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 benefits perspective, sponsorships should yield an enhanced image and/or increase 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. Evaluating your sponsorships is important.
Have you achieved your objectives?
Since each business is different, there are no one-size-fits-all sponsorship objectives. However, at the outset of the relationship, the sponsor should define SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based) objectives for the sponsorship. These could include increasing brand awareness, producing sales leads, or increasing sponsor employee engagement.
Has your image been enhanced?
Although image enhancement is subjective, it can and should be measured.
- Exposure of Sponsored Property: A sponsor may receive an indirect benefit when the sponsored property enjoys exposure. This includes television viewership and event attendance data. These data points are helpful if you are comparing different sponsorships.
- Brand Impact Measures: Through survey data, it is important to evaluate the change in brand awareness, opinion, and/or affinity. If these measures remained unchanged, you might have a problem.
- Differentiation with Competitors: Brands use sponsorships to differentiate their products/services from competitors. We recommend verifying differentiation through survey data. Where competitors co-exist in the same sponsorship space, it’s important to understand what “share of voice” your brand had versus competing brands.
- The Consumer Voice: Consumer comments can be powerful, particularly in the board room. If consumers note your sponsorship presence (at an event or on social media), 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 thru 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. At the same time, sponsors track business-to-business leads through invitations to hospitality events.
- Opt-Ins: Like leads, consumers can opt-in to sponsor email marketing lists. Opt-Ins are more removed from revenue objectives than leads. As a result, they 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.
Sponsorship should enhance a brand’s image and/or contribute to revenue growth. So at the start of a sponsorship relationship, there are often optimistic expectations of achieving goals. Finally, objective evaluation of the results, a sponsorship manager can validate if the sponsor received its money’s worth.
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