Sports Sponsorship As A Tool For Customer Engagement

Donlan, Leah orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-1320-2803 (2010) Sports Sponsorship As A Tool For Customer Engagement. In: Academy of Marketing Conference 2010: Transformational Marketing, 6 to 8 July 2010, Coventry University, Coventry, UK.

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This paper reports the findings from a series of semi-structured interviews with Sponsorship Managers in major UK-based sports sponsors. The key theme explored is the use of sponsorship leverage strategies as a means of deepening engagement with both existing and potential customers. Therefore, this study draws on literature from the field of customer engagement, relating this to sponsorship objectives, in order to assess the extent to which sponsors are actively seeking to engage customers through their sponsorship activities. Customer engagement and building an affinity with brands are cited as objectives now being pursued by sponsors. The findings suggest that sponsorship is increasingly being used by brands as a springboard for wider marketing communications activity, including social media and event-based customer experiences. Sponsorship success is not guaranteed simply by buying the rights to associate with a sporting property, but rather, is maximised when creatively activated to engage customers interactively, as opposed to the one-way communication medium of advertising. The evidence provided highlights examples of good practice among sponsors in a growing area of interest. Therefore, a wider ranging study of the use of event-based experiences and social media as sponsorship leverage strategies is proposed as an area for future research.

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