What Properties Can Do to Ensure Sponsorship ROI

By Rob Campbell Jan 27, 2010

This past week I attended a National Sports Marketing Networking (NSMN) event on The Evolution and Role of ROI in Sports .

Set up as an open forum with the audience and six panelists, there was a lot of great discussion and insight on what corporate sponsors are looking for in ROI and how properties can provide it. Outlined below are a few of the key takeaways I left the event with:

  1. Build research into your sponsorship proposals. Every NSMN panelist drove home the need for a built-in research component in sponsorship proposals. By including this expenditure upfront in the initial contract, it ensures you have the proper data to base ROI conclusions on in the future.
  2. Properties and sponsors can work together to successfully measure ROI. NSMN panelist and colleague, Larry Albus, highlighted work he did with both a client and their main sponsor to determine ROI before their sponsorship renewal process. By having open conversations, both the property and the sponsor were able to have a better understanding of each others’ objectives, goals and metrics. This type of communication creates a better and more productive relationship.
  3. The property that does not provide justifiable ROI data is the property that gets cut first. Any hard data from the property that a sponsor can present to C-level executives goes a long way in sponsor retention. Most panelists present said that any data was better than nothing but that open communication between sponsors and properties on objectives leads to better metrics. An example given by one of the panelists was that if a brand has seven sponsorships and three properties provide ROI data, the other four properties would be the first to go if cuts are needed.
  4. Corporate Sponsorship isn’t just part of the pie, it should hold everything together. This point was emphasized by panelist Jeff Eccleston and really provides a great visual of how sponsorship should not live in isolation. Sponsorship is incredibly flexible and easy to integrate with an overall marketing platform and should not be viewed as a separate entity but rather the unifying element that brings everything together. Properties should be cognizant of their sponsor’s marketing initiatives and attempt to leverage them to enhance the overall sponsorship.


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