On a couple different fronts lately, my thinking has turned to the idea of sponsorships as a method of advertising.

Every business faces these opportunities. You get a call from out of the blue asking if your business would be willing to sponsor an event or a league and often, the request comes from someone you know.

Of course, you're always going to have those discretionary calls where you might choose to sponsor something simply because you believe in it or want to support a friend. But, for the other times, when it's a legitimate opportunity to advertise your brand, I wonder, how do you decide whether or not to say yes?

Following are some thoughts on how to make that call:

Make sure it's brand consistent
If your business is all about quality products and service, then maybe sponsoring a golf tournament held at a course that is the equivalent of a cow pasture may not be a great idea. Realize that when you sponsor something, you tie your brand to it. Make sure that it's consistent with who you are.

Who is the audience?
You need to know who is going to see your ad. If your business is selling skateboards, signing up to be a hole sponsor at a golf tournament may not put your brand in front of a useful audience. Perhaps it will, but you need to know your market and let that help you decide what you will/will not sponsor.

How many other advertisers will my brand be mashed in with?
All too often, I see events and leagues do a bad job of limiting the sponsorships they take in. Of course, the reason for that is obvious; they want as much money as possible. But for the advertiser, it's critical to the success of your message getting through that you understand just how many other names your brand is going to have to compete with in order to get seen.

Are they offering any online advertising?
If they are, then you've got a better opportunity to understand the return on investment. Provide them with a unique URL to track users from and then see how many hits and any conversions that you might get from it. Then you'll know whether it's something you want to invest in again in the future.

Andrew VanderPloeg
Andrew VanderPloeg Guest Blogger, Consultant

Andrew served at Bark for over 20 years before recently taking over the role of Vice President of Marketing & Communications at ShareWord, one of our favorite organizations.