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Need more approaches to measure response

November 2, 2012

Ian Foley


By Ian Foley

Sponsorship is a $45 billion global market, approximately 50 percent of the U.S.-based television ad market and ten times larger than the online video market, and yet only 10 percent of this market is measured.

John Wanamaker famously stated, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half,” which is deeply disturbing, but is still streets ahead of sponsorship.

In the event
Luxury brands use sponsorship of premium events to help develop a lifestyle experience in the minds of their customers.

Some brands use iconic events, for example, the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, while some brands are turning to causes to build brand value, such as Hublot’s fundraising events for UNICEF and the Turtle Ridge Foundation.

Luxury companies benefit from television or print coverage and help extend the brand, but is this enough? Can the chief marketing officer at these brands say that the halo effect is sufficient return on investment as he sits in front of the 2013 budget committee?

Measurement is just as important to the event organizers as it is to the brand sponsors.

Event organizers need to convince a sponsor that their event delivers a return on the brand’s objectives, whether it is brand lift or additional sales.

Yet, according to research firm IEG, current metrics such as number of event attendees maybe easy to measure, but are not insightful.

Right packaging
A study by IEG noted that 60 percent of brands were not satisfied with event sponsorship measurement and yet, 86 percent of brand sponsors said the need for validated results had increased.

Part of this might be changing the make-up of sponsorship packages when they are first negotiated – IEG reported that 44 percent of sponsors had only 1 percent of the budget allocated to measuring return. However, this is certainly not the complete picture.

In the other markets, a healthy industry has grown up around measurement to help marketers evaluate ad effectiveness – for example, TV with Nielsen studies, digital advertising with comScore reports and Vizu studies, and now some interesting approaches in social media with crowd-sourced research.

Arguably, with the possible exception of IEG and sponsorshipscience, the event sponsorship market has too few vendors offering measurement solutions that speak to the needs of brands.

TO CREATE a vibrant and healthy market, we need to see more approaches to measure sponsorship that have the same rigor as what exists in other advertising mediums.

Only then can the CMO of a brand understand, and then justify internally, the value of sponsorship as a primary category for marketing budgets.

Ian Foley is an advertising and digital media executive who lives in Portola Valley, CA. Reach him at