Event sponsorship is one of the most direct ways to engage your target audience. Whether it be through simply having a presence at an event, delivering a keynote, being part of a panel, or running a Q&A session, sponsoring events gives you access to defined, quality audiences as they converge in one space with a shared interest. Getting involved with events is a great way to ensure that your brand is part of the conversation, right at the cutting edge of corporate innovation.
In recent weeks we’ve shared how your company can get the most out of their event sponsorship spend. From your preparation, to the way you approach the event itself, to the follow-up, the amount you put in will often greatly effect what you get out. But how do you measure the return on investment (ROI) on your spend? The notion of ‘having a presence’ is by definition intangible, but is undeniably important. Collecting potential leads is easily quantifiable, but means very little or no connection with the attendees is made on the day.
According to a report from the Association of National Advertisers, 23% of marketers are unhappy with their ability to measure the ROI on event sponsorships, while 32% are dissatisfied with their ability to measure the return on objectives (ROO). This perhaps stems from the fact that fewer than half of marketers have a standardized process for event sponsorship measurement, and only half attempt to isolate the impact of event sponsorship against other marketing activities. How can you build a better picture of just how worthwhile your spend was?
The key thing to remember is to measure outcomes rather than outputs. Outputs are the easily quantifiable aspects of event sponsorship, like number of leads generated, while outcomes are the effects of the sponsorship on the target audience. It’s easy to see how many contact details you went back to the office with, but more difficult to quantify whether the sponsorship actually impacted audience perceptions and made them more likely to become a client.
It’s not enough to collect up your list of email contacts at the end of the day and throw them into your database as potential leads for sales to work their way through the following week. Rather, calculating the sponsorship ROI is a multi-stage process. For our event sponsors, the broad metrics tend to be:
1. Number of leads (total attendee list)
2. Quality/seniority of leads (nature of attendee list)
3. Total number of engaged leads (positive onsite conversations)
4. Early stage pipeline opportunities created
5. Mid-late stage pipeline opportunities (proposals, contracts, SLAs, etc.)
6. Business won / quantifiable ROI.
On the whole, marketing departments are largely responsible for numbers 1-3, where sales teams will then take over from 4-6. Naturally, the event organisers are very influential for numbers 1-2, and delivering the desired audience is something they will base their pitches on. Improving the more valuable metrics (4-6) is where the outcomes of the event factor in. If your on-site team were able to make meaningful connections with attendees, or wow them with a pitch, you should see a decent return in the metrics that really make a difference to the overall ROI.
By segmenting your review of the sponsorship, you can more easily see where improvements can be made. Getting the leads but not closing the deals? Consider improving both your sales team and your on-site staff. Closing well but running out of leads too quickly? Talk to marketing and the events company you’ve partnered with. Taking time to measure event sponsorship properly is arguably as valuable as any other stage in the process, given the scope for future improvement it facilitates.