Crowther, Philip and Donlan, Leah
Leveraging sponsorship to achieve consumer relationship objectives through the creation of ‘marketing spaces’: An exploratory study.
Journal of Marketing Communications, -
This paper explores the emergence of sponsorship-linked events as a strategy to leverage relational outcomes through sponsorship investment. The growing use of sponsorship-linked events reinforces the need to understand the potential of such leverage strategies, thus the findings contribute to the body of literature on effective sponsorship practices. Findings from semi-structured interviews with Sponsorship and Marketing Managers suggest a shifting orientation among sponsors towards the pursuit of relational objectives. The privileged access to consumers afforded through sponsorship allows sponsors to manufacture opportunities to create intimacy with customers through sponsorship-linked events in relaxed, comfortable environments; thus sponsorship-linked events are positioned as a rich environment to add value to consumer-brand interactions and achieve relational objectives. Hosting specifically designed events affords sponsors an increased modicum of control over consumer-brand experiences in sponsorship environments characterised by a lack of control over sponsored property actions. However, this control may be eroded by social media technologies, which facilitate consumer-consumer communication around sponsorship-linked events. Social media, however, is proposed as a useful tool to elicit consumer feedback, addressing the misalignment between current sponsorship evaluation practices and emergent relational objectives revealed in the empirical findings. Therefore, successfully activating the sponsorship-linked marketing space demands an integrated and strategic approach.