Data measurement. We talk about it so much that it almost registers as a trending topic. And yet, despite all of our chatter, the truth is that sponsorship initiatives often go largely if not completely unmeasured, and, when we do attempt to quantify success, we often go about it wrong.
There are three gaps that undermine most attempts to measure sponsorships: 1) The gap between the stated intention and the resources invested to measure the sponsorship’s effectiveness; 2) The gap between a sponsor’s expectations and what the property offers and, finally; 3) The gap between the sponsor’s satisfaction and the property’s perception of that level of satisfaction.
Intention vs. resources
The latest Canada Sponsorship Landscape Study indicated a marked decrease in the amount of sponsorship budgets allotted to measurement, which went from 3% to 1% in the last year.
Expectations vs. the offer
In such a context, it’s worth mentioning that, according to the same study, the three services that properties can offer—and which provide the most value for brands—are all related to measurement. This includes aid in measuring the performance of the sponsorship (53%), post-event summaries (52%) and research conducted with the public (44%). And yet 65% of properties don’t fulfill sponsors’ expectations when it comes to offering help to measure the return on their investment (IEG 2015).
Satisfaction vs. perception
There is also a huge gap between how satisfied a property believes a sponsor to be with the partnership and the sponsor’s actual satisfaction. In fact, properties estimate the satisfaction rate of their partners at 74% when it comes to their return on investment. The brands themselves claim to have a 38.5% rate of satisfaction.
These gaps reveal how difficult it is for the industry to take performance measurement seriously, even though it’s been a hot topic for years now.
It’s important to note that both partners share in the responsibility of data measurement, and yet so few address the question explicitly. In addition to establishing their respective objectives and inquiring about satisfaction levels when it comes to how the sponsorship is performing, it’s important for both players to devise a measurement plan together. Though it’s primarily incumbent upon the sponsor to measure data, the property can play the role of facilitator, especially when it comes to an understanding of its own fan base. It is surprising to see that several sponsored organizations are still lacking even the most rudimentary data in that regard. In 2016, companies see this as a serious shortcoming.
We also have to stop measuring the buzz generated by sponsorships and focus on the concrete benefits to brands. Did the brand image improve? Were more products sold? Did employee engagement rise or did we recruit more members? Unfortunately, we have very little industry data to answer these very real questions.
Lastly, to measure data, you don’t necessarily need a hefty budget. It is very feasible to create internal measurement programs that won’t dramatically reduce the amounts allotted to securing rights or activations. Inversely, neglecting data measurement could lead to a decrease in future budgets because of the inability to demonstrate the positive benefits of the sponsorship for the company.