Big Shift: IEG Paper Explores New and Better Way to Think About Sponsorship

By Jim Andrews Sep 6, 2011

Big Shift: IEG Paper Explores New and Better Way to Think About Sponsorship Looking across all of the brands that IEG would define as “leaders” in sponsorship—companies such as IBM, Gatorade, Aon, Xerox, GE and others—we see a major trend: an alignment of  sponsorships and partnerships with the larger goals of the business, to ensure they are driving growth and having an impact across the entire enterprise.

This is a pivotal change in the sponsorship conversation. At these leaders, sponsorship is no longer an ad-hoc, off-to-the-side marketing activity, but one that is fully integrated into the business, and where partnerships are optimized to deliver broad return.

In our new brand strategy paper, we describe this very important and exciting shift as a movement from “buying sponsorships” to “investing in partnerships.”

We are all familiar with sponsorship deals that have been done to acquire some signage or tickets or an opportunity to rub shoulders with an important crowd. And while there is nothing wrong with any of that, those arrangements fall far, far short of the true potential of partnerships.

When we are talking about spending significant resources, the sponsors’ goal must be to have the investment mentality of “how can we work together with the property we are investing in to earn multiple dividends and long-term ROI?”

Having identified this shift, IEG has gone further and looked at what distinguishes a partnership investor from a sponsorship buyer—and we identified three questions to ask to identify where a company’s program falls.

  • Do we know what we want to do and with whom to do it?
  • Are we truly engaging?
  • Are we measuring results in a meaningful way?

No doubt, investing in partnerships requires more time, thought and expertise than merely buying sponsorship benefits, but we have seen firsthand among IEG Consulting clients and others what a difference this elevation in strategy makes for those who make the commitment.

I hope you willdownload “Invest, Don’t Buy: A Smarter Way to Sponsor” to learn more about what this fundamental change means for you and your sponsorship programs.


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Jim Andrews

About the Author

A 30-year sponsorship industry veteran, Jim is responsible for developing and sharing thought-leadership content based on ESP Properties’ groundbreaking work in the areas of sponsorship strategy, valuation, measurement, digital content, data-driven marketing and fan engagement.

In addition to identifying key trends and delivering his unique insights into the critical issues facing rightsholders and their commercial partners, Jim is the chairman of the Annual Sponsorship Conference, responsible for the program and speakers, as well as hosting and delivering the event’s opening address. He also is responsible for the company’s annual report and forecast of overall sponsorship spending, as well as its compilation of biggest spending companies and annual industry surveys.

A frequent media commentator and guest, Jim has been a featured speaker at hundreds of sports, entertainment and marketing conferences around the world.



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