Successful sponsorships rely on data.
This is not a groundbreaking statement.
It’s not even a mundane one anymore.
Sponsorship experts have accepted the “essential” nature of sponsorship for some time. Perhaps not as well understood is how ubiquitous data should be through every aspect of good sponsorship. Of course, data is crucial to get a sale. But data can and should also play a key role in every other step along the way: prospecting, activation, and ROI, to name a few.
Data in Prospecting
“We’re getting nothing from the QSR category. Who should we be talking to?” The short answer, especially if you’re the Director of Corporate Sales, is “Everybody.” You can focus on the best targets and tell a unique story tailored to your prospects by looking at the correct data.
McDonald’s is a universal brand with a customer base that looks like the general public. However, maybe they’re losing market share in the breakfast category and can shore it up with your property’s audience. Conversely, a challenger brand can see your audience as either a target-rich environment or an untapped resource they’ve never considered. Data will tell you which of these stories is probably true. By looking at the correct data in the right way, an organization can increase its success rate and save itself wasted time selling brands that were never good targets.
Data in Activation
There is no such thing as a perfect sponsorship, and certainly, no such thing as a sponsorship executed perfectly from day one, with no room for improvement. The best partnerships learn and adapt over time, and the correct data is crucial for growth. Maybe a concourse stand-up isn’t getting enough traffic. Fan entrance patterns (both location of ingress and timelines), nearby concession stands’ traffic, or section-by-section demographics are just a few data points that could lead to positive change. This is especially true of a long-term partnership that evolves from one year to the next. Only by analyzing what’s happened previously can we maximize what happens next.
No sponsorship element has seen a more significant shift from subjective to objective than ROI. “ROI” used to mean “does the CEO like that we sponsor Team X”? Today, not only does every marketing dollar have to return multiples more than is spent, but that return must be provable. This is true for every property, but it’s especially true for the big names out there. It stands to reason that the big teams with large audiences and significant brand recognition carry a more substantial cache into the marketplace than their smaller, more niche neighbors and don’t need data to get a sponsorship pitch meeting. But if those audiences come with a significantly higher cost, data showing equal or more significant ROI becomes imperative.
Any one of these aspects of data in sponsorship could be, and likely is, its own multi-thousand-word case study. The point is that to identify, build, sell, and execute good partnerships, the need for data is unquestionable. And it’s only increasing.