Why Sponsorship Continues to Prevail 24th October, 2011

With sponsorship budgets continuing to increase year upon year, what advantages does this innovative marketing medium have over those more traditional elements of the advertising mix?

Engaging the Consumer

With marketing mediums such as advertising and sales promotions becoming ever more saturated, companies need to be extremely creative in their efforts to gain brand exposure – especially in terms of activations and partnerships.

Especially with today’s average consumer receiving more information on the products and services available to them at a much higher frequency than ever before, traditional marketing methods are becoming significantly less effective as the general public require something more innovative and engaging in order to provide a focal point within today’s plethora of commercial activity.


Sponsorship is invaluable within the marketing mix as it touches on all the consumer interaction with a property and brand. It can include and is typically a combination of brand advertising, sales promotions, email marketing, experiential, sampling, and social media. A truly engaging sponsorship campaign provides cut-through because it has built a relationship and a commitment to the audience. This relationship creates a primed and responsive avenue to deliver brand messaging, ensuring that the marketing does not fall on deaf ears.

Added Value

An additional reason behind the growing use of sponsorship is down to the value that a partner can bring to a property. Whereas simple branding and promotions result in only a financial benefit to the rights holder, sponsorship provides the opportunity for much more engagement with all parties involved. This can include enhancing the experience of the guest whilst giving the sponsor the opportunity to gain first-hand feedback on their products and services whilst achieving extensive exposure amongst their target audience.

As a result of the potential added value, rights holders are increasingly favouring corporate partnerships as an alternative to simple advertising, due to the added depth and quality delivered to the property whilst also increasing the number of channels for promotion.

The Figures

Emphasising the shift from conventional branding to today’s heavily integrated campaigns, sponsorship is continuing to increase its share of the marketing budget. Despite 2009 being the first time in history that corporate partnership spending in North America saw a decrease from the previous year, 2010 saw sponsorship sales back in full swing with expenditures growing by a healthy 3.9 per cent in 2010, with 2011 forecast to see an impressive growth of a further 5.9 per cent, seeing a total of $18.2 billion spent by the end of the year.

Global sponsorship spending, on the other hand, has well and truly weathered the economic storm, with 2011 set to witness similar growth as seen in 2010 of around 5.2 per cent, bringing worldwide spending to $48.7 billion as reported in IEG’s annual year-end review and forecast.

In comparison, advertising in 2010 is only forecast to increase by 3.9 per cent where as sales promotions have by far taken the biggest hit, forecast to show no signs of growth in 2011 and having shrunk by 3.3 per cent in 2010.

The Future of Sponsorship

Over time, sponsorship as a marketing medium has established itself as a key part of the modern advertising mix, providing opportunities for both brands and rights holders that traditional forms of advertising cannot.

With the recent social media boom also taking sponsorship opportunities to a whole new level, the medium is now more powerful than ever. Integrating social media platforms presents a further development of integration with a fraction of the cost you would have with print – creating truly cost-effective marketing campaigns.

With an increasing number of companies owing a boom in brand awareness to engaging corporate partnerships, the growth in sponsorship is showing no sign of slowing down reflecting the increasing demand for innovation in today’s marketing environment.