Holiday Season Means Big Bowls & Big Money

The Holidays are upon us and that means one thing for the sponsorship industry…College Football Bowl Season.

And, big business – 35 football games in a little over two weeks.

From the Bowl Championship Series to the smaller bowls played before the Christmas holiday, companies spend large amounts of their marketing and sponsorship dollars to gain exposure and attract new customers during the end of the college football season.

In the “good old days,” it was the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Holiday Bowl or Peach Bowl. Nowadays, it’s the Rose Bowl presented by Vizio, the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl and the Chick-Fil-A Bowl (notice Peach is no longer used). And we of course can’t forget the Little Caesars Bowl, the Gator Bowl or my personal favorite, the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl.

Where did the tradition go? In the famous words of Puff Daddy: “It’s all about the Benjamins!” Of course there are a few bowls (Heart of Dallas Bowl is one) that community and the charity component are more of an important factor than just dollars, but for most, we all know what the real focus is.

But are the companies that are sponsoring these games really getting the ROI on their sponsorships? Does a company really see an increase in sales because of the bowl sponsorship or an increase in exposure in a particular market?

And do fans who attend the games really care what brand is sponsoring the game or do they just care if their team wins? Do fans partake in the activations before the game or are they too focused on tailgating?

What emotions do fans feel after a game? If their team wins, are they more likely to buy the bowl sponsor’s product because they are ecstatic their team won or on the opposite side of things, will they ban a certain product from their household because they feel disgusted their team lost. Do fans associate a positive or negative feeling towards a brand because of the game’s outcome and what is that specific emotion?

With the amount of time and money companies spend on these bowl games, I hope they are measuring their performance, not only in sales and exposure, but how fans are feeling about the specific brand.

Let the Bowl Season Begin….and oh yeah, the holiday season too! Happy Holidays!



Social Media in Sponsorships:
What’s Old is New Again

The first time I heard the word “sponsorship,” the very first thing that came to mind was sports events that I had attended where banners hung with logos of local companies, a.k.a. “sponsors.” If you’re anything like me, that’s pretty much where my knowledge of sponsorship started and ended.

Nowadays, those of us who work in the general sphere of sales, marketing and marketing research, and touch our customers in one way or another, are familiar with how major companies use sponsorships of events to move customer relationships from the beginning of the sales pipeline straight through to closing a new relationship.

Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about how this old, tried-and-true method of marketing can leverage the much newer world of social media to create even deeper relationships with customers and prospects. There’s also mounting pressure from marketers to justify their huge sponsorship budgets to their CEOs and Boards. For example, Pepsi spends nearly $340 million dollars per year on “activating” sponsorships such as the NFL and endorsing athletes and stars such as Beyonce.

Who at Pepsi is on the hook to prove that the $340 million dollars was actually worth it, year in and year out and how do they prove it? This is big business with high stakes.

The challenge is that sponsorships are rarely the most efficient way to purchase eyeballs but are often the best way to generate sales.  So, given this dilemma, what’s a marketer to do? How do you bridge the gap between the power of sponsorship to generate sales and measure the power of social media within a sponsorship activation to generate awareness and consideration for your brand?

Other forms of marketing (TV, Digital, etc.) have industry standard metrics and dashboards galore, to prove that the spending was worth it. Here are 3 suggestions that can be deployed:

  1. De-prioritize raw tallying of media values such as TV and digital that surround a sponsorship
  2. De-prioritize measuring awareness and consideration of your brand via expensive, time-consuming surveys alone
  3. Treat your sponsorship like a political campaign with a finite beginning, middle and end (pre-, during and post-sponsorship) and increase prioritization of measuring all of this in real-time

Analyzing Sponsorship ROI

In 2012, more than $50 billion was spent on sponsorships.

To put that in perspective, only $4.7 billion was spent on all social media advertising.

So, sponsorship is 10x larger than the entire social media industry. Furthermore, sponsorship is the fastest growing form of traditional marketing. The reason for such strong growth is that sponsorship is a forerunner of the future of all marketing — highly-appealing content sitting at the center of a cross-screen, cross-channel marketing effort.

However, the dirty little secret of this rapidly growing $50 billion market is that no one knows what value all of that spending actually drives.

The difficulty in measuring sponsorship ROI has been aggregating disparate data in order to get a good picture of sponsorship effectiveness. Further, much of these data types have been time consuming to gather via surveys – until now.

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Sponsorship ROI 1.0

For many years, sponsorship ROI analysis entailed a tallying of media values generated through the various activations of a given sponsorship. For example, a sponsorship might involve placing a billboard-style sign on the outfield fence of a baseball stadium. This sign will appear on TV and other media for a certain number of times during the course of a sponsorship contract. Each of the impressions generated has a certain value (often expressed in terms of CPM’s). A sponsorship might include dozens of various assets that offer such media value and, thus, the problem with pure media value analysis is two-fold: 1) It over-values TV sponsorships since the impressions are most easily tracked; and 2) All impressions are NOT created equal. Sponsorships are rarely the most efficient way to purchase eyeballs but are often the best way to generate sales.

