Sponsors: Take care of your current customers

September 22, 2011

Sponsors are constantly looking for ways to better improve their activation at sporting events and every decision seems to revolve around acquiring new customers and seeing an ROI. One of the best tactics is to use the event to take care of your current customers, and increase the prestige of being part of the brand. BMW is one the brands that is taking full advantage of this tactic.

BMW has partnered with Big Ten Sports Properties  to become the conference’s official luxury automobile. As a reward to their customers, fans arriving to the season’s inaugural Big Ten football championship game in a BMW will be given their own reserved parking spots close to Lucas Oil Stadium.  BMW will also establish a similar preferred parking program at many of the conference’s championship events including Men and Women’s Basketball, Baseball, and Olympic Sports. BMW has also wisely created a similar system at golf tournaments on the PGA and European tours.

Speaking of the PGA, another brand that employs this method well is American Express. AmEx’s activation centers around taking care of the card members and allows them access to PGA professional that non card members could only dream of. At the U.S. Open Championship, American Express offered card members free headphones and radios to listen to all the day’s action, just for showing their card.

American Express has also enabled the PGA to start a “Friend of a Card Member” that allows anyone paying for a golf lesson with an AmEx card to bring a friend and get a lesson for free.  Another program called “Championship Tees” enables card members to have access to courses that have previously hosted PGA or USGA championships. It’s clear that American Express knows how to take advantage of sporting events.

Sometimes, it pays for a sponsor to take care of their own rather than spend wildly to attract attention. Not only can the company save money, but with a carefully crafted activation, they can create a buzz and turn their own customers into their best marketers.

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