How much should I budget for sponsorships?

People budgeting

"How much money should I budget for sponsorships?" 

We get this question at least once a week from founders.  

Sadly, the answer is generally the ever annoying "it depends" quickly followed by "what do you want to achieve".  But there is luckily some logic behind it.

Below are a few of the most common goals and how you might think about budgeting to achieve them.  

If your goal is to stay top of mind or test messaging...

Small, frequent, and sustained outreach to stay top of mind - i.e., banner ads - are the way to go. Display on various websites and social media platforms enables you to reach a broad audience and keep your brand top-of-mind.  These are super cheap and great for a small brand.   Plus, they generally are a few hundred dollars each for 3-6 months. 

The fun part about these is that you can focus test different markets or types of tactics (banner ads, newsletters, web popups) to see what "works" with your target audience.  When refining your marketing message, passive web-based ads or ads with A/B testing capabilities can be invaluable.

Sponsored content, native advertising, and platforms like Google Ads or Facebook Ads allow you to test different messaging strategies and optimize your advertising efforts based on actual user engagement.  These are also super cheap, with the messaging and creative being the bulk of your spending.  Here you generally want to budget for multiple rounds.   

If your goal is to generate leads or get qualitative feedback...

If your goal is to generate leads or actually hear the voice of the customer, invest in events. Trade shows, conferences, webinars, and other industry-specific events provide excellent opportunities to connect with potential customers, test your offer, build relationships and collect contact information for future marketing efforts.

This is the most common but also the most expensive (and exhausting) tactic.  But there is nothing better than being immersed in a room of potential clients.  Rule of thumb for brands starting out is no more than one "show" per month to allow you ample time for follow up and tweaking your messaging

If your goal is to get partnerships...

Join local associations, support networks, and communities.  These allow you to have a network of local entities who can help you work through problems, make recommendations, amplify content and of course co-promote.

These communities range from free to a few hundred dollars per month.  Join wisely though - going deep in a couple of communities is far more beneficial than going wide and not participating much in many communities.  


In short, there is no easy answer or magical budget number. Sponsorships are part of the media and marketing budget and should be considered holistically depending on your audience and how you connect with them.  For some, particularly smaller companies, they are in a constant agile state and need quick results.  

Understanding your goals is crucial for allocating your budget effectively. Continuously evaluate and adjust your advertising efforts based on performance data and shifting objectives to ensure your advertising dollars are well-spent and your business continues to grow. πŸ’‘πŸ’ΌπŸ“ˆ

Interested in benchmarking your budget versus industry events / averages?  We can help.  Send an email to for more information. 

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