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Sponsorship: Piggybacking Pays Off

Looking for a different way to bring brand recognition to your company? Try sponsorships -- many small businesses sponsor events or attract outside sponsors as a way to gain notice and prestige.

The ways to go about starting sponsorships are endless, but here are a few ways you can establish one for your small business.

Privately owned Mobile-Shop Company, which manufactures, sells and services tools and parts in a portable organizer, offers a few ways to become a sponsor.

This company's marketing efforts since its product first became commercially available in May 2004 mostly consisted of exhibits at national industry trade shows. It needed a way to stand out, however, and to promote its brand above all the competition.

Now, as part of its long-term marketing effort to reach a wide range of potential customers, Mobile-Shop Company is currently involved in two sponsorships. It is one of seven national sponsors of Maintenance Mania, an annual contest for maintenance personnel that is the joint effort of Home Depot (HD) and the National Apartment Association. Entrants showcase their home-repair and diagnostic skills, with prizes awarded to the best contestants.

"This is one of our biggest trade shows of the year, and is well attended by many of our current and prospective customers. Further, it has helped to solidify our relationship with Home Depot Supply, with whom we have recently signed an agreement to become a national distributor of our products," says Melissa Houser, the vice president of Mobile-Shop marketing.

In addition, Mobile-Shop is sponsoring an online course developed by SatisFacts Research, "The Impact of Maintenance on Resident Retention."

This seminar, which will attract Mobile-Shop's ideal clientele, is offered by Grace Hill, a leading provider of education to the multifamily-dwelling industry.

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