Partnership Marketing for a small business

There are so many major sporting events taking place this summer eg: the Invictus Games (Orlando 8-12 May); EUFA Euro 2016 (10 June – 10 July) and of course Rio Olympics (5-21 August) to name but a few, it seemed to make sense to look at Sponsorship and Partnership Marketing.   Please read on to see how a small business could benefit from this form of Marketing to help drive sales and growth.

What is Sponsorship Marketing?

Well in its simplest of form it is the agreement between two like minded businesses to help support and drive business for each other.  Sponsorship marketing is unquestioningly a growing business with over $57.5 billion being spent globally in 2015, set to grow even further in 2016.  Often the objective can be brand awareness, which is where you would typically think of boards around a football or rugby pitch, emotionally connecting with your target audience in a unique way.  But then there is a second tier of activity whereby you are connecting with them in a tactical way to help drive business or sales, whether that is to test drive a car, book a hotel or buy a product.

What is Partnership Marketing?

How does this differ, well Partnership Marketing works on a smaller scale and is more tactical.  So, rather than the brand awareness piece it is more about driving response.  For a small business this could be to feature in another complimentary businesses newsletter, on their website (great for SEO) or work together on a project or event.  I work with so many local business who use this collaborative approach to help drive sales, whether you are a cake maker wanting to partner with a florist for weddings; a photographer working with a venue or two lifestyle coaches working collaboratively to make a better proposition.

How could it help my small business?

Partnership Marketing is a really key, often unknown area of marketing to activate against for any business and is often very cost effective or free of charge.  It suggests an endorsement of one product to another, as long as the activity is equal and reciprocal then it can work very well.  A note of caution though, be clear on what you are going to get for your money or time so that you are not disappointed.  Here are some thoughts as to how this could work for your business:

  1. Find a business which compliments your business proposition and see if they would like to work collaboratively together.
  2. Brainstorm ways you could support each other e.g.: feature in each others newsletters, on each others website (great for SEO), work at a joint event, etc.
  3. Make sure you are both clear on what you are going to get from the partnership and make sure it is equal.
  4. Track how this has worked for you e.g.: sales, bookings, etc.
  5. Enjoy!  Have fun.

Case Studies

 There are so many case studies and examples of bigger brands who use sponsorship as a way of connecting with their target audience e.g.: Savers sponsorship of the FA cup, Orange’s sponsorship in UEFA Euro 2016 to the Olympics themselves.  The partnership example I would like to focus on is the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

For those of you who know me, you will know I LOVE horses and I was lucky enough to visit Royal Windsor Horse Show last week and see the Queen’s 90th birthday celebration.  They have some great sponsors in place and this side of the event has certainly grown over the last few years.  Land Rover is their key sponsor and you can see them featured at the show itself, across the programmes, arena boards, in emails, on the website plus in many more communications.  Often so that you are sometimes unaware that you are seeing them.  Of course the big tactical push for them is enabling you to test drive the cars on site, interestingly though they don’t promote it on their website, or if it is there then they have hidden it really well.

COMPETITION! In celebration of partnership marketing and to help demonstrate how successful it can could work, I am offering you the chance to feature within my June newsletter.  All you have to do is to drop me an email telling me more about you business and the lucky winner will be drawn at random by Friday 10 June 2016.  Good Luck!

If you would like some help in identifying relevant partnerships or some help in maximising on an existing opportunity, please email Sophie at

Wishing you a happy and successful May/ June! 




Sophie Comas

A highly successful self-motivated and results driven, senior marketing professional. My passion lies within developing and delivering marketing solutions which make a difference in today's complex digital market place. A marketeer with a strong academic background and broad ranging level of experience working with small businesses and in the travel and hospitality sector, across the Thames Valley, I love a challenge!

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