Proving Value Is Becoming More Important Each Year
Sat, 06/01/2013 - 11:59 — Dawn Turner
Given it is offseason for most leagues I thought it would be good to touch on the importance of proactively including metrics into sponsorship programs.
Inevitably brand marketers at some point will be asked questions by their finance team, including, “Remind me, why are we doing this? Is it working? How do you know? Can you prove it?” In order to avoid budget cuts, brand marketers are expected to answer these questions in an objective manner that proves how the dollars they are spending are helping the company achieve specific goals and objectives.
Properties on the other hand may be subject to a discontinuation of or a lesser level of sponsorship if the brand marketers are unable to share real data that helps build a case that answers these questions. It is because of this that it is in the best interest of properties to do whatever they can to help their brand contacts put the pieces in place to build the foundation of this ever-important case.
Of course the concept of proving value is easier for some brands than others. Those that sell products at retail or regionally can easily point to specific in-store activations or in-game promotions that lead directly to consumer sales figures. These are fantastic metrics that showcase brand and partnership resonance within certain markets, but they likely also need other metrics to build a successful case.
For other brands that are more aspirational in nature it may be more difficult to prove specific drivers of revenue. These brands typically look at things through a long-term lens and take a variety of factors into consideration such as brand trackers and other research that tracks future intent to purchase, etc. Properties can also do their part to help these brands showcase their success on local/national broadcasts, social media, online, etc.
Even though all of these metrics impact the brand and help build the larger case, they are not the primary reason brands enter into sponsorships. Therefore it is also important that properties work with brands to better understand their objectives and put other metrics/programs into place that showcase how loyal fans increase their purchase or affinity with sponsors. In my opinion that even though these may fall into a more subjective category, they are just as important for building out the true marketing case for why a brand should enter into or continue a partnership.
Other considerations properties can offer to brands are how they can better work with other sponsors to build stronger programs and loyalty with a property and the various brands, and how working with them can help the remainder of the brand’s sponsorship portfolio. I have heard it said that strength comes in numbers, and I don’t think the world of sponsorship is exempt. Anytime a brand can tell a larger story, it creates a deeper impact with fans, properties and internal constituents (including the finance team!).
I have found that this philosophy varies greatly by property, and sometimes brands are not sure what they want or need. Because of this my suggestion is for properties to be proactive and reach out to their brand contacts and initiate this discussion. Everyone, indiscriminate of type of brand is under the gun to show value and fight for budgets. Given this emphasis on budgets (and presumably budget cuts), time is of the essence!