Sponsorship ROI 2.0

After years of conducting sponsorship ROI analysis for advertisers, sponsorship agencies came up with important, tangible insights beyond media values – these include measuring leads-generated and social interactions. Furthermore, opinion and consideration lift were also measured via surveying and polling. Thus, adding these value points to the mix proved relatively easy. Sponsorship ROI analysis 2.0 essentially involves a tallying of BOTH media values and lead values while also reporting (in a very unstandardized way) “intangible” metrics. This method is more accurate than sponsorship measurement 1.0, but it lacks discipline and is easily gamed.

Sponsorship ROI Measurement 3.0

SponsorHub has pioneered a new approach to sponsorship measurement that builds upon the 2.0 version – we utilize real data science to turn “intangibles” into very tangible, measurable metrics. An important technological innovation that makes this possible is “SSNT.” Our SSNT technology interprets to conversations taking place across Search, Social, News and Topical sites. This removes the need to do rudimentary and expensive surveys while also allowing brands to optimize sponsorship and paired media campaigns in real-time. These data can then be coupled with traditional tangible values to form a full ROI picture. What was once a dark art – sponsorship ROI analysis – has now truly become a science that can be applied easily to all programs.


How To Use Vine For Your Event Sponsorships

If you’re using Twitter for your events (and if you’re not, here’s why you should), this is something you need to familiarize yourself with, and quick.

Vine app

Launched in January 2013 and quickly acquired by Twitter, Vine is a new video sharing app that allows you to capture six-second long videos that continuously replay. This innovative new platform encourages creativity with the simplest of designs with only a single button.

The vine community is growing, and if you want to stay on top of your social media game, I strongly suggest that you utilize this new tool not only for your own personal use, but for your events, too.

The Sticky Factor:

  • Impressive UX. Unlike other video creation apps out there, a caveman and his grandmother can create a six-second long video almost instantly. Because it is integrated with Twitter, you can share it within seconds.
  • The simple design. There is only one button, an abstracted video recorder icon that allows you to start recording.
  • Richer than photos but short enough to deter distractions. If YouTube and Twitter had a baby, it’s name would be Vine. It limits length like Twitter, but can cut the small stuff and possess the virality of a YouTube video.
  • The power of visual story-telling. With other apps that are coming out such as Epipheo and Wick, there is no question that more companies are realizing the value that visual story-telling provides. It has the ability to touch people emotionally, mentality and aesthetically.

Now – how can you use Vine for your events?

  • Create snippets to bring your event to life on your Twitter. With Vine, you can showcase parts of your event that you really want to show-off.
  • Encourage your attendees to use Vine to share their experiences. Here’s a Vine from famous DJ  Steve Aoki tweeted during the Grammy’s. Makes you feel like you’re really there, doesn’t it?
  • Create a highlight reel to present to your potential sponsors. It’s only 6-seconds, so use it wisely!
  • Create teasers to build up anticipation as your events nears and share on your social media.
  • Use them to engage with fans using them with contests… get creative!
With the minimal amount of time and effort it takes to create a Vine, the possibilities are endless.
What are some ways you see Vine being used in the event space?


The College Bowls

As many of you already know, sponsoring events is a great form of marketing. Much visibility is gained for the company’s brand, in a way that is more than just plastering their logo everywhere. Companies are leveraging their sponsorship efforts by enhancing the overall experience at events for the attendees – thus, creating a more memorable and positive experience with the brand.

This football season, large, well-known companies are jumping to the occasion of sponsoring college football’s bowl games. There are a total of 34 bowl games and all have some sort of sponsorship like the very popular Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Companies are gaining huge exposure – can it get any bigger than your company logo in the middle of a football field?

What are even more impressive are how companies are making the games even more engaging for the fans. HD television maker VIZIO sponsored this year’s Rose Bowl and really got their fans involved with a “Fandemonium Sweepstakes.”  Numerous prizes were given out, like the VIZIO Co-Star that fills your TV with apps, full-screen web browsing, and allows you to stream entertainment. Of course, there was a grand prize which was a VIZIO Home Theater Prize Pack that consisted of an All-in-One PC, 70” HDTV, and a 5.1 Surround Sound Home Theater – a MSRP of $3,488.98!

The BCS National Championship game sponsored by Discover gave card members exclusive offers like premium tickets. They also gave passes to game day “Fan Zones” that featured interactive games, local talent, and promotional giveaways. And you know there are always tailgate parties at sporting events. Just for being a card holder, Discover card members had access to the pre-game Discover Tailgate party filled with food, beverages, entertainment, and appearances by ESPN talent – food, fun, and celebrities!

Watching the game is entertaining in itself, but having these tid-bits of extra’s does certainly add on to the fun factor. Prizes and giveaways are cool, but I really like the social gatherings because of the extra interaction.

What are some creative ways your brand interacts with your audience?