Are you really getting as much value from your sponsorship activity as you were lead to believe when you entered into the agreement? Have you ever tried to measure the gains, results, or revenue generated from a sponsorship opportunity?
It’s tough, isn’t it? It’s difficult because there were no metrics or measurement tools built into the sponsorship, and likely no real activation point with which to leverage the value of that sponsorship into more sales opportunities. Sounds like gobbledegook, but there’s a fundamental truth buried in all that jargon: You can’t elicit or assess value if you don’t have a way to measure the return, and you can’t take advantage of visibility unless you find a way to make it turn into action by the viewer.
Let’s take the activation portion first.
Creating activation for a sponsorship, be it a meeting, a sporting event, a team, a radio program or other media opportunity is not easy, and it’s often not just a one-step process. Companies who’ve had success with sponsorship have found ways to really turn that awareness generated by this type of activity into action on the part of the viewer.
Modern technology can help. The QR code is one way, the photo submission contest is another, with cell phone cameras being nearly ubiquitous in the US. The idea is to give event attendees or viewers a reason not only to interact with your brand, but to extend that interaction beyond the context within which it started to outside the venue, to incorporate it into their daily activities. Technology helps you give viewers a channel through which to interact with the brand that is new and fun and engaging, and if you do it correctly, they will become evangelists for your brand and pass their experience along to the others in their personal network, extending your reach even further.
Now with modern technology, viewers have a method to engage, but you still have to provide a motive. They’ve got to WANT to interact with your brand, hopefully in a positive way. Motivating emotions for sponsorships tend to be the need for individuality (only people who attended in person get this shirt), aspiration to be an early adopter (be the first on your block to have one), greed (something for nothing), and the need for attention (winner gets his picture on our product box) these can take many forms in terms of the offer and the audience.
Clearly, the brand/venue/activity/audience match-up is critical to making the most of your sponsorship, always has been, and technology hasn’t changed that much. Making smart selections based on your brand character, and your goals for the sponsorship are still critical exercises. But the need to engage, not just raise visibility for a short time, is higher than ever as message clutter has risen and attention spans have shortened.
Now, on to measurement. Not coincidentally, engagement and measurement go hand in hand. The more actively engaged your audience is with your sponsorship activity, the more easily measured it is. Engagement involves action, and actions can be recorded, measured and assessed. If you put up a banner in a sporting arena as part of a sponsorship, that doesn’t inspire much engagement. But if you put that banner at eye-level in front of the entrance to a famous venue gate, and ask people to take a picture in front of the gate and send them in to your website for a prize, now you have engagement. The more photos you receive, and the wackier they are, the higher the engagement and the more value you get from the sponsorship.
More sophisticated measurements can be taken if you have the need and the use for the data. There is tracking technology, built into ticket stubs, bracelets, and the like that can track attendee movement and dwell within a venue passively, over time. The readouts in aggregate can show you roughly how much exposure your physical representations got that day or that week, and give you a target number to benchmark against for future events in that venue. Connect the two methods, and you set up a sort of Where’s Waldo scenario that can lead to an avalanche of engagement, at least within the venue, for more bang for your buck.
However you choose to do it, the basics are the same: Give them a reason and a way to interact with your brand in a positive way, and then measure the activity and benchmark it against the cost and the value of the sponsorship to assess ROI and renewal decisions. With a little extra effort, you can reap huge benefits from your sponsorship opportunity.