Sponsee Research that Really Benefits the Sponsors

Hot Question“Can you name any of the sponsors of this event?”

If that question is never asked again, our industry would be better for it. It’s nothing but a leading memory test that has nothing to do with the changes in perceptions and behaviours that a sponsor needs to see. And yet, many sponsorship seekers – and, let’s face it, sponsors – let this masquerade as sponsorship measurement.

Before another sponsee constructs some lame-arse questionnaire that benefits no one, everyone involved needs to understand the kind of information that will really benefit a sponsor.

What a sponsee can’t do

Sponsees can’t measure sponsorship results for the sponsor. The objectives are the sponsor’s, the benchmarks are the sponsor’s, and the experts that can measure against those benchmarks, in ways the company has already determined are valid, work for the sponsor. Most of all, however, sponsor results are generated by the leverage plan a sponsor implements, so you’re not measuring the sponsorship, you’re measuring the leverage.

So, with that firmly in mind, let’s put measurement to the side. (And if you need a primer on sponsorship measurement, see Sponsorship Measurement Basics in About 10 Minutes on the Power Sponsorship YouTube Channel.)

What a sponsee can do

Where sponsee-generated research does work is when it helps a sponsor understand what is meaningful to the fans, so that sponsor can be more effective at leverage.

Sponsorship is now win-win-win, with the third win going to the target markets. Much of that is accomplished by the sponsor adding value to the fans’ experience with whatever it is that they sponsor. The thing is, a sponsor can’t add meaningful value if they don’t understand what is important to those fans.

The Corporate Sponsorship ToolkitWhen conducting audience research, the four best questions a sponsee can ask are:

  • What are the three main reasons you decided to attend/donate/join?
  • What are the three best things about the experience?
  • What are the three worst things about the experience?
  • If you were to describe this experience in three words, what would they be?

The answers to these questions will give astute sponsors insight into how they can add that value – amplifying the best stuff and ameliorating the worst about the experience – as well as how they can align with the passions of the fans.

The answers will help sponsees feed great leverage ideas to their less astute sponsors, opening their eyes to the real marketing potential of the investment. The answers will also help sponsees develop and incorporate leverage ideas for new sponsorship proposals.

That’s it: Four little questions that will prove more valuable than any question you could ever ask about sponsor awareness. Don’t believe me? Keep asking the lame questions and just add these to the survey and then you’ll see for yourself where the real value is.

If you want a thorough leverage process and lots of great, best-practice leverage case studies, you may want to get your hands on a copy of The Corporate Sponsorship Toolkit.

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