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:
- De-prioritize raw tallying of media values such as TV and digital that surround a sponsorship
- De-prioritize measuring awareness and consideration of your brand via expensive, time-consuming surveys alone
- 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