Sponsorship Measurement: Going Beyond Direct Financial Return 16th May, 2012

With such mixed opinions on whether the efficiency of a sponsorship campaign can truly be measured, this blog separates the more top line, easy-to-measure and less enlightening data from the true indicators of tangible sponsorship success.

Short-Sighted Sums

Q: Why do companies invest in sponsorship?

A: To alter brand perception and/or consumer buying behaviour.

So, why is it such common practice to measure the success of a sponsorship campaign by looking only at the positive or negative difference between sales directly linked to the campaign against the initial sponsorship investment? On the whole, sponsorship, along with any other marketing medium, is used with the overall aim of increasing revenue so it can be easy to only consider the revenue made from such sponsorship activities as promotions, merchandising or on-site sales. Albeit an indicator of success, direct sales are only a small part of a much bigger picture.

This also goes for generic figures e.g. logo impressions, attendance, the size of a newsletter distribution database etc. Whilst important, this is not actually indicating whether consumer behaviour or brand perceptions have been altered. In fact, the real proof lies within the more specific and objective data, providing a much more transparent account of how effective the campaign has actually been.

True Indicators

It is vital that all indicators are set with a strict focus on the short and long term marketing objectives of an organisation. Monetary factors could include new business along with average customer spend, whilst percentages would relate to brand credibility and customer loyalty. There are also additional figures that can act as key engagement indicators such as unique visitors to a dedicated web page or micro-site along with participation in customer promotions. It is important that this data is compared with previous figures and benchmarks as this will indicate change, rather than simply justifying the investment.

There are then the more individual factors such as relationships with key industry figures and institutions whose opinions are a highly influential driving force behind the economics of a particular market place. Whilst impossible to give such indicators a monetary value, these relationships are imperative when considering brand perception.

Be Proactive, Not Reactive

It is important to consider measurement early on, compiling a list of KPIs for each marketing objective before undertaking a sponsorship campaign. These indicators will provide a clear foundation for the sponsorship strategy as well as allow for streamlining throughout the course of the campaign in order to ensure that all activity is as beneficial and relevant to the marketing objectives as possible.

360˚ Analysis

Particularly for larger-scale sponsorships that affect all stakeholders throughout the sponsor’s organisation e.g. consumers, clients, employees etc., a KPI survey allows for feedback on such key criteria as brand profile, activation and overall partnership value.

When distributing the survey to a number of stakeholders with varying degrees of involvement with the campaign, a well-rounded evaluation can be pieced together, providing an overhead view of how the sponsorship is perceived from every angle possible.

This therefore allows for the sponsorship campaign to be executed at as close to maximum efficiency as possible, proving measurement to be an invaluable part of the sponsorship process.

The State of Measurement Today

From a rights holder’s perspective, measurement is unequivocally the key factor in creating strong case studies which in turn improves the likelihood of renewals along with additional sponsorship sales. However, due to a common perception that sponsorship is too much of a multi-faceted marketing medium to be measured, many sponsors have only a vague idea of how beneficial their partnerships actually are and have no real indication of where the room for improvement lies.

With sponsorship spend on the rise along with campaigns becoming increasingly integrated, transparency and ROI are proving to be ever more important in today’s challenging economic climate. This is where specialist sponsorship and marketing analysis agencies are able to demonstrate their true value, working with rights holders and sponsors to implement a structured approach to measurement, providing piece-of-mind in the knowledge that sponsorship is a truly effective marketing tool when executed correctly.

Sponsorship Competitions: Hilton Hotels & London Irish Case Study 8th April, 2011

We recently put together a great sponsorship campaign utilising social media, print and events for official sponsor of premiership rugby Hilton Hotels within the London Irish Rugby Club’s Big 5 events.  By acting as a sponsor of the events, Hilton Hotels were able to access the London Irish fan base through their more engaged channels: the London Irish Facebook page, the St. Patrick’s Party, and local paper Reading Post.

The aim of the Hilton campaign was to promote the Hilton Hotel Spring Sale.  Working with London Irish, we created three different promotions through three different channels:

  • 2 tickets for the Fan Fair rugby game plus one nights accommodation at Hilton Reading promoted on Facebook
  • 2 tickets for the Fan Fair rugby game plus one nights accommodation at Hilton Reading promoted at the popular St. Patrick’s Party 
  • 4 tickets for the Fan Fair rugby game plus lunch with the players promoted through Reading Post

Facebook & Sponsorship

Social media can act as a sponsorship platform to reach an engaged online audience.  We promoted the competition as a free offer for fans of the London Irish Facebook page enabling users to share with their friends.  By positioning the offering within the social context of sharing Facebook provides, it added value to the user experience rather than becoming a disruptive advertisement.  The 5,000+ fans of the Facebook page loved it, achieving the main objective of promoting the Hilton sale, but also driving traffic and generating more Facebook friends for the London Irish Facebook page.

London Irish St. Patrick’s Party

The popular St. Patrick’s Partyattracts a sell out crowd each year.  With live entertainment and experiential campaigns run throughout the stadium, we wanted to ensure that any additional promotions could cut through and make an impact.  To win the Hilton prize, fans were put on stage for a ‘dance-off’ with the band while the Spring Sale information was displayed on screens.  By engaging the crowd through an audience vote, we ensured that the competition was impactful with the lively audience.









Reader Offer with Reading Post

The local paper, Reading Post, providing a prime front page position to promote both the London Irish Big 5 games as well as the Hilton Hotels Spring Sale through a reader competition.  By working with this publication, we were able to compliment our earlier promotions of online and experiential by supplementing our reach to an older and local demographic.


 At Slingshot Sponsorship we aim to add value through partnerships ensuring that any sponsorship campaigns we create build brand engagement.  The combination of diverse channels and integrated sponsorship rights from both parties ensured a successful and engaging response from London Irish fans – creating value not only for the sponsor and the rights holder, but also for the fans.