Lately, I’ve heard a curious statement expressed a couple different ways by some of my colleagues…in essence, they were surprised how well 2011 turned out in spite of the painful period of uncertainty it was.
Thinking back to the beginning of the year, the business buzz seemed to be mostly positive – relatively speaking, of course!! Then as spring turned into summer, things seemed to slow down a bit with feelings of doubt sprinkled in. Optimism faded and became replaced by a consistent sense of hesitancy.
I was curious how my anecdotal experiences related to the available research and turned to the experts at ieg for their annual sponsorship forecast.
To provide a little context, in 2011, corporate cause sponsorship spending was up 3.7% to $1.68 billion over the previous year’s mark of $1.62 billion. In 2012, ieg predicts that corporate cause sponsorship will grow 3.1% to $1.73 billion.
In general, North American sponsorship spending is expected to grow 4.1% to $18.87 billion in 2012. Looking at the overall picture, it’s not surprising that the sponsorship market is still overwhelmingly ‘owned’ by the sports category with a commanding 69% market share projected to reach nearly $13 billion this year.
This means in the coming months, we should expect to continue to see an increase in cause marketing partnership, although at a slightly slower rate than the overall sponsorship market. This can been seen as a natural ‘leveling out’ as the industry matures.
Historically, as far as cause marketing goes, we’ve seen spending double in the past ten years from $816 million in 2002 to the current level of $1.7 billion. Beginning in 2005, cause corporate spending grew 16% annually (on average) for three consecutive years. Many of the big gains can be attributed to the incredible outpouring of cause related response by corporations and individuals to disaster relief followed by the ground-breaking growth of innovation via social networking and “web 2.0” fundraising tools. Remember – it was 2006 when all of us were Time’s Person of the Year!
The ieg sponsorship forecast mentioned a number of trends that will likely drive growth. It’s worth noting that a couple of their insights are spot on related to the characteristics embedded in cause partnerships such as the ability to provide ‘access to compelling, relevant content’ and success in achieving ‘purpose above transactions’.
Clearly, cause related alliances offer the inherent ability to enrich communities and alter lives. It’s part of our passion to not just help one another change the world, but rather our industry’s pursuit of business-building strategies that will ultimately drive the way the world changes.