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Data-Sponsorships: The New Partnership Deliverable

Esben Christensen Authored by: Esben Christensen

Watching 100,000 people wild out to The Foo Fighters a couple of weekends ago was a welcome sight. It’s been a long time coming and it feels good to have a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. Things in Europe might be a little slower in terms of ramping up in 2021, but that presents festival promoters with some opportunities to prepare for the new season and invest in their infrastructure.

It’s no secret that promoters have been hurting, and with all signs pointing to another festival cycle being skipped in Europe, promoters must find more ways to increase their revenue potential. At the same time, brands are more conscious of their costs and are under more pressure than ever to maximize their return on investment. And so, one of the biggest changes that you’ll witness when festivals are back is the increase in Data-driven sponsorships.

Sponsors of the past have primarily been promised a lot of branding around the venue, and maybe an experiential area within the festival ground. When asked to quantify the return on their investment, the primary response from promoters or marketers on-ground was, “The turn up at the booth was great” and social channels would be spammed with pictures of people engaging with the brand. However, this is no longer going to fly. Brands will want real-time relevant data. This is why organizers need to start thinking about data-driven sponsorships. By implementing data collection in your sponsorship deliverables you’ll be able to report back to the brand exactly the fans that visited the activation, along with actionable ways in which these fans can be retargeted in the future. You could go further and provide insights about fans that may be active leads for their products in the recent future. Each of these is a way in which you can not just maximize your revenue potential, but also secure long-term sustainable partnerships with your sponsors.

Depending on the vertical that your partner operates in, below are a few examples as thought-starters.

Travel & Hospitality

Finding authentic ways to activate travel and hospitality partners at a music festival might be hard, but if you get creative, some great activations can be executed. The example that immediately stands out is x Way Out West. was very focused on their message of supporting people’s journeys and as an extension of their brand focus, they partnered with Way Out West to provide fans with a great experience during their “festival journey”. The pair launched a mobile app that utilized location data to track attendees' music journey around the festival. After the festival users were able to see a list of the artists they watched and the ability to save a playlist on their Spotify. This is a great example of tying your activation closely to the identity of the partner, as well as generating a lot of social buzz (with great branding) thanks to the value generated for the fans. x Way Out West


I’m sure you’ve seen a car in the middle of a music festival at a booth and wondered what on earth that was doing there. While it might be the right target demographic for some of these brands, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Enter, smart data capture. Running engagement campaigns with an element of prizing allows you to ask your fans for just a “little” bit more data. One of the questions that you could ask your fans is whether they plan to buy a car within the next 3 years (as long as you tie it into the context of the campaign or the sponsor), and lo and behold, you’ve now got a list of actionable leads that you can help your sponsor market to. The fans that said yes to this are the exact fans that the brand will want to get in front of, and a simple exercise like this will drive a lot more value for your sponsor than any car within the festival grounds.



Using data to drive more data sponsors. How meta of us. But this is a trend that we’re starting to see more of and is a great way for the sponsor to highlight their capabilities while generating great net value for the festival itself. That's a win-win if I’ve ever heard one. Smukfest in Denmark is a great example of this. Using data such as wristbands, Point of sale systems, artist affinity and location data from the mobile app, IBM was able to help Smukfest better understand their fans. The sponsorship is a great story about how data can play a key role and be the driver of the sponsorship. IBM got to showcase their technology at the festival and Smukfest learned tons of new things about their fans’ behaviour.

Smukfest x IBM


Last, but never least, alcohol brands and music festivals are almost synonymous. While that makes it a great fit for both parties, finding ways to further their partnership often becomes challenging. In an era where every festival is rushing for sponsors, what becomes harder is finding ways to quantify whether your festival is truly driving a lift for the brand and justifying why they should look to spend their marketing dollars on your festival and not another one. You could do this by building a cohesive fan engagement plan that includes your partner every step of the way and tying it with point-of-sale data that highlights the increase in consumption for your partners’ brand. What better way to secure a sustainable long-term relationship than showing your partners that your festival is good news for their bottom line?


Whether promoters like it or not, data is here to stay and will be the lens through which sponsors judge their marketing spend. The good news is with the increase in adoption of digital tools and the ease with which fans are interacting with tools such as QR Codes, the challenge no longer lies in capturing data or analyzing it anymore - as long as promoters find creative, authentic ways to tie their festival experience with the identity of the brands cohesively. As you plan for your next festival, stop to think about what the brand is truly after and how you can help further that initiative within your fanbase.

Need inspiration? Don't hesitate to reach out.


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