Traditionally, sports marketers have relied on mid and end of season recap reports from their partners before they could optimize and adjust their strategies. Did our investments help us meet brand objectives? Did our partners deliver the value that we were expecting? And should we continue our current partnerships and assets, or explore new opportunities?
In the past, sponsors have had to wait weeks, if not months, to receive reporting from their team or league partners, meaning that by the time they knew how their sponsorships were performing, it was too late to make optimizations to improve performance.
On top of that, by 2025, the sponsorship industry is estimated to hit $86 billion. As the industry continues to rapidly evolve across media, markets and the globe, it is crucial that measuring and optimizing sponsorship ROI in a timely manner is at the forefront of strategic planning for brands and their agencies.
Sports marketers don't just cut a check for a couple million dollars anymore, without having the responsibility of understanding the value that it is creating for their brand - whether that be brand exposure, awareness, fan engagement or even bottom funnel metrics like sales.
But how do you understand the value that is generated for your brand across so many partners, assets and channels? And how can you ensure you are maximizing impact if you are waiting until a partnership ends to evaluate performance?
Read on to learn about the top 3 most common mistakes we see sports marketers make when it comes to sponsorship measurement, and how you can fix them.
MISTAKE #1: Wasting valuable time and money
Without direct access to insights that show you how your partners and assets are performing as sporting events occur, you’re most likely investing in partners or assets that aren’t delivering.
THE FIX: Prioritize timely, actionable data. With those, you can analyze performance across partners and assets throughout the partnership so so you can change course before it's too late.
Notice that your brand logo in your partner's branded content campaign was not getting the exposure you expected? Turn to your data to understand what’s happening and why. That way, you can work with your partners to make adjustments or even request a make-good to make up for lost value.
When you are able to view performance on your own watch, you’re also able to come to the table with your own data, enabling you to negotiate a more favorable deal at renewal time. Money saved, and even earned!
MISTAKE #2 - Relying solely on partner reports to understand performance.
How can you make the best of your sponsorship decisions if you don’t have 100% transparency and access to the data?
THE FIX: Take a more proactive role in sponsorship measurement. The best way to do this is by using your own sponsorship analytics platform so that you can more effectively work in unison with your partners and agencies. You can't make a decision if you don't have the data, and if you can't count it, it doesn't count.
Reporting from sports partners is great during an end of season check-in, but reporting is often very high level and delivered too late to make improvements. By analyzing performance in your own analytics platform, you can have more control of your sponsorships' performance across all partners, assets and channels in one place. And, you have the insights and data you need to ask for make-goods, negotiate better at renewal time and ultimately ensure your sponsorship investments are driving the most impact.
MISTAKE #3 - Waiting until the end of the season to collect reporting.
Your partners may give you mid and end of season reports that provide high level insights on a few metrics. Their ability to deliver performance recaps in a timely manner is often at the liberty of their measurement provider, and traditional measurement providers are slow, can only track exposure on social media or broadcast (not both), and they use outdated methodologies. Because of this, you can’t make the change on any of your sponsorship assets until the following season.
THE FIX: Make sure you are getting reports and insight in a timely manner, meaning right after events occur. With timely data and a complete sponsorship picture across all partners and channels, you can maximize performance across your complete portfolio using detailed, multi-channel analytics.
If you are still waiting for mid and end of the season reports from your partners to understand if campaigns were successful, know that there are solutions that can provide much quicker insights on your own terms. And, they are easy for brand marketers to use. Know what you can do to improve ROI and know that you’re not just saving time and money but also enabling better sponsorship spending opportunities in doing so.
Though these mistakes are common in the sports sponsorship world, it’s imperative to avoid them. Ensure you’re getting the most out of your sponsorships by making these powerful changes to your sponsorship measurement:
- If you’re waiting until the end of your season to review and determine the success of your sponsorships, investing in a measurement solution will allow you to much more quickly pivot low performing assets, ensuring that you’re getting the most exposure possible.
- Stop relying only on partners for performance data. Having real-time transparency into the data gives you more power to impact performance.
- Evaluate the performance of your sponsorships by using real time data, giving you the power to ensure high performing sponsorship ROI without time or money lost.
Hear straight from Dell Technologies and Stanley Black & Decker about how they are using their own data to increase sponsorship performance: 'How Modern Brands Are Maximizing Sponsorship ROI With Their Own Analytics', featuring Dell Technologies and Stanley Black & Decker.
Interested in hearing more? Schedule a demo with GumGum Sports to learn more about using your own data to analyze, strategize and optimize your sponsorship ROI.
Written by Maya Herm