Who’s Keeping Score?

“Half of our marketing works, I’m just not sure which half it is”.  Sadly, this old saying still rings true for a lot of companies.  When it comes to sponsorship, things aren’t much different.  So how do we know what impact sponsorships are having on the business and who is keeping score?  Ideally, this is a collaborative effort between the properties and the sponsors with each taking some responsibility.

Properties:

Most properties are good at providing recaps or ‘Proof of Performance’, but sponsors want to see how it performed and what difference did it make.  Sponsors already know what their print ad or sign looks like.  They have a pretty good idea on attendance figures and an impression summary doesn’t tell much.  Things like Scarborough data are useful beforehand, but it doesn’t really show the post event impact.  Repucom data utilized to quantify earned media from TV exposure is also helpful, but what happens when TV exposure is not part of the equation?

It is somewhat unrealistic to think properties are able to provide custom research for each sponsor.  However, it should be possible to provide some helpful data based on fan feedback.  For example, the Portland Trail Blazers conduct research each year at the beginning of the season and again at the end through on-line surveys sent to their database.  This provides valuable feedback regarding the awareness of specific sponsor promotions and general awareness.  This alone enables sponsors to see what is working and how things might be improved from year to year.

One of the best things about Social Media is the ability to see how things are performing in real time.  A simple post or Tweet can be measured in a variety of ways to show the level of engagement.  Reach, impressions, clicks, likes, shares, comments, re-tweets, etc. are all easily attainable.

Sponsors:

A lot of sponsors rely solely on the properties, which are often limited to help measure the impact of their sponsorship.  With more scrutiny and accountability, sponsors need to take on more of this responsibility.  Some metrics may be handled internally such as sales, lead generation and acquisition.  Brand impact is a little more complex.  Thankfully there are some great companies like Nielsen Sports & Entertainment (also own Scarborough and Repucom) out there who provide custom research to help measure things like recall, favorability, and consideration to name a few.

Smart companies are proactively taking the necessary steps to measure these significant investments, which also helps guide the decision process.  In the end, this will help determine efficiency, property alignment and brand impact.  This should be as essential as any activation and factored into the budget upfront.

Partners:

Don’t be afraid of what you might find.  Information is empowering.  As always, it starts with understanding objectives.  Then work together to determine how and what will be measured.  Ultimately, this will help properties with retention and growth.  Sponsors will be able to make better decisions, validate their investments and show a return.  Regardless of what the final score is, everybody wins.