Wayne Rooney in action at Old Trafford. Picture: REUTERS/CARL RECINE LIVEPIC
Wayne Rooney in action at Old Trafford. Picture: REUTERS/CARL RECINE LIVEPIC

While trends may come and go, foundational to the success of any marketing campaign is an understanding of a client’s measurable objectives. This is especially true in the sponsorship and entertainment industry, where solutions may differ dramatically depending on what the objectives are. Sponsorship’s real asset is the ability to tailor-make campaigns.

A good example of this is Chevrolet’s sponsorship of Manchester United. The vehicle company wanted a way to speak to numerous communities worldwide. This was tied to its key measurable objective, which was to drive brand awareness by engaging across these markets. Few platforms could offer the brand this, but with the football club it could reach many different markets with a single message in one campaign.

But while measurable objectives may be the longstanding success factor, what are the new trends globally in this space? 

The first is the idea of integration among sponsorship agencies. These days, clients want less complexity. They’re increasingly looking for integrated agencies that can deliver across all marketing platforms so that they can have one discussion and allow the implementation to flow from there.

An example of this is global communications agency Omnicom, recent winner of the MTN account. To meet MTN’s objectives, the agency is making use of all the relevant agencies, including TBWA, the lead agency in the group, to service the account.

The big take out

In line with current trends, sponsorship agencies should be able to provide a more integrated offering to clients, along with becoming more data orientated to achieve specific objectives.

It’s becoming the trend in SA too, specifically in sports and entertainment, where agencies have traditionally specialised. Now they’re being forced to either form part of a bigger agency or focus on integration.

The second major trend is the emphasis on data, specifically the mining of data from a campaign to use as a future sales or brand-building tool.

It’s clear that both the future and the power of sponsorship lie in the ability of agencies to leverage data from their sales prospects. Historically the worlds of data and integration were very far apart. However, trends are showing that these two worlds are converging. For example, Accenture – traditionally a business consultancy – is now the world’s largest digital agency. Not only did the company have the ability to gather data, it was able to capitalise on this ability. Similarly, marketing agencies have to focus their minds on data if they want to remain competitive.

Sponsorship agencies are increasingly in the business of making sport and entertainment count – literally by counting data, but also by asking how they can physically deliver a real return to clients. Focusing on both data and integration will help agencies of the future to grow their clients’ businesses successfully, as well as their own.

• Neil Jankelowitz is joint-MD of Mscsports.