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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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The Perfect Purebred Partner: Pedigree vs. Purina

by Emily Taylor
15 02 2012

I’m a HUGE dog fan.  In fact, I’m currently sitting on my couch with my computer and my beautiful Weimaraner dog. Though 75 lbs of beautiful grey fur, it’s not completely clear which has won the luxury of being in my lap… So when I heard about the sad split of the Westminster and Pedigree, I had to dig deeper.  After 24 years of a solid partnership, they have “broken up.”  That kind of partnership duration feels a bit more like a divorce than a cordial separation, and I can’t help but see Purina as the “younger woman.” 

Even I have to admit though, that there are some good reasons this was a smart move for Westminster.  For one thing, they are clearly highlighting purebred dogs – sort of the “red carpet dogs,” vs. the everyday house pet.  What a perfect play on the target to have Purina step in as the perfect purebred partner.  Pedigree has, through several efforts, defined themselves as a product for all dogs.  For the mutt or the shelter dog; the every-day dog.  This newly distinguished difference in focus makes it clear that the two were going their own separate ways, and perhaps they were not complementing one another’s focus any longer; or maybe just not as well as another partner might do.  Just a guess. And speaking of shelter dogs, Pedigree has had ads out focusing on the topic of adoption, which pulls at your heartstrings over very sad situations.  To animal lovers anywhere, it’s heart wrenching, and apparently Westminster’s primary audiences were tempted to change the channel when they came on, according to an article by Ad Age.  Now, whether or not turning away from a problem that causes you to ache and pretending it’s not there is a good thing or not; ultimately business is business, and Westminster needs to do what it takes to keep their target audience interested in staying tuned and not going anywhere.  I’m also always toting up longevity in sponsorship relationships, especially cause related, but after 24 years, it’s quite possible they maxed out any of the long term benefits of the partnership.  Perhaps fresh and new was what they needed. And who knows, maybe Purina had some ideas and dollars up their sleeve that Westminster couldn’t refuse… but now I’m speculating.

Here’s what’s interesting to me; the split has probably done both parties more good.  It highlights Westminster even more as the exclusive, high society, event that they are really going for; and it brings Pedigree fans running to their side.  Again, according to Ad Age, Pedigree is seeing tremendous support on social media communities for one, and I would imagine; the loyalty to the underdog has only climbed since the unfortunate break up.  It underscores their cause, and it better prepares to align them with partners who have similar visions.  Purebred is not their focus; they have not defined themselves a red carpet exclusive, so why partner with an event that does?

The applicable truth is this: there are times that we all need to take the time to answer some questions: Are you doing what is best for your partner?  Is your partner the best fit for you?  Are you doing everything in your power to support your property/brand in order for it to become the place it was made to be? What would take things to the next level?  These are all questions that we are digging into here at SponsorPark, and we have some really exciting ideas on the horizon which will be implemented sooner than later… on that note, more to come!

Categories:   industry happenings | Sponsorship Valuation | tips
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Respond or Rebuff: What's your Response to Customer Input?

by Gail S. Bower
25 01 2012

In a matter of months, Netflix went from beloved to beaten up.

Netflix customers have long raved about how easy it is to use its streaming and DVD services, and business leaders view its operations as a great model of a customer-centric approach to operations. (A client of mine, for example, recently referrenced Netflix in describing how she needed me to help her design and create a new initiative for her organization.)

This summer, however, Netflix made a series of missteps and bungled decisions, surely with all the best of intentions, that some (about a million) customers disliked. Really disliked. OK. Hated. It increased its pricing by 60 percent, separated its streaming video from its DVD shipping services, and then, the final wallup, announced a whole separate company for the DVD services, under the much maligned name, Qwikster. However, on Monday, the company hit the rewind button (except for the pricing changes), killed Qwikster, and announced to customers:

Dear Gail:

It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs.

This means no change: one website, one account, one password…in other words, no Qwikster.

While the July price change was necessary, we are now done with price changes.

We're constantly improving our streaming selection. We've recently added hundreds of movies from Paramount, Sony, Universal, Fox, Warner Bros., Lionsgate, MGM and Miramax. Plus, in the last couple of weeks alone, we've added over 3,500 TV episodes from ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, USA, E!, Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, ABC Family, Discovery Channel, TLC, SyFy, A&E, History, and PBS.

We value you as a member, and we are committed to making Netflix the best place to get your movies & TV shows.


The Netflix Team

Clunky, awkward, uncomfortable, and very public, Netflix attempted to expand its services in ways it thought it was being valuable to customers. And it backfired. However, their reversal means they can begin again, regain customer confidence, and move forward.

Though no business wants to make mistakes so publicly, the Netflix case study is actually a great example of what hundreds of CMOs and CEOs are saying is "crucial" to their successes in the 21st century: "customer intimacy." That's according to a new study by IBM.

"The most proactive CMOs are trying to understand individuals as well as markets. Customer intimacy is crucial – and CEOs know it. In our last CEO study, we learned CEOs regard getting closer to customers as one of the three prerequisities for success in the twenty-first century. This sits squarely in the CMO's domain."

--IBM's From Stretched to Strenthened: Insights from the Global Chief Marketing Officer Study

Yes, of course, these leaders surely aspire to smoother, even more pleasant feelings of intimacy than this, but let's not forget, sometimes intimacy can be messy. Netflix deserves a lot of credit for putting its collective ego aside and responding to what its customers are saying. Er, screaming.

Let's also not forget another leader who encountered a similar situation: Steve Jobs and Apple. When the second iteration of the iPhone came out, customers who had most recently bought the first version received a $100 store credit for being early adopters of the new technology that had dropped in price by half. Mr. Jobs issued an open apology and made the correction.

Intimacy requires an openness, receptivity, back and forth. And this openness is a requirement that all businesses – even nonprofits – must grow more comfortable with. Its an exchange that corporate sponsorship is an ideal medium for fostering.

In contrast, intimacy is not about rebuffing customers. Unfortunately, that's what I read in a quote by a spokesperson for a breast cancer organization in an AP article this morning about whether painting October pink, in support of breast cancer awareness month, had run its course. I (and others) have been saying that it has for years. But more importantly some women who have battled breast cancer hate the reminder. One woman in the article is quoted as saying the pink "drives her nuts." Yet the organizational spokesperson remains, "unapologetic." Not exactly openness.

The shifts we're facing in how we market to customers affects all of us. Learn from the Netflix and Apple examples. Foster a sense of openness and dialogue with your communities. And if you goof, respond. Don't rebuff.

Author of How to Jump-start Your Sponsorship Strategy in Tough Times,Gail Bower is President of Bower & Co. Consulting LLC, a firm helps that nonprofit organizations, destinations, and businesses dramatically improve their visibility, revenue, and impact. She’s a professional consultant, writer, and speaker, with nearly 25 years of experience managing some of the country’s most important events, festivals, and sponsorships and implementing marketing programs for clients She blogs about sponsorship at SponsorshipStrategist.com, and her web site is GailBower.com.


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