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Target Focuses Sponsorship Spend


, May 15, 2015

CHICAGO: Target, the retailer, is using a consistent formula to inform its sponsorship expenditure – allocating 35% of its outlay to a property, another 55% to activation and 10% to measurement.

Dan Griffis, the company's vp/experiential marketing and alliances, discussed this subject while speaking at IEG's Sponsorship 2015 event in Chicago.

"We've created a policy at target now where for every dollar we spend on a property or in sports or entertainment, I'm going to spend 35 cents of that on the property itself," he said. (For more, including why "warm" and "cool" content is crucial for the brand, read Warc's exclusive report: Target's rules for successful sponsorship.)

Building on that, he continued, "I'm spending 55 cents on the activation of that property and ten cents on measuring whether I was successful or not.

"And we're not going to deviate from that plan. And we've seen success with that so far, and that's what we're going to do going forward."

The measurement piece, in particular, is a focus for Target as it aims to prove the return on investment from its sponsorship efforts.

"For years and years, impressions have been the backbone of this entire industry. And the reality is: impressions are passive by definition and they only tell me the raw size of my audience. That's it," said Griffis.

"They don't tell me anything about engagement. And that's where we need to evolve and get past that. So that's what we're doing. And measurement also comes down to being disciplined in how you spend your money."

An essential component of measurement is determining the gauges of success before a program begins, according to Griffis.

"If you're doing anything and you're not thinking about outcomes before you start, it's a waste of time. You have to be rigorous in terms of your approach and how you're going to measure success," he asserted.

But expertise in this area requires an equal mix of "art and science" – that is, a "happy medium" between hard figures and more intangible factors.

"I'm a firm believer that what you measure improves and what you don't degrades. I'm also a firm believer if all you do is measure numbers, you rarely create breakthroughs: you just create better numbers," said Griffis.