Julia Manoukian

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June 28, 2018

Sponsorship Marketing Trends: 3 Key Considerations for Executives

Julia Manoukian

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Marketing is a constant state of flux but, right now, it's all about sponsorships. More companies are moving away from traditional marketing methods and toward sponsorship and event opportunities, according to the American Management Association.

Moreover, experts predict sponsorship spending will total $65.8 billion this year — 4.9 percent more than last year. It's safe to say, then, that sponsorships are the future of marketing. But how can you ensure your sponsorship campaigns are a success? Read these three sponsorship marketing trends and make sure your brand is set up for success.

With a lack of actionable data from sponsorships and experiential activations,  financial service marketing leaders struggle to measure ROI from their efforts.  Watch our latest webinar, "How To Boost & Measure Sponsorship Results In  Finserv: Two Case Studies," and learn how senior marketing executives from  GEICO and ATB Financial use data to improve sponsorship results across all  channels.

1. Brands That Measure Sponsorships are More Likely to Generate a Higher ROI 

Sponsorship marketing is booming, and more brands are using this method to target lucrative demographics at live events. Still, most marketers don't measure their sponsorship campaigns properly — just 3.7 percent of sponsorship budgets are spent on evaluation.

Brands spend weeks planning sponsorships but often neglect campaign measurement. As a result, they are unable to determine whether their campaigns provide them with a return on their investment and find it difficult to track prospects as they progress through the sales funnel after a live event. 

Brands that do measure their sponsorship campaigns, on the other hand, are able to gauge the success of their events effectively. "At Sun Life, we measure a sponsorship activation’s success by comparing performance metrics against KPIs primarily related to brand visibility, brand perception/opinion and purchase consideration," says Paul Joliat, assistant vice president of philanthropy and sponsorships at Sun Life Financial.

If you haven't measured your sponsorship events in the past, now's the time to do it. You need to capture the right data, of course. Collecting social media insights, customer satisfaction metrics and customer reach data will provide you with in-depth campaign insights. Once you incorporate all of this data into your experiential marketing programs, you can improve engagement and the customer experience and generate real results.

2. Technology Is Helping Sponsorship Marketers Engage Consumers On A Deeper Level

Sponsorship marketing is evolving at a lightning speed, and technology is fuelling its growth. Although still a relatively new marketing method, brands are utilizing the latest technological innovations — and incorporating this technology into their experiential marketing strategies — in order to drive long-term results.

There's technology like augmented reality (AR), for example, where customers engage with brands in virtual worlds and immerse themselves in 360-degree digital environments.

Recently, Coca-Cola launched an AR experience outside a train station in Zurich, Switzerland, to celebrate the FIFA World Cup. People could demonstrate their soccer skills and play alongside a virtual Xherdan Shaqiri — one of Switzerland's most famous players.

"By creating a fully-immersive experience, involving a high-profile and timely event, Coca-Cola ensured passers-by would notice the campaign and want to get involved in the action," says eConsultancy.

Other technological innovations include virtual reality and holograms.

3. Sponsorship Marketers Are Investing in More Influencer Content To Amplify Events 

Marketers used to invest heavily in televisions commercials, especially when it came to sports sponsorships. Recent research, however, shows that brands are spending less on TV ad spending — it's decreased by half a percent this year — and more on digital technologies like social media. In particular, brands are investing in influencer content and reaching consumers who don't consume traditional media. 

You, too, can work with influencers on Twitter and Instagram and expose your products and services to a wider audience. Don't forget to measure your influencer campaigns, though. Tracking key performance indicators like social media reach and social sentiment will help you decide whether you are targeting the right demographics. 

More and more brands are investing in sponsorship marketing, but not all of them are doing it right. Increased consumer expectations and a fast-moving market mean you need to fine tune your sponsorship strategies in order to survive. Measuring your campaigns, using the latest technology and working with influencers will ensure your future sponsorship campaigns are a success.

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