Wow—another new year! I’m not sure about you, but for me, 2018 seemed to fly by! I am now looking forward to 2019.
I gave up on New Year’s resolutions years ago. They seemed to dwindle away by the third week of January with very little accomplished. Instead, for the past few years, I have tried to look to the future and project (based on knowledge and experience versus pure old “I hope for” predictions) what might transpire in the upcoming year.
Here is what I see happening in 2019.
1. It will continue to be a year of turmoil for the sponsorship sector and industry.
a) The continued decline and instability of the oil and gas sector in The Prairies and Atlantic Canada will unfortunately prolong recovery to the sponsorship dollar levels of pre-2015 even longer. This may cause many more charities, non-profits, and sport properties to go under or severely diminish their ability to operate at levels required by their client groups.
b) The closing of the GM plant in Oshawa will begin to affect sponsorship dollars in the region from Toronto to Port Hope and beyond. Sponsors in the region will be cautious about the future, and unfortunately, will curtail or cut back on marketing investments (the worse thing to do in a time like this), which will affect sponsorship renewals and investments overall.
c) Continued slow economic growth, and to some extent, the decline in Atlantic Canada will also have adverse effects on our industry. Many events will cease to operate due to “lack of sponsorship funding,” which those properties, in turn, will blame on “lack of corporate support” versus looking in their own backyards for effectiveness and efficiencies for such partners.
2. As a result of the above, I predict that 2019 will be the slowest growth year for sponsorship revenue in Canada and may even see the first decline in total sponsorship spending since the tracking of such spending was initiated almost 15 years ago with the Canadian Sponsorship Landscape Study (CSLS).
3. I think the biggest bright light in Alberta and Saskatchewan within our sector will be with the huge success Red Deer will have hosting the 2019 Canada Winter Games. I think Red Deer and its team, based on their success to date, their infrastructure and planning will set a new benchmark for Canada Games success. I think their sponsorship dollars will continue to grow and set a new record. I feel their organizational expertise will enable the Games to operate smoothly, and their legacy dollars and assets will be profound. I believe they will set a high bar for Niagara Region (2021) and PEI (2023) to maintain.
4. It will be clear that the properties that “do” sponsorship correctly, those that develop relationships through discovery sessions, custom build proposals and programs based on prospect needs and budgets and have a market values inventory of assets will continue to thrive in these tumultuous times. Those that follow archaic formats of stock packages and “sell and run” tactics will continue not only to fail to get or renew sponsorship dollars, but also will blame their woes on corporations and the economy versus their own inability or unwillingness to adapt to changing times and circumstances.
5. There will continue to be industry growth from an HR perspective. Though there may not be growth in opportunities for employment, those students entering our sector and those who are already excelling will grow, develop, and stay in the sector. We will also see more training opportunities from coast to coast around sponsorship marketing based on the void in so many markets and regions.
6. The biggest highpoint that I see coming this year and for years to come is the use of empirical data and big data to deliver not only more focused prospect development for properties, but also analytics for brands to see why they should or should not invest in a specific property. Understanding the data and knowledge that is available to both properties and brands will become more essential than ever and allow both groups, through knowledgeable analysis and predictive modeling, to pinpoint and justify their investments based on empirical data rather than “consultant” or “senior experienced sponsorship marketer” anecdotal suggestions.
Please let me know your thoughts about these predictions. Also, if you have predictions of your own, I would be excited to hear them!
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