21.07.2016

The power of our industry – educating businesses on the importance of keeping sponsorship embedded within marketing budgets

In years gone by brands such as global blue chip companies and large consumer facing, well established brands have to some extent ‘splashed the cash’ on sponsorship. With large marketing budgets, sponsorship was always very much embedded and a guaranteed spend amongst active investors. 

However, over recent years as businesses have gone through tough times, we have seen sponsorship budgets reduce further, causing dramatic impacts on an industry that was once very secure. It would appear that sponsorship is one of the first areas of a marketing budget to be compromised, to facilitate the pressures of overspending, not to mention compliance. 

The big challenge is, how do we change perceptions of these brands and advise as industry experts just how impactful sponsorship is for consumers and businesses? How do we educate that a well-executed sponsorship campaign has a direct link to consumer retention and as a result, revenue growth? How sponsorship creates both a direct and indirect emotional, cognitive connection to very specific, relevant markets if targeted correctly? We need to reiterate that as a result of effective sponsorships, recognition and affiliation are then created through awareness, creating recall for a consumer or business to buy or trade with that particular sponsor over its competitors. 

To address this rising issue and how we can help change perceptions/ habits, I propose we target and educate specific groups working for different brands/ companies across all sectors. These individuals would include: business owners, CEO’s, CFO’s, Marketing Directors and Sponsorship Directors. As an introductory I propose we talk to them in a relaxed, informal environment such as a breakfast – much like the already successful industry breakfasts the ESA host. This would help create an introduction to those who are currently non-members. Through time I propose it becomes an environment where brands can share their views, experiences and insight into future business spends within sponsorship. We can then, as the ESA guide and assist, help shape the future in educating other brands who are not currently active within the sponsorship market, due to budget cuts. These individuals can then be recruited as new members to help drive the change to create a more impactful future industry. 

We also have a wide breadth of affiliated, high powered brand members within the ESA who aren’t active voices in encouraging this change of shifting marketing habits back to investing in sponsorship. I propose we directly tap into these individuals to help drive this change as industry ambassadors in powerful positions, to help leverage sponsorship and its imperative part within the marketing industry. 

However, with the above in mind, we maybe yet to face our biggest challenge yet given the unnerving response of Brexit.

How will Brexit change the UK Sponsorship model and how will we react as industry leaders to this change?

After Tabby wrote this piece on the eve of Brexit, a YouGov poll has showed that sports fans expect it to be more difficult for sports teams to sign overseas players following Brexit and that it will become more difficult for Britain to host major sporting events in the future. Whether this is the case only time will tell, but a lessening of star power and lack of major events would undoubtedly make British sport less appealing to sponsors.

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