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The Importance of Measuring Sponsorship Outcomes

by David Rachell
25 11 2013

The Association of National Advertiser’s recent survey results revealed once again that companies are increasing their use of sponsorship marketing. These results are in line with overall reporting that sponsorship is becoming a bigger factor in the marketing mix. Noted in this particular survey is the continuing difficulty of measuring sponsorship outcomes.

Companies are having difficulty in measuring outcomes because sponsored properties don’t know what to report and brands really don’t know what to measure. According to this survey, media exposure, social media impact and brand recall are most the prominent focus for measuring. Those elements only measure part of the story. Brands should be using their sponsorship portfolio cross-functionally across the entire business platform and their indicators should measure cross-functionally, too.

Nearly two-thirds of the companies claim they’re spending money to measure results, but less than half attempt to isolate the impact that sponsorship actually creates. So, what are they really measuring? Advertisers using sponsorship to measure ONLY exposure and social media impact are missing the potential that sponsorship brings to the table. Sponsorship can be a catalyst in moving the SALES meter, provide a valuable tool in human resource recruiting, employee reward programs, and employee retention, engaging targeted stakeholders in order to alter public opinion. Various key performance indicators can be singled out in order to isolate the impact of a sponsorship and shared with sponsored properties to ensure the message is succinct and relevant.

Property sellers play a critical role in providing information important for measuring, too. Besides measuring the amount of products/services used at an event (pouring rights for example), properties should offer information on all deliverables provided to a brand. Social media exposure, onsite exposure through consumer engagement, signage, hospitality, onsite SURVEY’s, and unique promotions are all quantifiable. But, for success, properties need to understand what sponsors are measuring and gear exposure toward that outcome. At the end of the day, only a company knows if it sold more widgets because of an event. And, if the sponsor doesn’t put something in place to measure selling more widgets – it’s a dead issue no matter what exposure you’re providing.

More media exposure from a left field sign will NOT sell more product. It’s what the sponsor does to activate the relationship with the property that will sell more product. It’s up to the property to maximize the exposure – companies need to learn how to use that exposure to their benefit. Sponsorship sellers need to realize that sponsors are focused on measuring outcomes now more than ever. It’s up to the property to craft ideas based on the sponsors KPI to help the sponsor measure bottom line results.

Conversely, companies need to be more proactive in using tools to help measure outcomes. Brands need to share what they’re wanting to measure Companies can employ smart software like the Pinpoint Sponsor Evaluation System that can equate value from exposure and provide a platform to store information about KPI’s from sponsorships to measure ROI/ROO.

Professor Ed Deming taught management at NYU, was an author, brilliant statistician and all-around genius when it came to establishing processes for business. He famously crafted the quote you cannot manage what you don’t measure. As sponsorship grows, it’ll be necessary for companies to measure outcomes to better manage them. And, until best-practice processes are agreed to industry-wide, it’s incumbent upon all of us to begin shaping ways to measure results.


Categories:   Marketing | ROI | Sponsorship resources | sponsorship sales | Sponsorship Valuation | tips
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Measuring Sponsorship Return on Investment

by Mitch Thompson
30 08 2011

This week we have a guest blogger from Desperado Marketing, which is a client side sponsorship marketing agency with offices in Chicago and Toronto. Core competencies reside in creating, activating and measuring integrated business solutions around sponsorship marketing initiatives.Specifically, Desperado Marketing’s expertise includes: sponsorship strategy, sponsorship opportunity valuation (and evaluation), sponsorship property and rights negotiation and acquisition, activation planning and execution, sponsorship integrated communication plan development, sponsorship ROI measurement. They are listed on our resources page and you are welcome to review for more information.

No matter what industry you’re working in, most organizations have spent the last ten plus years driving costs out of the system with fervour. Whether it’s in logistics, production, supply chain, or another functional area, everyone across the enterprise has been tasked to do more with less.

During the same period, the marketing mix has become much more complex and effectively reaching your target audience has become net-net, more expensive.

As a result, there is increased scrutiny on the marketing function.  There is a demand for greater efficiency and as marketers, we’re being challenged to prove-out investments like never before. The only marketing initiatives worth investing in are those which prove to move the needle on key business indicators.

Moving forward, what gets measured will get funded.

It’s where business is going.

Sponsorship return on investment (ROI) measurement is a matter of understanding the benefits of a sponsorship property in terms of its contributions towards your specific business and brand objectives. The metrics that are used to measure progress towards such objectives usually vary from industry to industry, and from company to company.

For example, within the auto industry it would make sense for a company to track the number of test drives generated at a sponsored event. A financial services brand, on the other hand, would focus on incremental credit card usage or the number of customers redeeming a special offer, both tracked back to the sponsorship.

A packaged goods company will often measure the benefits of a sponsorship at retail in terms of shelf-space that could be leveraged, sales, or the number of incremental displays. And a business-to-business brand will often include measurement around hospitality – i.e., the number of key clients entertained and the follow-up business that was gained. These are just a few examples of sponsorship metrics, but the key observation is that the metrics are customized based on what generates a business benefit for the sponsor as the result a particular sponsorship.

Sponsorship ROI and Valuation

Ideally, these unique marketing metrics are translatable to dollars, thus completing the connection between property valuation and property ROI measurement. Property valuation is a complex process which is very important for sponsorship negotiation guidance as well as overall sponsorship portfolio management. Valuing a property before choosing to invest is always done in dollars, as rights fees are paid for in dollars. Therefore, if ROI metrics can be translated to dollars, a better comparison between what was invested and what was “earned” can take place.

