Mind the gap in sponsorship measurement

Tony Meenaghan
University College, Dublin

Sponsorship needs a broad range of metrics that form a comprehensive effectiveness measurement dashboard to justify its place in marketing budgets

The global financial crisis has heaped further pressure on corporations to justify money spent on sponsorship and corporate hospitality. The vexed question of the measurement of sponsorship effectiveness is once more a live topic.

This paper seeks to provide an inventory of industry practice in sponsorship evaluation and to suggest where such evaluation might in future focus. Three recent studies of industry practice (two in the US and one in Europe) are used as the basis for this profile -the ESA/SMS European Sponsorship Survey 2007, the lEG/Performance Research Sponsorship Decision Makers Survey 2010 and the ANA/IEG Sponsorship and Events Measurement Report 2010. In considering these studies, bear in mind that global spending on sponsorship is expected to reach $46bn in 2010. Yet, much of the research practised in this field is grounded in traditional approaches, such as sales related linkages and the measurement of brand exposure and awareness. Some sponsors are now seeking to achieve and measure against higher level brand objectives, such as involvement and engagement.