For almost a decade, Fisher’s Technology’s support of Boise State University’s athletic programs has been just as much about having a good time and giving back to the local community as it’s been about promoting its brand, services and office technology equipment.
A technologically savvy and successful office equipment and IT services provider that is continuing to expand throughout the region, Fisher’s Technology is bringing this philosophy to new markets to give customers, partners and employees a way to unwind, forge new business relationships and make tangible and intangible contributions to their communities.
“Fisher’s Technology is all about ‘extremely happy customers,'” said Paige Mooney, marketing coordinator at the Boise, Idaho-based firm. “One way Fisher’s gets involved with customers and communities is by sports sponsorships within their markets.”
Its sponsorship and enthusiastic participation in Boise State athletics has more or less dovetailed with the football team’s rapid ascent from relative obscurity to its current position as one of the nation’s most successful and admired programs.
Over the last decade, the Broncos – who play on the world-famous blue turf at Albertsons Stadium – have the nation’s third-best winning percentage, placing the program in the rarified air shared with perennial powerhouse programs such as Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson.
As anyone who has ever attended a big-time college football game can attest, the actual game is only part of the attraction for students, alumni and locals who show up sometimes days in advance of the kickoff for parties, on-campus events and, of course, massive tailgate parties.
“We have our ‘infamous’ tailgate tent party for our customers, prospects, employees and families,” Mooney said. “Fisher’s is known for throwing a party and having fun.”
You can check it out for yourself. They know what they’re doing up there in Boise.
But Fisher’s Technology’s sports sponsorship activities are about more than just fun and games.
With its recent and ongoing expansion throughout the region, company executives are spreading their sports sponsorship dollars around to also support the likes of Montana State University, Carroll College, the University of Montana, Montana Tech, Idaho State University, and the College of Southern Idaho. It’s a balancing act.
“Where we allocate our limited funds can be a challenge,” said President and CEO Christopher Taylor. “In some markets, we are well known and the ROI is smaller than in newer markets. But we become emotionally attached (and so do our customers) to some of the things that we regularly do, so it can be tough to shift funds and forgo our favorite events.”
Taylor said the company is the process of making some of those tough decisions and reallocating sponsorship budgets to new markets or increasing its total investment to “get our brand rolling” in these emerging markets.
Beyond the cache of having the most elaborate or “infamous” tailgate for a handful of Saturdays in the fall, Fisher’s Technology understands that its participation and support of local sports teams translates to dollars and cents year round.
“Not only is this great brand recognition,” Mooney said, “but we get to have fun with the people we work with. It’s a great way to get our name and services in front of new individuals who may benefit from what Fisher’s has to offer – from copier/printers, managed print services, document automation, managed IT services and telephony services.”
“These partnerships are vital for our expansion and our brand,” she added.
There’s also a realization that these events and sponsorships are truly a long-term investment – in both the community and the company’s future.
“It can be tough to calculate an ROI as the return may come months or years after the investment,” Taylor said. “We rarely know if we would have done business together anyway, and the traceability of who we reached and did business with can be difficult.”
Taylor said his company does try to measure the return on investment for these sports partnerships by tracking the people who come to the events and ultimately end up buying from the company.
“We track ‘new’ and ‘momentum’ leads separately and calculate ROI for both, giving new leads more weight on our return,” he said.
Aside from new contracts and accounts, Taylor acknowledged that there are plenty of side benefits realized by engaging with current customers, reinforcing existing relationships and building teamwork and relationships with employees – a sort of “soft” ROI that he describes as “priceless.”
Sometimes the company soaks up some unforeseen but incredibly valuable benefits just by virtue of being consistently and actively involved in the festivities.
“Our best anecdotes revolve around people saying things like ‘oh, you guys are the ones with the massive tailgate’ or ‘you have the best golf hole by far,'” Taylor said. “We have even gotten credit for our competitors’ in-game commercials … which is unbelievable that their spend is building our brand.”
It’s a two-way street that provides value to everyone involved.
“Perhaps the coolest part of these investments is that along the way, we can do some really great things for our communities that are so good to us,” Taylor said.
“We also engage in purely philanthropic works – with no return expected – but if we can do amazing community work with our customers, prospects and employees, it’s a win-win.”
This is part of a series in which we look at how companies in the industry are leveraging sports sponsorships. Check out the whole series.