Research a priority in assessing sponsorship

Research is becoming an increasingly important tool to prove the value of sponsorship in an economic environment where investment is coming under greater scrutiny, according to sponsorship professionals.

National Portrait Gallery
National Portrait Gallery

In a panel discussion about demonstrating sponsorship’s worth at the Marketing Week Sponsorship Summit today (24 September), both marketers and rights holders agreed that there is a greater need to measure effectiveness at present.

Patrick Wendt, marketing manager at Toyota Racing F1, said that research is increasingly being discussed in negotiations with existing partners, while the sport’s top teams are currently discussing what research is necessary collectively for the first time.

Naomi Conway, head of development at the National Portrait Gallery, added that there was a greater need to provide “hard and fast evidence” and recently saw an arts sponsorship contract with a Return on Investment clause written in, the first she had seen in the arts.

Tanya Veingard, head of sponsorship at Aviva UK, which sponsors UK Athletics, said that investment in necessary to evaluate the success of a sponsorship even in a recessionary environment, adding cutting research budgets is a “dangerous thing to do”.

In a separate session Coca-Cola marketer Jonatahn Ford said that sponsorship was not about satisfying the “bean counters” with Return on Investment (ROI) calculations but about engagement.

European sponsorship manager Ford said that he did not believe in return on investment calculations for sponsorships.

“Measurement is fundamentally flawed”, he said, adding that although there is a need to measure certain things sponsorship is about engagement with customers and putting legacies in place through long-term associations, using its long-standing partnership with the Olympic Games as an example.

“It is not a matter that you can’t measure effectiveness, but you can’t sum that together in one ROI number that the bean counters ask for,” he said.

Coca Cola recently unveiled details of a global marketing campaign to support its sponsorship of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

The integrated activity is “inspired by the joyous dance celebrations” familiar to Africa.

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