Sponsorships are business relationships, and like personal relationships, many of them end in failure. One of the most frequently cited reasons for sponsorship failure is a lack of clearly defined objectives. In other words, if a sponsor does not have a well defined outcome for a sponsorship it would not be surprising for it to flounder. Related to the problem of lack of objectives is the setting unrealistic outcomes tied to sponsorship. Unlike sales promotions that typically have a call to action, sponsorships may be more beneficial in creating impact in terms of greater brand awareness or defining a brand’s personality. These outcomes move a consumer closer to buying, but it is does not make the cash register ring today. Thus, it is unrealistic to apply return on investment measures to a marketing activity that does not have an action-inducing component.
The view being advocated is not to let sponsors off the hook for the dollars they spend. Accountability is needed greatly today to insure marketing efforts contribute to building strong brands. Sponsorship selection must include clearly stated objectives as to the intended gains in brand relevance among a target market. The length of the selling cycle varies greatly among products, so a “buy now” message that works for soft drinks does not work for more expensive, complex products. But, marketers of such products can reap the benefits of sponsorship. The key is to define the outcomes that are to be experienced from their investments as well as measure whether objectives are achieved.
Marketing Daily – “Return on Objective Key in Sports Partnerships”