A State of the Union on Sponsorship in Canada

The sponsorship industry in Canada has grown dramatically. Since 2006, according to the 2011 Canadian Sponsorship Landscape Study, it has grown in revenues by 40% to make it a $1.55 billion industry. The only sector of marketing growing faster continues to be the internet and digital media. As the rest of the industry (newspaper, TV, OOH, radio and periodicals) slowly recover form the 2008 recession, the sponsorship industry promises to deliver double digit growth for 2012.

As PR professionals work to plan their strategies and communications experts deliver their corporate messages, they are turning to sponsorship to deliver results. The focused target delivery, the opportunity to deliver experiential marketing with tangible results drives the focus to sponsorship. Gone are the days of sponsorship being that allocation of fund “left over”. Today it has become a primary channel for getting messages out. What is more, with tangible and measurable systems for ROI, sponsorship can out position and out deliver the traditional mediums.

But it is not all about the dollars when we look at what is happening in sponsorship today in Canada. There is also significant growth in sponsorship professionalism. More sponsorship properties (those that sell sponsorship –non profits, municipalities, professional and amateur sport, charities) are beginning to understand the true value and importance of having an inventory of assets truly defined for their organizations. There is a deeper appreciation of the need to bundle these assets into custom-designed proposals to put in front of corporations versus the typical “Bronze, Silver and Gold” pitches. To ensure integrity, properties are learning that if their assets are assessed by professional third party organizations, they can sell these assets at fair market value.

Sponsors and brands are developing professionally, too. More are “activating” their investments today (up by 25% over the past 4 years) rather than just hanging a banner or displaying a logo. This is true of sponsors spending millions and small companies looking for $500 to $1500 rights fee investments. Brands are learning to measure their return on investments more effectively and setting up metrics to measure overall success. Corporations are engaging third party specialists to assist them in building sponsorship programs with selection and measurement metrics that really work.

Properties and companies are engaging in incremental professional development through conferences and mentoring, too. Trojan One’s Canadian Sponsorship Forum –www.canadiansponsorshipforum.com (scheduled for July 2012 in Montreal in conjunction with the Just for Laughs Festival) grows every year.

The Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada (SMCC) Western Sponsorship Congress™ (http://www.sponsorshipcongress.ca/) presented by the Partnership Group –Sponsorship Specialists ‘in 2012 will host over 300 delegates, five panel discussions, 18 workshops and over 40 presenters. The SMCC One Day Workshop Series (http://www.sponsorshipworkshops.ca/) delivers full day hands-on focused training to properties from coast to coast in Canada and traditionally is sold out in every market. All of these are signs of the growing of an industry that has a thirst for knowledge. Submitted by Brent Barootes, President and CEO of the Partnership Group –Sponsorship Specialists™ out of Calgary, Alberta –http://www.partnershipgroup.ca/.