Converting eyeballs to customers is an ongoing challenge marketers face as they first seek to get noticed, then persuade prospective customers that they should buy their products or services. In today's hypercompetitive environment, how does one break through the clutter and succeed at influencing buyer behavior? According to research released by the Advertising Research Foundation, a key to making it happen is connecting with prospects through events. The research found that customer purchase intent was higher among people who had been exposed to brand-sponsored events such as trade shows, sports, or the arts.
Why do sponsorships have such a positive impact? They give people the opportunity to interact with a company or brand in the case of a trade show. For sponsorship of sports, arts, or a social cause, a brand becomes associated with something to which people are emotionally attached, such as their favorite football team or musical artist.
While the associations sponsors develop when linked to an event or other property being sponsored are the outcomes they seek to attain, it is important to realize that just the mere association is not enough. Being recognized as "the official sponsor of ..." does create a desired link, but that link alone is relatively weak. Sponsors must build on the association through investments in advertising campaigns, web site content, sales promotions, sales force, and public relations efforts. In other words, a truly intergrated marketing communications effort is needed. To achieve the extent of brand impact found in the ARF study, sponsorship must go far beyond saturating a venue with signage or a slick booth presentation at a trade show! Link