3 Reasons Why Your Sponsors Love Sponsored Content

Find out why sponsors are committed to investing in sponsored content opportunities and how your association can create a scalable program to grow non-dues revenue.

Associations running into event sponsorship roadblocks are not alone. Nearly half in a recent global survey report having difficulty securing enough sponsorships to cover growing costs, and those sponsors who do come in are investing fewer funds into events than they have in the past. According to a recent blog post by association consultant Bruce Rosenthal, sponsors forced to abandon traditional event sponsorships during the pandemic found other ways to achieve their marketing goals, and “many of those companies aren’t coming back as association conference sponsors.”

One place those companies are turning to is sponsored content. Along with the immediate benefit of 24/7 exposure untethered from a few days of exhibit hall networking, sponsors are embracing sponsoring content as a reliable path to reach association members in an impactful way.

3 reasons why your sponsors embrace sponsored content

Today’s sponsors want more than a quick mention during an event’s opening ceremony or their logo on a buffet napkin. They are looking to foster engagement and provide value in lasting ways that stand out, strategies that build credibility by demonstrating their expertise.

Here are three reasons why more sponsors are embracing sponsored content as a surefire way to reach their goals.

1. Sponsored content provides brand alignment

One reason members join their respective associations is to align themselves with an organization they see as credible and trustworthy. Sponsors seek that same kind of positive connection. That’s right, your association’s esteemed position as an authoritative leader within your field grants you a significant edge in vying for a share of corporate sponsors' finite marketing budgets. In fact, a recent study found the top benefit companies hope to gain from sponsoring associations is the opportunity to become thought leaders.

Transit solutions provider TripShot uses content sponsorship to boost its brand awareness in front of high-value association membership. “We wanted a way to get in front of more public transit systems and make sure that we were communicating to them in the right way,” says Danny Drees, proposal writer and content creator at TripShot. “Sponsored content is a great way to combine our in-person presence at association events with a continual presence on those associations' websites 365 days a year."

Partnering with industry associations on content distribution is key to wayfinding technology company GoodMaps’s overall marketing strategy. "Our brand cannot develop and gain trust if we're not able to partner with these different associations,” says Amelia Johnson, marketing manager at GoodMaps. “Our relationship with the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is super important for us to have places where we can have content syndication plans that actually matter. We need to be able to get our content in front of the right eyes.”

Sponsors find value in the credibility they gain when they align their brand with the earned trust associations have built with their members.
Case Study:

How Two Associations Deepened Member Value While Growing Non-Dues Revenue

2. Sponsored content highlights thought leadership

Sponsors have a wealth of knowledge and expertise to share. When they pursue thought leadership as a marketing goal, they want to leverage their expertise to position themselves as leading authorities in their respective fields. Sharing insights, ideas, and innovative solutions that address industry challenges or trends through sponsored content allows those organizations to help shape and guide the discourse within their sector.

Sponsors can showcase their in-depth knowledge by producing compelling, authoritative sponsored content — such as articles, research reports, whitepapers, ebooks, on-demand webinars, and podcasts. This builds their brand’s credibility and trust, provides value to members, and contributes unique perspectives that spark conversations and drive innovation — with your association as the catalyst!

Nearly two-thirds of B2B decision-makers and C-suite executives say that an organization’s thought leadership can be moderately or much more effective at demonstrating the potential value of its products/services than traditional product-oriented marketing.

Partnering with associations is a great way for sponsors to get their thought leadership content in front of the exact audiences they want to target: other industry leaders seeking solutions for their problems. By providing authoritative, easy-to-digest, and exclusively available content for association members, sponsors can build awareness and differentiate themselves from their competitors.

3. Sponsored content provides business development opportunities

Of course, the success of any sponsor’s marketing efforts is ultimately gauged by its impact on sales. This return on investment (ROI) is how CMOs justify their marketing choices to CEOs and how CEOs and directors justify their decisions to stakeholders.

According to one study, nearly all marketers say lead generation is their most important goal, and ROI on lead gen spend is a crucial metric. Sponsors embrace sponsored content because it works. Indeed, another recent study on the latest marketing outlook found most organizations recognize content marketing as the channel producing leads with the highest ROI.

For TripShot, most sponsored content leads convert. “About 65% of our leads convert into a discovery call, which is a really high conversion rate. We're also hitting our goal of getting our name out there and increasing brand awareness," says Drees.

When structured the right ways, sponsored content can be an ideal lead generation tool for sponsors keen on leveraging sponsored content into business development opportunities.

The No. 1 challenge associations have with sponsored content

Sponsored content opportunities are not a novel prospect for most associations. But largely restricted to sponsored webinars and one-off native print and digital ads, your association is likely one of the many who find these efforts challenging to scale. At least not enough to have a meaningful impact on your association’s revenue.

That’s why the No. 1 challenge associations have with sponsored content efforts is to scale them in such a way that sponsored content programs can maintain value while becoming a reliable, substantial source of recurring non-dues revenue.
White Paper:

Growing Non-Dues Revenue with an Online Resource Library

Scale your sponsored content program with an interactive Resource Library

Done right, sponsored content programs drive value for the sponsor through thought leadership and lead generation, the association through non-dues revenue and the added educational value, and members who receive exclusive, insightful materials to support their professional development.

Your association can achieve its sponsored content goals through Lead Marvels’ scalable online Resource Library platform. With little effort from your association, our centrally managed and white-labeled online Resource Library will allow you to showcase curated thought-leadership content and resources supplied by corporate sponsors, industry solution providers, and advertisers, as well as internally developed content.

There is no cost for associations or their members. Premium content published in the library generates a lead for the sponsor each time a member downloads a piece of content. It’s that simple! (See this article for more information on how an association Resource Library works.)

To learn more about growing your association’s non-dues revenue through sponsored content using our no-cost Resource Library platform, request a free demonstration today.

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