Everyone wants to get their money’s worth. Sponsors are no different. They want to know that the money and effort spent on a sponsorship produced worthwhile results for their businesses.
From a benefit perspective, sponsorships should yield an enhanced image and/or increased revenue. However, every sponsor is different. They sell different products or services and have different business needs. Therefore, each will have a different take on what these benefits mean to their business.
Have you achieved your objectives?
Since each business is different, there are no standard sponsorship objectives. Hopefully, at the outset of the relationship, the sponsor has defined SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based) objectives the sponsorship should achieve. These could include increasing brand awareness, producing sales leads or increasing sponsor employee engagement.
Has your image been enhanced?
Although image enhancement is the soft side of sponsorship marketing, there are things you can do and measure to determine if your image actually has been enhanced by the sponsorship.
- Exposure of Property: Although this does not directly impact image enhancement, it is helpful to evaluate the potential exposure you received as a result of being a sponsor of the property. This includes television viewership and event attendance data. These data points are helpful if you are comparing different sponsorships against one another.
- Brand Impact Measures: Through survey data, it is important to evaluate the change in brand awareness, opinion, and/or affinity over time. If these measures remained unchanged, you may have a problem.
- Differentiation with Competitors: Many times, brands use sponsorships to differentiate their products / services from competitors. This should be verified through survey data. Additionally, in circumstances where competitors co-exist in the same sponsorship space, it would be important to understand what “share of voice” your brand had versus competing brands.
- The Consumer Voice: Although this could be somewhat anecdotal, consumer comments can be powerful, particularly in the board room. If consumers note your sponsorship presence (at event or on social) be sure to collect this information for use during sponsorship evaluation.
- Employee Engagement: Employee participation in sponsorships positively impacts your employer brand. It is important to evaluate how employees engaged with the sponsorship, how many employees were impacted, and gauging their relative reaction. Again, surveys offer good insights in this regard.
Have you grown revenue?
Some companies live and die by measuring their sponsorships by future revenue. Other sponsors live only for image enhancement. However, not every sponsor successfully tracks revenue directly to their sponsorships. For those brands that want sponsorships to impact the bottom line, the following indicators can help in the evaluation process:
- Leads: Lead generation occurs in several different ways through sponsorship. Consumer leads come in through experiential displays on-site, sweepstakes or other promotions. Business-to-business leads can be tracked through invitations to hospitality events.
- Opt-Ins: Like leads, consumers can opt-in to sponsor email marketing lists. Although more removed from revenue objectives than leads, opt-ins provide a valuable opportunity to convert sales.
- Conversion: Sponsorships can accelerate the time to convert a prospect into a sale. Measuring this time and comparing it to non-sponsored activities can provide valuable insights in sponsorship evaluation.
Sponsorship should enhance a brand’s image and/or contribute to revenue growth. At the start of a sponsorship relationship, there’s often optimistic expectations of achieving sponsor goals. However, it is only through objective evaluation of the results that a sponsorship manager can validate if the sponsor received its money’s worth for all the hard work and money expended.