MKTG dives into sponsor receptiveness

For brands, getting noticed by e-sports fans versus baseball fans is a whole different game.
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Sponsorship and marketing agency MKTG Canada has launched a new research tool that it says will give clients a new eye into client behaviours, including how receptive they are to sponsorships.

Decoding Canada provides a deep dive into insights for marketers who are looking to sponsor in the sports, lifestyle, music or entertainment space. Citing an attitude-based study of more than 3,000 Canadians, MTKG breaks down demographic, geographic and psychographic trends, categorizing people into titles such as “receptives” (those highly receptive to sponsor messaging), “selectives” (people on the fence who are aware of sponsor contribution but don’t always engage) and “non-receptives.”

Matthew Klar, VP of strategy at MKTG, explains to MiC: “Previously, we have been doing more custom studies with clients on a one-off basis, working with their existing research agencies, and it was probably more ad hoc. This is a more comprehensive data set, all in one place.”

Klar says the new tool is also unique because it expands beyond sports, and although he says the majority of sponsorship dollars are still spent there, it was important to include other categories such as music, lifestyle, gaming and more. “It’s designed to provide recommendations on what kind of sponsorable content a brand’s target might be receptive to.”

For example, although 18% of consumers are identified as receptives, 44% are selectives and the remaining 38% are non-receptives, that can change across demos. For example, with millennial consumers, there’s a larger amount of receptives (29%) and fewer non-receptives (27%) than the national average. Gen X and especially Baby Boomers, however, are less likely to be receptive (only 20% of Gen Xers and 7% of Boomers are in the receptives category).

These categories also vary depending on interests and affiliations. For example, 39% of receptives identify as social media obsessed, making social users more likely to engage with and consider sponsors. But when it comes to heavy political junkies, they might be the tougher to crack – 50% of people in this category are non-receptives and only 9% are receptives.

Gamers are also more likely to be receptive of sponsors, even moreso than sports fans – 36% of the gamers subset were in the receptives category, compared to 23% of the sports fans category. This echoes a recent study by Vivintel which shows that e-sports fans are more likely than casual sports fans to notice and buy the sponsors that support their favourite games and tournaments.

For MKTG, Klar says it’s a crucial part of the agency’s strategy to provide data-driven tools. “We were looking for a way to own our own data and bring interesting new nuggets to the table with the clients we are working with. But we can go to the markets for clients we’re not working with today and create a new offering for them through research.”

Klar himself was most interested in the breakdown of receptivity by sports – that niche sports such as MMA or extreme sports have a higher rate of receptivity than the “big five” of hockey, baseball, football, basketball and soccer. In fact, for all niche sports (lacrosse, extreme sports and surfing) and emerging sports (obstacle courses/mud runs, e-sports and MMA) the amount of receptives among fans is more than 50% each, something that does not play true for any of the big five.

“For brands that are sponsoring lower-profile properties, they’re seen as builders,” Klar says. “In the major league sports where sponsors have become a bit ubiquitous, we see a higher amount of selectives. So for those brands, it’s less of a question of ‘do we sponsor or not’ and more about ‘how can we help those selectives?’”

Klar says the plan for now is to renew the data bi-annually. The current data set is from late 2018 and early 2019.