In the 1990s and 2000s, sports marketing underwent massive changes. Rights holders and partners alike took big steps forward in understanding how to drive better results — whether that meant driving brand awareness, audience engagement or product sales through creative, multi-channel campaigns.
However, many teams, leagues and clubs are still measuring and reporting on sponsorship performance using the same measurement processes they used in the 1990s and early 2000s, despite the evolving nature of partnerships and the emergence of new technologies.
Brand partners expect more today. They want actionable, detailed performance insights so they can more effectively work with partners to maximize and justify their investments.
Fortunately, there are ways that rights holders can step up their partnership measurement processes so they don’t get left behind. Your sponsorship measurement process could use some help if:
- You are only measuring performance mid-season and end-of-season.
- You’re not sharing weekly or per-game performance highlights with partners
- Your activations, sales and social media teams have to go through one person or department to get insights
- You’re using multiple analytics vendors to track brand exposure and media value on social media, broadcast and in-venues.
Let’s take these one by one to see how rights holders can modernize their sponsorship measurement processes.
You’re Only Measuring Performance at Mid and End-of-Season
If your measurement vendor can only deliver performance data at the midpoint of a season — let alone at the end of a season — you’re seeing it too late. This data delivery delay then trickles down to your own brand partners. Such infrequent reporting fails to provide brands with sufficient campaign insights.
Think of it from the brand’s perspective. Sports marketers need to justify partnership spend. When you only have two data points for an asset’s performance, it’s hard for that marketer to justify the investment to their bosses.
Rights holders and their partners need robust, near real-time reporting. That data will allow brands to see whether an asset can meet brand expectations, and the brand’s marketing team can then make a stronger case for the investment. Arm your sales teams with near-real time data when they go to market.
You’re Not Sharing Weekly or Per-Game Performance Highlights with Partners
Rights holders need to track performance at least weekly — if not for each game — so they can help their brand partners make informed, dynamic decisions about sponsorship investments.
Here’s a good example of why: Stanley Black & Decker invests heavily in its sponsorship campaigns. So, when the brand’s team realized that the visibility of a key asset — a DEWALT® logo on a Static Board behind the goal in a Premier League stadium — was being obscured for TV audiences, they were quickly able to act and get the logo back into the field of view. That saved Stanley Black & Decker more than $1 million in sponsor media value that would have been lost.
Near-real time sponsorship analytics let rights holders see how well each asset is performing. They can then share that information with their internal teams, who can optimize campaign performance quickly and improve future campaigns, allowing them to avoid makegoods altogether.
For a textbook example of how this can save rights holders and partners money, have a look at how the Texas Rangers were able to grow their sponsorship deals during the pandemic — even with a half-empty stadium.
Your Activations, Sales and Social Media Team Don’t Have Easy Access to Performance Data
Insights are only valuable to the people who can see them. That’s why each of a rights holders’ teams need access to sponsorship performance data:
- Activations teams need the ability to monitor partners and ensure that the brands they work with are hitting their goals and KPIs throughout the season.
- When armed with the right data that they can easily access on their own time, partnership sales teams can use data in their sales pitches to sell more effectively.
- Sponsorship analytics platforms can provide detailed performance insights that help social media teams strategize and optimize their branded content campaigns.
This shared access creates mutual reinforcement of each team’s objectives. With real-time performance data down to the individual social media post, for example, social media teams can help partnership activations and sales teams drive more value for partners to increase their likelihood of renewing.
You’re Tracking Exposure and Media Value Using Multiple Analytics Vendors
When rights holders get their partners’ exposure numbers and media value figures from a variety of vendors and/or platforms, they have two primary problems:
- Inaccurate data can skew reporting.
- Workflows become inefficient and cumbersome.
A modern sponsorship analytics platform should let rights holders see all of their data in one place, in a standardized format, that they can pull quickly into a report.
By tracking media value equivalency, sports marketers can make apples-to-apples comparisons of cross-channel performance. They can tell brand partners how much value a digital sign at a baseball stadium creates, for example, versus a 30-second ad during that game’s broadcast.
Further, standardized data in one dashboard lets marketers benchmark across all properties.
How to Measure a Modern Sponsorship Campaign
Our industry has learned a great deal about sports marketing in the past 20 years. The biggest lesson? It’s time for many marketers to step up their sponsorship measurement game.
- Getting near-real time data about each asset’s performance.
- Empowering people across the organization to use that data to support and sell to brand partners.
- Ensuring that data reflects media equivalent value so sponsorship teams can measure their investments against every other marketing channel.
This is why we built the Relo Metrics platform. It gives rights holders a 360-degree view of each asset’s performance so they can support their partners and go to market with absolute confidence in the value they can create for brands.
To learn more, have a look at our Effective Sponsorships that Renew guide for rights holders.