synergies apply to many other industries as well.
Although it is easy to be negative about the state of domestic cycling in Australia, there are still great sponsorship opportunities available for companies to promote their businesses. The key is to ensure that deliverables are met, and to build teams and brands which can genuinely offer exposure.
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