TicketManager | “Evolution of Sponsorship” Study Finds Anything But

The World Federation of Advertisers, in association with sponsorship consultancy Lumency, last week released a report titled “The Evolution of Sponsorship,” which includes findings from a survey of multinational brand sponsors.

The results are enlightening, even if in many cases they are disheartening.

Having originated and conducted a similar industry survey annually between 2000 and 2017, I am disappointed—if not surprised—at how little has changed in the past six years—and even the last 23—regarding brands’ lack of real insight into their sponsorship programs despite so many advances in tech, data analytics and other tools that can be used to improve everything from prospect assessment and valuation to activation and measurement.

Here are a few of the key findings from the survey. I’ll dig deeper into additional elements of the WFA report in an upcoming post.

  • Less than half of sponsors said they were somewhat or very confident that “most of the investments in (their) sponsorship portfolio are addressing the ‘right audience’ with the ‘right assets’ at the ‘right spend’.” Only five percent were very confident, while 42 percent were somewhat confident. An additional one-third of respondents said they were “neutral” on the subject.
  • In results that were extremely similar to the final IEG sponsorship decision-makers survey six year ago, sponsors spent an average of one percent of their sponsorship budgets on measuring return from their partnerships, with 25 percent reporting they spend nothing on performance evaluation. On the bright side, at least the latter figure is fewer than the 31 percent that reported spending zero dollars on measurement in 2017.
  • Not surprisingly, sponsors reported that measuring ROI is their most significant challenge.
  • When asked “How does your organization measure its sponsorships’ impact on commercial and brand objectives?” one-third of respondents could not answer the question, stating they did “not have a clear measurement framework in place.” As for the reason they have no framework, 42 percent of that group said the reason was “cost of measurement” while the same percentage cited “lack of global view on total investment in sponsorship” and another 37 percent said they “don’t have a methodology.”
  • A final illustration of the lack of knowledge brands have regarding their sponsorships was the shocking 43 percent of marketers who said they do not know or are not tracking how much they spend on activation.

The complete WFA report is available for download here.