According to ESP Properties’ 2017 Sponsorship Decision-Makers Survey, the most valuable service a property can provide to its partners is help in evaluating whether the sponsorship is meeting its goals.

Half of the survey respondents rated assistance measuring ROI a 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale of value, up from 41 percent in 2016.

In this two-part series, ESP SR shares the essential elements of measuring sponsorship success, as well as the role that properties play in the measurement process.

Below, five tips on laying the foundation for measurement success.

Step #1: Have A Conversation
Sponsors and properties should have a candid conversation about the importance of measurement at the beginning of each partnership, including the role of each partner in the measurement process.

Properties may need to start the conversation, particularly when working with a company that is new to sponsorship, or a smaller company that may not have clearly defined objectives.

The conversation should include the sponsor’s objectives, and, when needed, how the sponsor’s objectives can be refined and prioritized.

Properties should also ask sponsors what data points they would like to see in post-event fulfillment reports. That can include coupon redemptions and other information the property can track.

Step #2: Set Measurable Goals
The measurement process begins with establishing clearly defined sponsorship objectives.

When establishing goals, sponsors should compare their objectives against the following criteria to ensure the sponsorship can be measured.

Is there a variable in which change can be measured? What is going to be measured? Variables can range from increasing brand awareness to increasing product trial.

Who is the audience? Who is the sponsorship being measured against? There needs to be a specific audience for each sponsorship. The more clearly defined, the better.

What is the time period? There needs to be a specific time period during which the sponsorship will be measured. That may be a period of time after a hospitality program or a promotional window before, during or after a sponsorship.

Is there a benchmark from which to measure and target quantity? Every measurement plan needs to begin with a benchmark. If a sponsor doesn’t know where they’re starting from, chances are they won’t know how far they go.

Step #3: Be Specific As Possible
Many sponsors say they want to increase sales. But by how much? Specifics are required: “We want to generate incremental sales of five percent over a benchmark of $120,000 per week during the three-week promotional period.”

The same can be said for showcasing corporate citizenship. Many companies use sponsorship to promote their community involvement. Specific objectives are key: “Increase awareness as a socially responsible company from 10 percent to 15 percent over a six-month period as determined by responses from monthly tracking research.”

Step #4: Use Established Processes
Sponsors should use the following guidelines when developing measurement plans and processes.

Define methods to be used in collecting data. Where possible, sponsors should use metrics used by the company to measure other kinds of marketing initiatives. That can help build a comfort level within the company and reinforce the idea that sponsorship is an equal part of the marketing mix.

Determine the necessary resources. Sponsors need to determine what resources are needed to measure sponsorship (both human capital and hard dollars) at the beginning of each relationship, and allocate the necessary budget for those expenses.

Identify who is responsible for collecting and submitting data. There can be multiple departments involved in the measurement process, particularly at larger companies. That can include sales, research, information technology and other departments that touch sponsorship.

Each department should understand the importance of collecting data and the need to share the information on a timely basis.

Outline how the findings will be used. Sponsors need to determine what information is proprietary, and what can be shared with properties.

The results should be used as a tool, not a weapon. A sponsorship that does not reach its goal should not necessarily be dropped. Instead, the sponsor should step back, look at the big picture, and determine how the program can be improved.

Step #5: Compare Results To Multiple Mileposts
To create a foundation for success, sponsors should put results into context. That means comparing the results against predetermined benchmarks.

  • The company’s pre-sponsorship benchmarks
  • The company’s projected goals
  • The company’s other sponsorships
  • The sponsorship’s prior-year performance

The benchmarks can also include information on the property’s other sponsors and their sponsorship performance. That can include the number of people aware of the sponsorship and the number of people who care about a sponsor’s involvement.

Measurement Essentials Part 2 will examine measurement tactics across three sponsorship objectives: visibility, awareness/attitudes and behavior. The story will run in the Feb. 5 edition of ESP Sponsorship Report.