Sponsorship Research Rethink – Greater Focus on Survey Based Methods

In the past 12 months there has been quite a dramatic shift in the sponsorship landscape underway as there is real pressure applied to the key issue of sponsorship ROI. It has become quite clear that the ability to articulate sponsorship deliverables is ‘the key’ issue for sponsors and properties alike.


Marketing Directors and CEOs are seeking more certainty and results to be able to measure sponsorship as part of the overall marketing communications toolkit. Traditional reliance on sponsor recall and valuations of media exposure alone are simply insufficient to hold up for detailed scrutiny, sponsors want a lot more. 

Quoting a highly respected sports marketing agency.

‘Research is the Backbone of Sponsorship, it is like a lamp post for a drunken man – it is just as vital for support as illumination’

There is certainly an increased focus on survey based methods to augment sponsorship research. This is a natural development as survey based methods have been the backbone of measuring advertising effectiveness for at least two decades now. Survey based methods of evaluation both for pre-testing and tracking performance has become ingrained into the advertising landscape. This has made it a lot easier for the advertising business to communicate the value proposition and deliverables of advertising spend and has provided comfort and accountability for significant investments for major advertisers over many years. 

The sponsorship industry has been slow to reach the same level of sophistication as their advertising cousins, but in the last few months this has begun to rapidly change. It is a clear sign that understanding of the value of sponsorship is improving, the challenging economic environment has facilitated a greater focus on the industries ‘biggest issue’ and companies are responding well by conducting more survey based research which has been overdue.

The US$40+ billion global sponsorship market has needed to raise the bar in evaluation and the current environment is accelerating this transformation. 




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