In “The State of Sponsorship”, a recent report online, Adam Mitchell, CEO @ SponsorPulse, brought some interesting trends and observations about the sponsorship industry to light, not least the perceived good health of the sector from within, and solid public recognition that sponsorship has positive effects on brands.
Digging a little deeper into the report, industry respondents are suggesting that responsibility for investment in measurement is swinging away from brands towards the assets themselves. This means that assets will be able to choose how they measure and evaluate, and opt for credible, trusted solutions that stand up to comparison and analysis.
This is a welcome development. To be able to take ownership of measurement and evaluation means assets can develop fine-grained, detailed analyses to support their claims of influence and effect. An asset can take ownership of its metrics and demonstrate the consistency and reliability of its data collection and interpretation, building a volume of evidence that translates into increased value to sponsors. Even "unsuccessful" events can contribute to the asset's value, as every engagement can now be quantified and analysed to yield incremental improvements and refinements.
The passive sampling of wifi connection requests at events, emanating in large part from mobile phones and devices, can be anonymised, encrypted, and processed into information about the movement headings and speeds, footfalls, and dwell times of individual devices (and the people attached to them!) without compromising privacy or security.
Analysed in the right way, this information can retrospectively reveal significant relationships between people and places over time, helping to build a complete quantitative picture of the effects of, for example, a celebrity brand activation at a sporting venue or a sampling event at an exhibition. Extend the analysis to this information in real time, and you can open the door to powerful behavioural marketing techniques at live events, mirroring how internet platforms serve relevant marketing to their users.
This information needs to be shared with stakeholders too, as it tells a lot of different stories. Increased dwell times might be the goal for a sampling event or a signing. But for a venue, it could represent an opportunity to deploy a retail concession, indicate a good place for additional wayfinding signage, or constitute a security vulnerability.
But it is absolutely vital to choose a solution and a provider that can demonstrate the highest standards of data collection and management, measuring what matters, and doing so accurately and repeatedly.
With the responsibility for measurement and evaluation falling more on the asset in the future, now is the opportunity to invest in a credible, innovative data solution that stays with the asset. Regardless of the welcome expectations of sponsorship industry professionals, assets can now take the lead on measurement and evaluation without accusations of "marking their own homework".
Having a solid evidence base built on dependable, credible, information from live events will be a prerequisite for successful sponsorship relationships in the future, making every engagement an opportunity for improvement, enhancement and greater success.