Pulse Technology’s commitment to sponsoring local sports teams and partnering with local businesses and organizations is born out of a deep-seated desire to connect with the various local communities it serves.
With multiple offices in the Chicago and Northern Indiana region, the company formerly known as Des Plaines Office Equipment before a recent rebrand, also realized that participating with local sports teams would be an excellent way to imprint its new brand and office technology offerings to potential customers, partners and employees.
“With our recent rebrand as Pulse Technology, establishing local ties to the community through sports sponsorships also gives us that brand recognition within the surrounding communities,” said Megan Barrera, a marketing specialist at Pulse Technology.
It makes sense then that Pulse has dedicated most of its sports marketing resources to the Schaumburg Boomers and Gary SouthShore RailCats, a pair of minor league baseball teams that are well supported in cities where the company has established long-term business and community ties.
“They are both local to our Schaumburg/Carol Stream offices and our Chesterton location, in addition to being up-and-coming teams,” Barrera said. “The communities of Schaumburg and Gary are important to use because of our connections there and our sponsorship plays a big role in our continuing partnerships with the owner of both teams.”
Barrera said Pulse Technology’s team has used both teams’ facilities for a variety of networking and business events over the years. Being able to entertain clients, partners and employees during in-season games just icing on the cake, a morale booster that’s difficult to quantify.
Unlike the multinational corporations that spend billions of dollars each year to sponsor professional teams, players and leagues, Pulse Technology CEO Chip Miceli and his executive team believe that investing in local markets and teams makes more sense for both his company and the communities in which it participates.
“As much as we all like the national teams, they are less in need of local sponsorship so we see this as a hand up for a local team,” Barrera added.
Pulse Technology receives hundreds of sponsorship requests each year, so the company makes a point to thoroughly vet and analyze the value proposition offered by each potential sponsorship candidate.
“We will do our due diligence to determine what the organization stands for, what are the demographics of its audience, and whether we believe they represent the values of hard work, ingenuity and respect that we believe are important,” Barrera said.
Sorting through all these potential sponsorship opportunities is a team effort for Pulse. While Miceli ultimately makes the final decision on which teams and organizations to sponsor, he frequently solicits input from company leadership.
“The firm is always looking to expand on partnerships with current customers so when opportunities like sponsorships arise, Pulse Technology is always interested in investing in a meaningful way with a strong emphasis on local business.”
The company didn’t disclose exactly how much it spends annually on its various sports and community organization sponsorships; however, it does reserve a portion of its overall marketing/sponsorship budget for what it described as “new causes that we believe are deserving of support.”
“For the companies that we do partner with, about 70% of the firms we contribute to are as a result of partnerships that we have initiated,” Barrera said.
Generally, Pulse Technology looks for companies or nonprofits – within or outside the sporting realm – with a compelling mission that involves helping people and making a difference in the region.
“Whether this is an inbound request from an organization or one that a team member recommends, we discuss the sponsorship first at a team level – which includes our marketing department,” she said. “From there, they make a recommendation to the owners of the company who have the final say.”
For Pulse Technology, there are no hard-and-fast, black-and-white numbers used to determine the value or return on investment of these sponsorships. Like so many of the sponsoring companies in the imaging channel, the experience of sponsoring local sports teams generates a variety of benefits – tangible and otherwise – that simply cannot be realized from traditional sales and marketing investments.
“We measure the return on investment in terms of goodwill in the community,” Barrera said. “We believe it is important to be a good corporate citizen. We understand that no one marketing initiative stands on its own.”
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.