There is a lot of conversation at the moment around ROI, ROO, reporting and sponsorship program health checks. But one thing that isn’t really discussed is “How does all this fit together in a logical way so that I can:
- strategically give the best service to my sponsors;
- build a process which allows me to do that; and
- know that I am doing it well?”
Sponsor happiness is the result of a successful cycle which includes 4 key elements (each of which have many facets). At the end of the day, however, the cycle of sponsor happiness starts with the vision of ROI and ends with the reception of ROI.
So how do you actually make that happen?
1. ROI Vision
Whilst it may not be the core reason for a brand to sponsor you, there aren’t many organisations out there who are willing to part with their money with the promise, or at least possibility, of getting that money returned to them through sales or effective exposure that they would otherwise be required to spend money on in other channels.
As a result, any partnership starts with ROI at top of mind and any good sponsorship proposal should outline the numbers, data and channels in which spells out how ROI will likely be best achieved through the partnership.
This should not be confused with talking about yourself and how many followers, attendees or email addresses you have. It is more than that – it’s about how you will potentially use that to deliver ROI. So, be specific.
After that is established, and engagement is secured, the benefits offered to the sponsor should, at a minimum, help achieve ROI. These are the tangible elements of sponsorship that can help you show that just by partnering with your organisation, they are at least getting value for money through the benefits they will receive.
To effectively do this, you must be prepared to, and able to:
- know your available assets;
- know the value of each asset; and
- be able to articulate and quantify them to your partners.
So it has been established that, as a general rule, the tangible elements of any partnership should logically be attributed to ROI. But what about all of those non-tangible elements of sponsorship? The things that are hard to measure and even harder to sell?
This is where being aware of a partner’s objectives, how they align to the benefits you are offering and then setting goals against those aligned benefits becomes vital. This is ROO.
Those rights holders that can understand the objectives early, align benefits to them, set goals against those benefits and then report back on them, including how they have tracked against those objectives, will create a much better relationship platform in which to work off with partners. Ultimately, this gives you the best chance of ROI and then retention.
3. Internal Process
Of course, being able to track ROI, align benefits to objectives and set goals to track ROO and then report back to your partners requires organisation, record keeping and systems to support you.
The only way to put yourself into a position to be able to achieve this, short of throwing more and more people at it (and who has the money or resources for that?), is to have internal process and approaches. Additionally, those need to be sponsored by your executive and designed to help you focus your time on delivering value to your partners through ROI and ROO reporting and delivery.
It all comes back to ROI
At the end of the day, if a sponsor is getting their money back through sales, or other value for money returns, they will be happy.
Real ROI can only be achieved by aligning all the elements you control and giving your sponsor the best opportunity possible to take advantage of any lead, pipeline or channel you can give to them. Delivering ROI at a level which makes your partners happy comes through the following elements being aligned:
- Desired ROI being understood by both parties and acknowledgement that it is achievable.
- Objectives being understood and benefits aligned and measured.
- ROO being reported back to sponsors so that it can be leveraged and attributed to any sales spikes.
- Internal systems being in place to enable this reporting, measurement and delivery to occur in a professional and timely manner.
4. But you said there were 4 elements!
The 4th element circles around this entire process. It starts from the first time you meet your partner and stops at all the stations in between to ensure success is achieved, delivered, monitored and measured.
This element is the Relationship.
Not achieving desired ROI, or falling short on ROO is not actually the end of the world. If you have a solid relationship, are working in partnership with your sponsor through the journey and have the ability to pivot and move through your internal process – then you can give yourself the best chance of creating a happy partner.
And whilst a happy sponsor (and their bosses) starts and ends with ROI, the heartbeat and key success metric is your relationship and how you can work together to complete the cycle of keeping your sponsors happy.
Mark Thompson // Managing Director
Mark specialises in sponsorship and diversified income strategies and has used this expertise across the Community, Semi-Professional and Professional Sports sectors. He combines hands-on experience in managing the expectations and obligations of sponsors with marketing and stakeholder engagement to deliver outstanding results.
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