SPORTS MARKETING

Driving Business Through Sport Part 2
ISBN: 978-1-905685-07-3
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Sponsorship Strategy & Research

Executive Summary

The role of research in sports marketing has developed hugely in the past ten years. No longer do students with stop watches time the exposure of on-screen logos. Now computerised systems not only handle the laborious task, but they also analyse size, position and impact of the logo to give an accurate assessment of its value.

The Difficulty in Measuring Sponsorship Effectiveness

Similarly, as the industry has matured, major sponsors spend a great deal more time and money to ensure that they are considering the best possible property to meet their objectives. Outsiders have often challenged the sponsorship industry to produce proof that the discipline works. The industry has traditionally retorted that it is impossible to create a generic measurement tool for two reasons. First, very few sponsorships are the same. The objectives could be completely different and the programmes might impact different sized audiences, through different sports via different media in very different ways. Second, sponsorship has traditionally been seen a long-term, strategic tool. As such, it is very difficult to isolate its impact when, for example, an advertising or sales promotion campaign is running concurrently.

Strategy

The level of research now required to run a successful sponsorship programme from start to finish is substantial. Not only does research provide answers to key questions, it also has a major influence on strategy and throughout the report, the impact of data on decision activation strategy is discussed, as is Redmandarin’s ‘Journey to Purchase’ model which shows how sponsorship is used to drive consumer behaviour.

A key issue for all sponsors is to assess the potential of a property. Specifically, the report shows how new tools have been developed to analyse the demographic reach, the image, the costs and opportunities available to sponsors. Such data is now more accurate and more readily available from data banks, meaning that decision making is speeded up and clients can have confidence in their decision making.

The Role of Rights Holders

In studying the rights holder’s presentation for the Volvo Ocean Race 2008/09, the report looks at the process from another angle. This demonstrates how a broad range of research is used to create an accurate commercial picture of a property. The reader will understand the value of TV, press, radio, mobile and internet exposure. He or she will see how many live spectators attend the race and will be presented with a detailed socio-demographic audience profile and analysis of the perceived brand image attributes of the race. Through presenting such a comprehensive research package, potential stakeholders can assess both the relevance and value of their involvement.

Meeting Objectives

The final, key part of sponsorship research is to understand its impact and whether it has achieved the objectives set.
The report demonstrates how media evaluation, and in particular television evaluation, has developed to offer very sophisticated reporting.

Valuing media exposure is, of course, no guarantee of a successful sponsorship campaign. Although important tools for understanding the performance of the activation strategy, media evaluation does not measure any metrics that relate to attitudes or behaviour in the target audience.

Ultimately, therefore, there are two key questions that sponsors need answers to; Did the sponsorship have the desired impact on the target audience, and was it cost effective?
In the analysis of sponsorship tracking from Ipsos and return on investment from Sports Marketing Surveys, it can be shown that very detailed, accurate reporting is now available.

The research models have been developed to bring together a combination of data sources to provide answers to those questions. However, just as no two sponsorships are ever the same, similarly no two research programmes are. A broad menu of research options is available that can be tailored to meet individual requirements. Those who are still calling for a generic sponsorship research tool really need to spend a little time researching the reason why this is impossible.

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