Sponsorships require creativity, because they are dynamic marketing opportunities, meaning they offer a wide variety of ways to touch potential customers. Setting measurable goals and outcomes to determine the success of sponsorships requires analyzing outcomes such as customer contacts and sales increases tied to the sponsorship.
Types of Sponsorships
Sponsorships can cover short-term events or long-term relationships. Event sponsorships might include a concert, 10K race or charity ball. Examples of group sponsorships include being the official product of a trade association or an official sponsor of a sports team. You can use before-and-after measurements to determine the success of an event sponsorship. Long-term sponsorships require ongoing monitoring to determine what outcomes are tied to your sponsorship.
Set Your Metrics
The first step in quantifying and measuring sponsorships is to determine what outcomes you want. This might include a short-term sales increase, attracting new customers, generating product sampling, increasing or maintaining your image, and generating increased product awareness. You might identify sales generated by a sponsorship by asking customers how they heard of you or by tracking where your website visitors come from during a sponsorship period.
Review Your Audience
When you undertake a sponsorship, people outside of your target audience might see your message. If you have more than one customer type, such as men and women, or young customers and seniors, you might sponsor events that appeal to only one customer demographic. Know who the exact target audience is for any sponsorship you choose so you can measure your results. For example, a breast cancer fundraiser will probably get you in front of more women than men. A youth sports league sponsorship will get you in front of parents, rather than seniors or college-age customers.
Each time someone sees or hears your message, you generate an impression. If Mary sees your logo in a magazine ad, on an event registration form, at the event website, in the participant goody bag she receives and on a sign at the event, you have generated five gross impressions and one net impression. Tracking your impressions can help you determine whether you generate more customer touches with a sponsorship than with a TV spot, website banner, direct mail piece or other marketing option.
Conduct an audit to determine how many impressions you generated from your sponsorship and who saw your message. Conduct surveys and focus groups to determine if your sponsorship is motivating customers to buy or if it is improving their impression of your company. Keep track of the number of samples you give away; if possible, offer coupons that let you track how many of the people who sampled your product ended up buying. Try to drive sponsorship participants to a specific page on your website to help you track results via website statistics. Review sales figures before, during and after a sponsorship and try to determine what portion of your sales came from your sponsorship.
Calculate Your Return on Investment
Calculate the total expense to sponsor the event or group sponsorship. This should include the sponsorship fee, cost of creating marketing materials, expense of shirts, banners, caps, free samples, your booth, and any other hard costs you have in conjunction with the event. Include the cost of any contract vendors you use during the promotion. For example, if you sponsor a trade association and receive free ads in its newsletter, include the cost to design the ads. Review the outcome metrics you set, such as impressions, sales, new customers and brand/awareness goals. Where possible, such as with sales, determine your cost to achieve these sales by subtracting your sponsorship expenses from the total sales generated by the event. For intangible benefits gained, such as impressions, new-customer acquisition, brand loyalty increases and product sampling/exposure, make your best assessment of the value of these gains.