In two recent articles I’ve talked about firstly the distinction between giving to charities and community groups and paying for genuine law firm marketing sponsorships (here) and secondly the best way to manage those contributions to the community (here).
In this article I’ll give you the five questions you must ask yourself before agreeing to support a law firm marketing sponsorship opportunity.
1. Is this a marketing sponsorship or is this charity?
For a detailed discussion on this topic visit my article here. In brief, its important to understand the distinction since a true marketing sponsorship opportunity must be assessed with reference to your law firm marketing plan in a business like way, while a yes or no decision on a charitable gift may be based on very different criteria.
2. Who will this message reach?
A well thought out sponsorship can be one of the most effective ways to reach a niche, target market. But you must understand who your target market is and whether this sponsorship is going to reach them.
Refer back to your law firm marketing plan, (if you don’t have one give me a call), and think about niche markets you’ve identified or types of clients you want to attract.
If the sponsorship provides an opportunity to get in front of those groups or quality referral sources in a way that is not usually available it might be worth pursuing. But if the audience is only vaguely related to a target industry or is made up of the right industry but lacks decision makers your money is probably better spent elsewhere.
3. What do I get for my money?
Make sure you do your homework when you receive a sponsorship request. It can be easy to say, “Oh, that’s my target industry” and send off a cheque for a $1,000. But if that money only gets you a logo on their program and a mention at the opening breakfast you might be better off spending your money sending an extra person to the event to simply network.
Don’t be afraid to ask for more. Many sponsorship opportunities remain unfilled at conferences and events so there is room for negotiation. Consider asking for:
- a speaker’s spot
- a chair or introductory spot
- extra tickets so you have more people to work the room
- a link from their website to yours (the right link can be as valuable as any other part of a sponsorship)
- personal time with a keynote speaker, either to make a new connection or as an extra benefit just for your clients at the event
- more prominent signage display
- access to the mailing list is unlikely but the organisers might be willing to include an offer from your firm in the post-event communications
4. Am I a small fish in a big pond?
Some sponsorship opportunities with large, well recognised organisations are hotly contested. Often resulting in bidding wars that greatly outweigh the actual benefit.
If you can’t compete at this level look for the road less travelled and find opportunities that might have smaller audiences, but greater opportunity for your firm to stand out from the crowd.
5. How can I maximise this opportunity?
If your firm’s sponsorship strategy only involves sending a cheque and a copy of your logo you’re wasting your money.
Critical to sponsorship decision making is to work out what steps you could take so that your investment is multiplied into the best possible law firm marketing opportunity.
- What else can you get for your money from the list provided above?
- Who is attending that you want to develop a relationship with?
- Who is attending that you want to meet? Who can introduce you?
- How many people should you send to maximise the networking time?
- What introductions can you make to build “credit” with your contacts?
- Should you host a sideline or after hours event with your key contacts?
- What will you learn at the event and how can you leverage that information into your marketing plan?
- How can you follow up with the people you’ll meet?
The money paid by law firms for marketing sponsorships remains one of the least tracked marketing investments. But by asking yourself these five questions you’ll get much more out of your sponsorships than the fleeting, warm, fuzzy feeling of hearing your name in a list of sponsors.
If you need some clear direction on dealing with law firm marketing sponsorships in your firm just give us a call. We’re always happy to help.