Connexus chief says sponsorship industry is ‘marketing itself badly’

The sponsorship industry needs to market itself better to would-be clients to make use of its untapped potential, according to a leading sponsorship consultant.

In an interview with Marketing Week, Connexus group managing director Alastair Macdonald says there is still uncertainty among marketers over its potential compared to more traditional media.

Macdonald argues that while television, press and direct mail have been promoting themselves for years through joint-funded bodies such as BARB, Thinkbox, the Newspaper Marketing Association (NMA) and the Direct Marketing Association, the sponsorship industry has no such organisation.

“Sponsorship is a growing medium that is taking a bigger share of the marketing budget, but at the same time the industry is very bad at marketing itself,” he says. “Its potential has barely begun to be realised and part of the reason for that is that industry is not marketing itself.”

Macdonald adds that while research is being done on the brand exposure and effectiveness of sponsorship deals for private clients, it isn’t being made public in the way that bodies representing other media are doing with their research.

So while BARB tracks the effect on consumer behaviour of ads to promote TV as a medium, as does the NMA to promote newspapers, no such data is readily available for sponsorship.

Macdonald adds: “Sponsorship is the most cost-effective form of advertising in the market, both in terms of brand exposure and its effect on purchasing behaviour of consumers, but it doesn’t present itself well, so there is huge untapped potential.”

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