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Tee Up Higher ROI: A Playbook for Insurance Company Sponsorships 

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Written By  
Bethany Ramos

Corporate sponsorships help insurance companies boost visibility and reach a broader audience. After all, sponsoring a community event—or even an athlete—brings immediate exposure. Strategic sponsorships can help your company connect with new segments, like young families at youth sporting events. 

From small and local to large and international, corporate sponsorships range in size. Small corporate sponsorships typically involve community events, school programs, or local organizations. They also make up a smaller percentage of a company’s budget, costing anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. 

Large sponsorships, on the other hand, involve sports leagues or major events. These partnerships demand a financial investment, with corporations dedicating up to 30 percent of their marketing budget. The payoff can be worth it, with the potential to reach millions. 

Which Corporate Sponsorships Are Really Working? 

The most successful corporate sponsorships are those you’ve probably seen. Among the bigger players, Nike’s sponsorship of Michael Jordan and Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of the Olympics are strong examples.  

What about the insurance sector? Here, well-known sponsorships include the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the State Farm WNBA Friday Night Spotlight, the Nationwide Arena for the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, and many more. 

Depending on the sponsorship, exposure can be enormous. No wonder 44 percent of corporate marketers increased their sponsorship budget last year. As many as 69 percent of sponsors said they expect their sponsorship department to play a more pivotal role within the next few years. 

If corporate sponsorships are worth the investment, how do you choose the one that’s right for your business? 
  • Look for sponsorships that reflect your brand. In the case of Nike, sponsoring a sports superstar was a no-brainer. An insurer might seek out sponsorship that aligns with their mission and shares their target audience. 
  • Brainstorm and be open-minded. To unearth more opportunities, schedule a meeting with stakeholders and ask for their perspective. They may see a fit beyond the obvious, or they could have connections with different organizations. 
  • Watch out for oversaturation. How many sponsors does an event already have, and how will this impact the attention you get? Most events allow multiple sponsors. But high-quality corporate sponsorships offer adequate exposure by limiting competition.  
  • Examine your customer data. Compare your data to a sponsorship’s demographic to determine if it’s a good match. Insurance companies often sponsor sports events because many sports fans fall within the ideal age range of an insurance customer. 

As you narrow down your top picks, see how a sponsorship might work with your existing marketing strategy. Integrating a new sponsorship requires developing cohesive messaging and creative content (blog, social, video, and others) that highlights the sponsorship’s impact. You can read more here about how we use an omnichannel approach when marketing our clients. 

How to Maximize Sponsorship ROI: 5 Best Practices 

To make corporate sponsorships worthwhile, you want to get the most return possible. Here are several best practices: 

1. Set up tracking prior to the event.  

Analyze financial return by establishing KPIs to track revenue during and after the sponsorship. Compare any increase in sales to historical data. Other KPIs might include lead gen, or the number of new leads generated at the event, and customer engagement (i.e., booth visits). 

2. Publicize your sponsorship and use it to enrich your marketing.

Assuming you chose a sponsorship opportunity that aligns with your ideal customer, they’ll be interested in learning about it. Feature your sponsorship in your direct marketing. Or conduct a new direct mail campaign dedicated to announcing a sponsorship with a special offer to entice new customers—like a chance to win tickets.  

An event hashtag can support and catalog the social copy you post about the event, as well as where it’s mentioned. Monitoring social media metrics like this (including likes, shares, and comments) is a great way to gauge impact on brand visibility.  

3. Take opportunities to network.  

If there are activities surrounding the event, like dinners, networking happy hours, and invitations to speak, take advantage. Networking may not directly increase revenue, but it boosts exposure and opens the door to new partnerships. 

4. Engage your team members.  

Involve employees in the sponsorship initiative to build excitement and support for the cause. Encourage employees to volunteer, attend the event, or participate in related fundraising activities to foster a sense of pride and community. 

5. Measure your overall performance.  

If any of your corporate sponsorships provide you with post-event analytics, you can use these, along with your own tracking, to determine ROI. Calculate the cost per customer acquisition by dividing the total cost of the sponsorship by the number of new customers gained. 

Don’t forget to factor in the ROI of your direct marketing campaigns. When working with our insurance clients, we provide extensive reporting after a direct mail send. Data like this can clue you in on how effective your marketing was and how many customers responded to the offer. 

Even when they’re successful, most corporate sponsorships don’t go off without a hitch. To set realistic expectations, it helps to prepare for possible challenges.  

One of the biggest pitfalls among insurance company sponsorships is a lack of clear objectives. Fortunately, this has an easy fix. Just revisit our first tip and make sure your KPIs are established. If you run into difficulty measuring your ROI, drill down on the tools you’re using. Customer surveys, analytics, and data modeling can all improve ROI assessment. 

Having solid tracking in place solves another common problem—managing internal stakeholder expectations. Communicating transparently with your stakeholders about the objectives, costs, and expected outcomes demonstrates the value of the sponsorship.

For insurance companies, corporate sponsorships are only gaining momentum, especially for sporting events. It’s hard to pass up the chance to reach such a wide audience. Over the next few years, digital sponsorships, like podcasts, and niche sponsorships, like pet adoption events when promoting pet insurance, are likely to become even more prevalent. 

Looking for a Way to Get Your Brand in Front of More People?  

Recently, FM Engage launched a direct mail program for an up-and-coming auto insurance client. The result was 20-times the audience growth and a total of 20 percent policy acceptance. Contact us to discuss your campaign options. 

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