As Jef I. Richards rightly said ‘Creative with Strategy is called advertising’. In the same way, one should remember that Sponsorship without a clear strategy and fixed goal bears no value. Most companies would probably spend a billion per annum on advertising but a fraction of it on Sponsorship primarily because of the difficulty in evaluating the effectiveness of the latter.
Your company wants to sponsor an upcoming event (internal or external), and they want to see a tangible ROI. What do you do? Where do you start with the calculation of the metrics? Read on to see what the Industry Experts have been suggesting!
Understand the basics:
Sponsorship is perhaps one of the most emotional forms of communication that allow you to tap into the passion bracket of your audiences. Attendees by default are able to connect themselves to the Event in question. Different groups of audiences have a different level of expectations. For example, some attendees want pure entertainment, whereas others hope to grow their network and connect with like-minded people. Some specifically come for the buyer-seller meets at corporate events or diversity business events for instance, whereas others might simply attend an event for self-improvement. Now that you know your target audience and the type of event, you can decide how and where to highlight your product.
What is the objective behind the sponsorship in question? Is it for sales, lead capture, driving retail traffic, the launch of new products or simply increasing brand loyalty? Accordingly, your ROI will be sales calls, increased social media followers, introduction to key people in the audience, etc.
Prior to sponsoring an event:
Check if there is a media plan or strategy in place that will help you reach out to your target audience by displaying your brand logo or web URL in the Event advertisements, or on their Website, promotional Videos, etc. The media or marketing team should make sure to show ‘you’ to the attendees, be it through television, print media, social media, Press Releases, newsletters or websites. This pre-planning phase is extremely important.
Make sure to discuss and decide:
with the event organizers where and how your Logo/product would be featured. This is crucial. Remember when 1000 people view your logo, it means your logo got 1000 impressions and is almost a media equivalent to an advertisement. For instance, if your company makes bottled water, you could sponsor your product for a cycling tour, it fits perfectly! You have picked an event that draws passionate attendees who would eventually carry your product back home and enjoy it like a trophy.
Don’t just slap your logo on the event!:
When you invest, make sure it is done more meaningfully. Instead of having a banner somewhere high up to talk about your company, try and use different tactics that will actually entice people. You could sponsor a celebrity speaker, give discounts to participants, introduce your product (which say is related to cutlery or dining) at one of the luncheons, give freebies having your Brand name/logo to winners during Intra event quizzes and so on.
Is it safe to ask for testimonials:
from previous Sponsors? Yes, absolutely! There is no harm to go through a couple of case studies (related or unrelated to your vertical, after all, each business is different) to figure out the extent to which other clients were able to establish a connection with their targeted audience.
Sum it up with numbers:
Recall, we were actually discussing 1000 impressions per 1000 views a while ago. Well, now that you have established the important things such as attendee demographics, audience expectations, your own objectives, media plan and strategy all in place, you should spend time on some numbers as well.
I was reading an expert opinion about the ‘sales touch’ and applying the same in event sponsorship as well. According to the rule of thumb, it takes around 7-13 sales touches to close or qualify a sales lead. A sales touch could be anything from a phone call/viewing an ad/email/newsletter anything that interacts with your ‘could be’ customer.
If you happen to touch 500 people 4 times instead of reaching 2000 people once with say a viewable ad (remember that both the times the no. of impressions remain the same), the effectiveness of the former is much more. The reason being, it is able to create a bigger impact due to the higher frequency. Try to take advantage of this and create interesting ways of interacting with the event attendees.
Finally, do not skip social media:
Everyone agrees that sponsorship is all about making that ‘click’ with your audience. Today social media is one of the most effective ways of sharing one’s experience. Have a social media team who would be able to leverage this sharing platform and connect more proficiently with your potential customers.
It is difficult to locate a tool that helps you calculate your sponsorship ROI and for event promoters who promise you ‘hot leads’ as the ROI, stay cautious. Phone calls will come in gradually. Having said so, one of the best ways to measure sponsorship success is by conducting surveys that capture audience emotions, how they are eventually able to connect with the brand and of course their buying intentions.
Some experts also feel that it is okay to analyze response data over a certain period of time, considering a sponsorship to be a ‘longer- time investment’. Let us know what you feel if you have ever considered yourself as a sponsor or otherwise!