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After a long day of work, I was on my way to meet a gentleman who worked at Provident Bank Park, which is the home of a local Can-Am baseball team in New York. I was looking to discuss some possible advertising opportunities with him within the stadium confines. I arrived at the stadium and was greeted by Mr. Goldstein and was given a quick tour of the area. During our stroll, he began to point out possible options for advertising.
As he was speaking, all I could think of was, “How much is this going to cost…”
After our walk, we sat down and I showed him some of my ideas for my “Triple Play Boiler deals.” Basically, if you have BMC Plumbing install a boiler, you will receive 10 percent off the installation, four tickets, and lunch vouchers to the game. A portion of proceeds to be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
He loved my ideas and we began to negotiate the different pricing options. So, I began to point at the different advertisements in the stadium.
“How much is that huge billboard in center field?”
The price made my jaw drop to the ground! I couldn’t believe it!
I then said, “David that is way out of our price range. What other options do you have?”
He began to tell me more and he was able to get the price down to what I thought was somewhat reasonable. David knew I was still in shock of what they were asking.
He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Sean, have you ever looked into having a major company sponsor you and your business?”
I looked at him with confusion but very interested in what he had to say.
“No, what do you mean?” I asked.
“Sean, you get a company to advertise with you and they put up half the cost. If they believe in your company, what you’re advertising, where you’re advertising and the price is right, there is no reason why that company wouldn’t sponsor you and BMC Plumbing.”
Finding the right sponsor
Now, that I have a rough idea of what David and the organization are asking for in advertising space, I can now begin my brainstorming ideas of what company would be willing to Sponsor BMC Plumbing and Heating. I didn’t just want to reach out to just any company, however, I wanted a company that I trusted and believed, in the products they sold. All plumbing, heating and HVAC companies have certain brands and products they are loyal to and prefer over other brands. For BMC Plumbing, it was a no brainer! ECR International / Dunkirk was the one company we trusted when using their products, specifically the Dunkirk Boilers, which we have been using for many years.
I jumped onto the computer and started to research how I could contact someone from the company. This is where social media helped tremendously. Between Facebook and LinkedIn, I was able to connect with some of the individuals over at ECR International. I came up with a business plan, which included: Cost of advertisement, location of advertisement opportunity and duration of ad etc.
Shortly thereafter, I received a positive phone call back from Dunkirk to say they loved my ideas. We then began our negotiations and ideas for a sign at the stadium. Since the deal was split 50/50 in cost, we ensured that both parties had equal opportunity to advertise their product on the banner. Not only did we have a large banner displayed in the stadium, but we were able to set up a tent and table for a few of the games to display some of Dunkirk’s newer products and help advertise BMC Plumbing. This was a huge success for both companies and the beginning of a great business relationship!
Something you may NOT know...
After reading a bit about sponsorships in business, I began to find out some interesting information that I was not aware of. Most every plumbing supply house that we go to everyday has money in which is set aside for advertising/promotional purposes. This money is referred to as co-op money. What is co-op money? Many suppliers, manufactures and distributors offer cooperative advertising programs (co-op for short), that your business can use.
The term cooperative, in a business advertising context, means just what it says. If you (your plumbing company) spends some money, the manufacturer will also spend some money, in which you both cooperate to get the advertising opportunity done and sell the manufacturer’s product. The most important thing to do is ask! Talk to your marketing and/or advertising managers of the supply house. These supply houses are not going to offer this money to you! If you are a loyal customer to the supply house and to a specific company’s product and have a good advertisement plan/idea, there should be no reason why the supply house wouldn’t agree to work together.
I learned a lot that evening when I took a walk around Provident Bank Park with Mr. Goldstein. There are always ways to cut some costs when advertising your business, which can also lead to developing some new and wonderful business relationships with other people. My relationship with Dunkirk is great. They saw an opportunity in me and our company and were willing to give us and our ideas a shot. So, next time you look to do some advertising for your plumbing company, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask!