Nothing. Measuring sponsorship is not your job.
The only organisation that can measure the returns against a sponsor’s objectives is the sponsor.
When a sponsor invests in sponsorship, they are investing in opportunity, not results. It is the sponsor’s leverage program that provides the results against their objectives. In effect, the sponsor isn’t measuring what they buy from you, but their leverage program. You are simply not best placed to measure the sponsor’s returns, against the sponsor’s objectives, from the sponsor’s benchmarks!
As a property, the only two things you can realistically report to a sponsor are:
- Whether you delivered all of the benefits you promised.
- Sheer mechanisms, like exposure, website clicks, etc and whether your targets for attendance, etc were met.
Neither of these tell a sponsor anything about whether they achieved their objectives. They may get a million impressions, but does their target market trust them more? You may have got 200k people at your event, but did they change their purchase intent?
Good sponsors now realise that their job with sponsorship is no different than their job with any other marketing media, and that is to change people’s perceptions and change their behaviours. The thinking is now ROO – return-on-objectives – and even if you wanted to, there is very little information you can provide that will help them measure against their own objectives.
You may be able to provide them with access to a few, mechanism-based metrics which will help them define the “funnel” of people that they then track – for instance, if the clicks off your website hit a special landing page on their site, they can track how many of those people make enquiries or become customers. You may also be able to add a couple of questions to your marketing research. In any case, make no mistake about it, sponsorship measurement must be driven by the sponsor.
One of the main things espoused as a requirement in year-end reports is a media equivalency-type figure. While that’s easy enough to provide, there is absolutely no correlation whatsoever between exposure or sponsorship awareness and changes in perceptions and behaviour. That was shown categorically in a major university study way back in 1991 and the results have been replicated over and over since then.
Sponsorship seekers should discuss measurement with the sponsor early in the relationship. This is not so you know what to measure, but to clarify what overall marketing objectives they are trying to achieve and how they will be measuring those objectives, as well as to put the measurement ball firmly in the sponsor’s court.
The questions would be:
“What perceptions and behaviours are you trying to change with this sponsorship?”
“How will you be measuring your results against those objectives? Have you developed targets off of benchmarks?”
As for your sponsors who may be reading this, please stop expecting your partners to measure for you. It’s simply unrealistic and, frankly, unfair.
Need more assistance?
For all you need to know about sponsorship sales and servicing, you may want to get a copy of The Sponsorship Seeker’s Toolkit 4th Edition.
If you could use some additional support, I provide sponsorship coaching, sponsorship consulting, sponsorship training, and if you need a fast, cost-effective start, the Jump Start program. If you’re interested in any of these services, please review the materials and drop me a line to discuss:
AU: +61 2 9559 6444
US: +1 612 326 5265
Updated and reposted. Originally posted 15 April 2010.
© Kim Skildum-Reid. All rights reserved. For republishing information see Blog and White Paper Reprints.