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[Forecasting 2016] Tech Will Change How Sponsorship Activations Are Measured
January 7th, 2016

Tech Will Change How Sponsorship Activations Are Measured

As the industry gets into full-swing for 2016, ACA is concluding its series featuring experts predicting trends that will shape the year ahead. Concluding the series are Norm O’Reilly, senior advisor, T1 consulting group and Elisa Beselt, consultant, T1 consulting group, co-authors of the Canadian Sponsorship Landscape Study. Read other articles in the series by Grant Le Riche, Stephan Argent, Brent Barootes and Joan Brehl.

As we write, the 10th annual edition of the Canadian Sponsorship Landscape Study (CSLS) is in the field with data being collected from sponsors, properties and agencies from across Canada. For those of us who have been involved in the study, the fact we’re now in year 10 is hard to comprehend.

Importantly, the CSLS looks to have many years ahead, following a new partnership with the Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada (SMCC) to increase its reach and response rate over the next three years. It is the second time we’ve partnered with the SMCC in the history of the study.

The study has many partners and contributors, and has seen a number of co-authors come and go, including Dr. Benoit Seguin, one of the founding authors, and Adam DeGrasse, who recently joined as a co-author. We bring them up as we think what we see today in the CSLS would surprise many who were involved with the first iteration nearly a decade ago.

And what would those surprises be?

Well, that is the point of this article. We are going to draw on much of the learning of the past years to pontificate a bit on the 10 things we see coming in 2016 for sponsorship.

  1. Rights fees will hold steady, but activation spend will drop. Although this is not, in our view, the right way to go – with the tight Canadian economy, weak Canadian dollar and increasingly pricey blue chip sponsorships – sponsors will reduce their spending on activation but hold (or be committed) to much of the rights fees investment.
  2. As these activation budgets get tighter and tighter, we expect to see more integration within sponsors’ departments (e.g. sales, distribution, HR and employees, marketing, advertising) as they’re looking for ways to leverage existing rights fees commitments.
  3. Social media will fall as a target of activation investment. While we saw a meteoric rise in this spend from close to 0 in 2009 to a high point in 2013, we expect to see activations specific to social media decline and its incorporation into overall activation planning expand as social media becomes an established channel for consumption and communication.
  4. Sport, and more specifically “live” sport, will continue its reign as a leading category of sponsored properties, just as it leads television viewing.
  5. Although the rise of festivals – and the much discussed “festivalization” of sponsorship – has flattened as it sits alongside sport as the leading categories of sponsorship, we believe that we’ll soon see (though maybe not until 2017 or 2018) another rise in the “chunk” of sponsorship spending on festivals due to them being powerful activation platforms.
  6. The CSLS shows us that causes have moved from a minor area of sponsorship investment to an integral part of all sponsorships. Many sponsors and properties know that cause needs to be a component of a great partnership.
  7. Although the technological advances to better measure sponsorship have been available for a while, there’s been a paucity of evaluation in sponsorship in Canada. We believe 2016, with the decreasing costs and increasing availability of technology for evaluations will be the year the industry starts to change how sponsorship activations and interactions are measured.
  8. Based on CSLS results, people who work in sponsorship will continue to get better at it, thanks to more formalized training, education, resources and experiences.
  9. Sponsorship is one of the few marketing tactics that allows for specific reach to men, women, young, old, sports fans, arts fans, parents, new Canadians, urban dwellers, and more. This year, expect sponsorship marketers to become more strategic about the people they want to target.
  10. Elisa Beselt

    Elisa Beselt

    Norm O'Reilly

    Norm O’Reilly

  11. Sponsorship will continue to surprise us – people will come up with new ideas, new partnerships, and new tools. It is a great place to work, and if you believe the most recent IEG report on salaries in the sponsorship profession, an increasingly lucrative one.

From us to you, a most productive and successful 2016. May the CSLS help you!

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