Jessica Hubbard, Deputy Editor; 15 March 16
Increasingly, new digital platforms are disrupting old models – and changing the way business is conducted on many levels. Now, a local platform is seeking to do the same for the sponsorship space, by allowing stakeholders to connect online. Meet ‘the sponsorshop’, a free-to-access digital ecosystem that ‘connects sponsors with individuals, events, organisations and agencies.’
According to founder Matt Fendick, the online service ‘streamlines the sponsorship process’ and eliminates many of the administrative burdens for all parties. The platform does this by applying filters to search results and offering automated recommendations on which opportunities are best suited to the sponsors’ specified requirements.
But how much is this market actually worth, and who benefits from the partnerships? A 2014 global commercial trends report by Repucom found that sponsorship spend is expected to reach over $62 billion by 2017. Top-tier sports typically get the most budget, while secondary or niche sectors continue to haggle for exposure and scramble for funding.
“As a first of its kind in South Africa, the sponsorshop will address this challenge across the African continent by allowing sponsorship seekers to showcase their offerings on a widely-accessible platform,” says Fendick. “They stand a greater chance of being noticed and connected to potential sponsors…”
Using a freemium model, the service allows sponsorship seekers, agencies and corporate users to register and make use of certain basic features free-of-charge, with paid-for options also available for enhanced user functionality and experience.
“The platform offers users transparency and access to market information at the click of a button, with the ultimate objective of facilitating authentic connections between rights owners and potential sponsors.”
Return on Experience…
“There is a global shift taking place whereby the motivation for investing in various industries or projects is aimed at delivering more than just brand exposure measured by media returns,” explains Fendick. “Companies are beginning to focus more on meaningful engagement – the Return on Experience and Objectives rather than the Return on Investment – that will lead to consumers converting to their brand or service.”
He notes that the platform is open to proposals from any sector that require sponsorship or fundraising, with a number of diverse and interesting sponsorship seekers already signed up. Among these are prominent local athletes and sports federations, CSI initiatives, classic, traditional and contemporary music events, and even one of the finalists of popular cooking show MasterChef.