Sponsorships are a means to a marketing end. The decision to sponsor a property and subsequent decisions on the structure and activation of the sponsorship should only be made having studied the tangible business effect the decision can have.
Managing sponsorships require a significant people commitment to make the investment effective. It’s not enough to pay the cash and provide the creative materials, you have to fully leverage the opportunities that are available. The most effective sponsorships are those that are nurtured to gain maximum effectiveness. Realistically, effective leveraging of sponsorships will require additional out-of-pocket expenditures of 2 to 3 times the amount of the sponsorship fee but the return on investment should be 4 or 5 times, so long as measurement methods and realistic targets are identified during the planning stage.
Rather than a scatter gun approach, organizations should create a sponsorship strategy and ensure that the entire work force fully understands and supports it. It is critical that the audience demographics of the property match that of the sponsor and this may focus investment into specific areas unless, indeed, the organisation has multi target markets.
Potentially, a sponsor will gain more market benefit from having a concentrated presence in a particular area rather than smaller presences across differing industries. Without an overarching strategy there will be no clarification on a number of key success areas. For example, what’s the type of property that best fits the company’s business and marketing strategy…and why? What assets will help drive business and marketing strategy - program ads, television and radio sponsorship, venue signs, product sampling, hospitality? Who gets the event tickets? Clarity on the use of a Hospitality unit - build relationships, reward customers, reward staff?
There’s a lot of background information required before smart decision can be made!
The market is awash with organisations that measure the effectiveness of sponsorship and its ability to generate a return on objectives and investment. And many properties will provide this service as part of the rights fee. It is important to identify whether you will have to contract a measurement agent or whether that offered by the property will be effective.
What once was an intangible asset is now measureable and it won’t be long that someone will be measuring the number of smiles during a game of football and adding that to its value inventory.
But in the area of exposure do you really want to measure outcomes against media equivalency? Is it really appropriate to compare your pitch perimeter advertising board against a billboard on the free way? What about the added value of exposing your brand in moments of high passion? And while we're talking about equivalency does Facebook advertising produce better engagement than organic posts on the club’s feed?
Sponsorship allows brand connections in moments of high emotion and sponsorship allows you to connect with people across brands/properties/experiences that they’re passionate about. So make no mistake, the smile factor is super important!