Chapter 18: Sponsorship Practice at the Small Business Level: An Applied Perspective
J. Terence Zinger and Norm O’Reilly1 INTRODUCTION In recent years, there has been dramatic growth in the use of sponsorship as a marketing vehicle. Total sponsorship spending in North America (including the arts, sporting events, festivals, and cause marketing) has escalated from $10.25 billion in 2003 to $16.78 billion in 2008 (IEG, 2009). Not surprisingly, the sponsorship discussion tends to be dominated by multimillion-dollar sponsorship deals, global sponsors, and mega-events (ISM, 2009). However, does the emergence of sponsorship as an integral part of the marketing mix have direct implications for smaller firms, where marketing practices have a tendency to be informal and less comprehensive than those of their larger counterparts (Coviello et al., 2000)? Moreover, how are sponsorships utilized by microenterprises, where marketing is often opportunistic in nature and reflects the preferences and background of the respective entrepreneur (Zinger and LeBrasseur, 2003)? Much of the previous research in this area has focused on the experiences of larger corporations (Arthur et al., 1997) or, in the case of small business sponsors (where there has been little research interest), has treated small enterprises as homogeneous entities (Mack, 1999). An extensive review of the sponsorship literature (Walliser, 2003) revealed no significant content related to small enterprises. Hence, the purpose of this chapter is to improve our understanding of how microenterprises and other small enterprises approach sponsorships. This presentation of the results of a specific research study provides an applied perspective on this topic. The research project described in the following sections will provide...
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