BEST PRACTICE: Show off and sponsor

Sponsorship is not a new medium for the B2B marketer, in fact it has long been considered one of the most effective ways for business brands to get their name recognised or their product message across to their target audience. But as with any medium it is evolving with the times and marketers are taking an ever more complex approach in the quest to maximise its potential to the full.

Large scale entertainment events have always been exploited by B2B companies in some sense; most traditionally as a means of cementing already existing relationships with customers or suppliers. In the past, sponsorship in this sector was driven almost solely by hospitality; it was about using your affiliation with an event to wine and dine in the corporate boxes, entertaining your key business contacts one-on-one. Increasingly though, B2B companies are thinking less one-dimensionally. Instead of concentrating on having a presence at an event and schmoozing customers with expensive food and champagne, they are thinking harder about how they can use an event to show off how the product or service they are selling actually works.

This, says David Farrow, MD of 141 Worldwide Sports & Entertainment, is the key shift in attitude towards sponsorship. "Brands are thinking more about how they can use an event to dramatise their product and to this end it's important for them to create an environment where they are in control," he says.