ROI measurement allows you to prove investments’ worth to upper management, and make the best decisions about what sponsorships deserve your company’s continued investment and which should be revisited. In this sense, it is easy to see how valuation processes and ROI measurement work hand in hand when it comes to sponsorship portfolio management. ROI measurement tells you what properties and assets within your portfolio to renew, and a proper valuation allows you to renew them in a smart and financially efficient manner.

Sponsorship ROI and Activation

While measurement can help to evaluate if a property’s assets are worth reinvestment, how a brand leverages their sponsorship through activation is often just as, if not more, important to overall sponsorship success. Measuring the effectiveness of activation practices allows a sponsor to recognize which supplemental marketing initiatives surrounding a sponsorship achieve results and which initiatives do not. These conclusions can be particularly useful for planning sponsorship activation in the future - not only for the property being analyzed, but for other properties too.

Assessing both sponsorship assets and sponsorship activation through measurement protocols must take place in order to make informed sponsorship portfolio management decisions.

Easier Said than Done

It should come as no surprise that making the investment in sponsorship ROI measurement is not viewed as an attractive spend amongst many marketers. Such an investment does not always produce immediate results, and it certainly doesn’t win advertising awards. But if the goal is to achieve marketing objectives – measurement is a must.

Effective sponsorship ROI practices involve instilling a system of measurement, data submission and analysis. Over time, benchmarks are developed for various property types and metrics. Over time, properties, assets, and activation initiatives that do not show results are cut from the sponsorship portfolio and those which demonstrate success are targeted for growth and emulation. The result is a sponsorship portfolio consisting only of effective properties and effective activation initiatives.


Desperado Marketing’s proprietary sponsorship measurement protocol, True ROITM, ensures that our clients only undertake effective and efficient sponsorship practices. Our process of organizing, analyzing, and prioritizing key metrics leads to confident decision-making and increased ROI performance.

If you wish discuss the topic of Sponsorship ROI Measurement in more detail, please get in touch by email ([email protected]) or through Desperado’s twitter account: @DesperadoMKTG.


Categories:   ROI | sponsorship activation | Sponsorship Valuation
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How to Measure Your Success Through Calls to Action

by Emily Taylor
3 08 2011

You ever get home from a date and say, “that was amazing – I wonder if they had as much fun as I did.”  And the more you care, the more you make sure to find out.  Well, in sponsorship, it’s just as important to find out if the experience was as good for them as it was for you.  We all know that what you consider successful might not be what the sponsor considers successful, so in order not to play the guessing game, you have to start out by first finding out what they want, and then creating an activation strategy that makes that happen to the best of your abilities. But while good intentions are fine and dandy, you have to be smart about constructing a successful measurement strategy.  As you consider the development of your activation effort, you must consider what you are implementing to ensure optimal measurability.  What are you doing to support the ROI reporting to your partner when the event is said and done?  The name of the game is: generate calls to action, and measure the response.  Have I been clear?  I know, I’ll stop saying it now and get to the application piece… I have a few ideas for you to consider: 

  • Bounceback coupons. I come from the world of retail, and trust me, bounceback coupons work.  They each had a unique code on them that could be traced back not only to the specific individual who redeemed it (or at least who it was mailed to), but also to which bounceback we were redeeming.  Very trackable.  Do you have a sponsor who wants to see sales happen as a result of the partnership?  Hand out coupons (maybe on the event tickets?) with say 20% off that sponsor’s merchandise.  Create a unique way to measure how many were redeemed – remember they must be distinguished to your unique event/partnership activation.  While it’s true that they could be redeemed further in the future (unless you specify otherwise), most will be redeemed sooner than later, and you’ll need to provide data to support this within a given time frame. 
  • Quantified exposure on all marketing fronts – including social media: this one is not terribly new.  Any time you can accurately define the exposure they got with a particular group of people, measure it.  Do you have 3,000 followers on Twitter?  Offer a call to action which includes your sponsor (and is trackable), and in your ROI report include specifics.  Ex: 25 tweets over the course of 1 week with _____ call to action to our over 3,000 followers. 200 responded to call to action, 15 retweeted to their followers producing another 25 responses.  What can this call to action look like? Maybe you’re driving traffic to their website to vote on a product, or perhaps you’re asking them to indicate their preference in  new services, or share a video about how the sponsor has impacted them.
  • Give target audience incentive to market for you.   This really piggybacks off the last tip because it’s typically pretty measurable – especially through social media.  I love the campaign by Legal Zoom when they essentially invited their target audience to create and submit a video telling the story of how they used Legal Zoom services and how it affected their life/small business.  If they won the contest they would be featured in a commercial advertisement on television. Good marketing for both parties involved.  I can still remember some of the winners.  This not only gave many of their clients incentive to market on their behalf through new media (the life of online videos are not time sensitive), but they also gave them incentive to drive people to watch these videos because part of the consideration for the winner was how many votes they received.  Brilliant. As a partner to a brand with an effort like this, you can underscore their effort by leveraging your contacts and creative activation strategies to support their call to action – and measure it.

There are really no limits to how you can measure successes. And you definitely want to think through how you’re going to communicate this valuable tidbit when you provide ROI to your sponsor.  Just remember, if you ask for nothing, you could receive anything – try measuring that… Ask for something and communicate the result, measure progress, and improve the behaviors that drive the action you want reinforced. Boom.  Success. 

Categories:   ROI | Social Media | sponsorship activation
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