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.