Millennial families are viewing life through a different lens than past generations, and expect the experiences they choose to engage with to be meaningful, lasting and hands-on. The Allionce Group, a marketing agency that facilitates connections between brands and the families that visit zoos and aquariums throughout the U.S., has predicted that 2020 will see a seismic shift in the way brands in the U.S. approach sponsorship marketing.
Sponsorship marketing is proving to be one of the most valuable ways to connect with millennial families and achieve multiple objectives at once, from increasing brand visibility to driving sales to securing a lifetime of brand loyalty. Yet despite the awareness of the unique needs and traits of millennial consumers, most brands have continued to use the same sponsorship marketing tactics that have dominated the landscape for years—until now.
“The discussion on the best way to market to millennial families is happening everywhere, and the results of this discussion are incredibly clear,” said Mark Giovino, CEO and founder of Allionce Group, in a news release. “They desire an interactive and personalized experience, they want the brands they purchase to reflect their values, and they expect companies to be good corporate citizens, investing in their communities and supporting important local and global charities and causes.”
Music and sports venues remain the leaders for sponsorship marketing opportunities
In fact, according to IEG, sports sponsorships in North America account for 70 percent of the total spend. This is due to the fact that sports has traditionally been a “safe” approach to sponsorship, providing marketers with a tested, if not worn and tired method, that has given sports a considerably overweight share of the sponsorship pie. Unfortunately, these venues do not provide the level of engagement required by the average millennial consumer and they do not hit all the pressure points required by those consumers. More problematic, these traditional brand-cluttered, large audience locations, are oversaturated with marketing and advertising promotion, making it near impossible for brands to rise above the noise and truly differentiate themselves from the competition.
“Some major brands have done their due diligence and discovered that there is an untapped oasis that provides direct access to millennial families: zoos and aquariums,” continued Giovino. “With more than 200 non-profit, accredited zoos and aquariums in the U.S., boasting a staggering 195 million visits annually, these special venues see more yearly attendance than the total number of attendees to all MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL games combined! And with an average visit of four hours, visitors to zoos and aquariums are uniquely ‘in the moment’, spending uninterrupted time together as a family away from the distraction and chaos of everyday life. This provides a rare opportunity for brands to establish relationships that are not available at other venues.”
2020 will see more major brands reimagining their approach to sponsorship marketing
Traditional methods will become increasingly less effective. Further, as we approach the 2020 presidential election, and the topic of the environment and conversation continues to be a dominant factor among millennials, companies will continue to make this a priority, supporting causes and destinations important to their key consumers.
“Zoos and aquariums in the U.S. provide more than $200 million dollars annually to vital conservation efforts,” said Giovino. “According to a recent survey, almost 80 percent of those interviewed felt better about companies that support wildlife conservation at zoos and aquariums and two-thirds said they are more likely to buy products and services from those companies, validating the venues as ideal locations to engage consumers. Brand marketers are going to be forced to rethink their approach, whether they want to or not. If they don’t, they are likely going to be left behind as forward-thinking competitors establish dominance in this new, innovative and vast sponsorship landscape.”