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When an event presents itself as an ideal marketing and brand building opportunity but the cost of sponsorship is way, way beyond your marketing budget, what can you do?

We are constantly on the look out for ways to get involved with events that offer the opportunity to build awareness and help promote our cloud based accounting software to startups, accountants and bookkeepers. With that in mind and the fact that we have a CEO that is an active Ironman competitor it was fitting that we look to sponsor a competing team in the Ironman Dublin 70.3 which was held last Sunday, August 9th.

Thanks to the team at T3 tri club for agreeing to wear the Big Red Cloud sponsored tri suits. They looked amazing and the simple statistics speak for themselves. 27 members of the club competed and that represented just over 1% of the total of 2,500 competitors.


As soon as the athletes left the swim and prepared for their bike transition the Big Red Cloud logo was clearly evident and it was doubly so for the duration of the 13.1 mile run in the Phoenix Park.

Some of the T3 members remarked how spectators were shouting ‘go Big Red Cloud, go’ and they found this particularly amusing. In fact, it’s a common trait for spectators at such events to latch onto the athlete’s sponsored brand name to shout encouragement to the wearer. With no name other than the sponsored brand, it’s the obvious choice for words of encouragement.

The Ironman franchise is a global brand that is growing in popularity. It has close associations with other brands that aim to increase their exposure among a fit and focused group of individuals. Big Red Cloud was able to work with the T3 club and provide, at reasonable investment, a professional tri outfit made by Italian company Pissei, to it’s participating members. On the day, our brand was elevated to more than a cloud based accounting software company, Big Red Cloud was a team that elicited encouragement and support from hundreds of spectators.

So, what are the key takeaways for a small business owner reading this blog post:

  1. If you have a passion, see how you can use that to leverage sponsorship opportunities for your business. As stated above, our CEO is an Ironman competitor so his passion was the connection to the Dublin T3 team.
  2. The big brands will still get their tuppence worth but so can you. For Big Red Cloud, we were more than happy with the brand exposure for our cloud based accounting software.
  3. Don’t forget to capture those special moments for your brand. A big shout out to Alan Rowlette, a professional photographer, who was present on the day to capture great shots of the T3 team as they made their way through the course.
  4. It’s an opportunity to talk about your brand in an open and conversational manner – as per this blog and other posts we’ll produce on the Dublin 70.3 Ironman.

More often than not it is difficult to measure the impact of the sponsorship. But one thing is for sure, Big Red Cloud as represented by the T3 team looked great. It reflected very well on the brand and that’s a powerful endorsement. That’s one great way to sponsor an event.


Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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