Market Vision

Event Promoter: Have a sports or arts event?Corporate Sponsor: Only if it's linked with something important!!!The following is prepared by the authors of Market Vision 2000, a national study examining what it takes to have a relationship with consumers in the...

Event Promoter: Have a sports or arts event?

Corporate Sponsor: Only if it’s linked with something important!!!

The following is prepared by the authors of Market Vision 2000, a national study examining what it takes to have a relationship with consumers in the ’90s.

‘The event business will be a great business in the ’90s, to the extent it does not resemble the event business of the ’80s.’

I made the preceding statement recently when opening The Financial Post’s Event Marketing conference.

The following explains what that statement means.

In the Market Vision 2000 study of 1,000 Canadian consumers, the findings revealed that there are five keys to the development and maintenance of a lasting and profitable relationship with today’s consumer.

One of the five relates to the extent to which a company is perceived to care about issues important to its customers as individuals.

Consumers were provided with a list of 23 issues and asked to scale how important each one was to them personally using a ‘one to seven’ scale.

The table reveals only a partial list and illustrates that among the top personal priorities of today’s consumer are job creation, crime prevention, clean up of the environment, protection of abused women, fighting substance abuse and funding medical research.

Among the least important issues were support for the arts and support for professional sports.

When consumers were asked how good a job business does (using a ‘one to seven’ scale), cleaning up the environment, and how good a job it does supporting professional sports, the average scores were 3.41 and 4.29, respectively.

In other words, business is seen to perform well on a relatively unimportant issue and perform weakly on an important one.

Such a finding is cause for considerable concern, for it describes attitudes toward business that are a recipe for ‘irrelevance.’

These findings also explain the opening statement about event marketing.

The data do not suggest that business should abandon professional sport – pro-sport generates substantial and important visibility for many corporations.

However, the findings strongly suggest that businesses that are heavily involved in professional sports must also be perceived to be pursuing other more important consumer priorities with equal vigor, visibility and investment.

This is necessary so a company can achieve a balance in its reputation in the marketplace, and avoid being labelled irrelevant.

As such, marketers of both sport and arts events need to increasingly partner those types of initiatives with ones higher on the consumer’s agenda.

So look for more strategic alliances between the arts and charities, or sports and environmental causes.

Such alliances will be essential to both the sponsors’ competitiveness and the health of arts and sport marketing in the ’90s.

Canadians’ Personal Priorities



Issues (mean from

(partial list) 1 – 7 scale)

Job creation 6.40

Crime prevention 6.30

Clean up of environment 6.16

Protection of abused women 6.11

Fighting alcohol/substance abuse 5.91

Funding for medical research 5.90

Raising standards of elementary/

secondary school education 5.86

Job training and retraining programs 5.75

Reducing racial tensions 5.70

Provisions of affordable/accessible daycare 4.93

Support for community recreational events 4.75

Support for the arts 4.24

Support for professional sports 3.49

Greg White is president of Market Vision, a Toronto-based company specializing in communications, research and strategy.