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Sponsorship Of Professional Associations To Total $304 Million In 2004

June 08, 2004: Marketing-savvy sponsorship packages fuel corporate interest; spending rises 20 percent since 2000

For Immediate Release:
June 8, 2004

For More Information Contact:
William Chipps, IEG, LLC, Tel: 312/944-1727; william.chipps@sponsorship.com; www.sponsorship.com

Chicago, Ill. Just a few years ago, most professional member associations viewed sponsorship as either a preferred-pricing scheme—such as tapping UPS to offer member discounts on overnight shipping—or as a designation for major exhibitors at their annual conferences.

But times are changing, with associations becoming increasingly savvy with their sponsorship sales efforts in a quest to expand non-dues revenue. Now many are offering year-round packages that often include official status; naming rights to events and programs; and unique access to members and senior leadership.

Those efforts have caught the attention of corporate America. Companies are expected to spend $304 million on association sponsorships in 2004, up from $279 million last year and $250 million in 2000, according to IEG, Inc., the world’s leading sponsorship research and consulting firm.

In addition to offering more marketing-driven deals, associations are benefiting from companies’ increased focus on relationship marketing programs.

"A few years ago associations might have been dismissed as too small or too niche, but they are now gaining favor among sponsors who place a higher value on one-to-one marketing opportunities than on reaching a mass audience," said Nancy Fogle, vice president, IEG Consulting.

Below, other reasons why companies sponsor professional associations:

Loyalty and Shared Values
As the promoters of good ideas, education and ethical standards in their industries, professional associations typically have credibility and value with members.

Some companies believe associations offer audiences even more loyalty to their sponsors than constituents of sports teams, causes and other property types because they are often overlooked by corporations. That loyalty is further strengthened because members of associations typically have common aspirations.

Members As Purchasers of Business Products
Sponsors often align with associations to tap into their members’ purchasing power. For example, the National Thoroughbred Racing Assn. found success with a new sponsorship program that guaranteed each sponsor new customers and incremental revenue. Results? The NTRA had three sponsors before launching the program. Now it has 10.

Members As Consumers
Companies also market to members of professional associations as groups of consumers with similar demographics and lifestyles.

Take Subaru of America, Inc. Through detailed customer research, the auto marketer discovered that many of its customers work in specific professions—including healthcare, education and engineering—and tend to favor outdoor sports and recreation. As a result, Subaru partnered with a number of professional membership associations and lifestyle organizations, including Professional Ski Instructors of America, American Speech-Language-Hearing Assn. and the National Gardening Assn.

Members As Influentials
In addition to purchasing power, some associations offer another layer of value: members who influence broader audiences. Case in point: The Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau has sold several five-figure sponsorships to banks, insurance companies and other categories; the packages offer high-level access to the CVB’s 1,700 members, many of whom are wealthy, influential business owners.


Professional Membership Resources:
Professional membership association marketers who want to learn more about taking their sponsorship programs to the next level should attend IEG Association Marketing Strategies Seminar. This full-day seminar based on IEG’s successful Selling More Sponsorship Seminar Series, but specifically tailored to professional membership associations, will be held October 18, 2004, at the Park Hyatt Washington in Washington, D.C. Marketers should also check out the IEG Association Marketing Strategies Forum—a free list serve offering discussions on relevant topics and networking opportunities—at www.sponsorship.com.

For More Information Contact:
William Chipps, IEG, LLC, Tel: 312/944-1727; Fax: 312/944-1897;
E-mail: william.chipps@sponsorship.com or visit IEG's Web site: www.sponsorship.com

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