Corporate investment in sports sponsorships has grown substantially over the past decade. Despite this increase in sports sponsorship spend, the technology used to manage this outlay has not kept pace. Many sponsors and agencies continue to use spreadsheets and emails to manage their burgeoning collection of sports marketing contracts, assets and events. The irony here is that during this same period, new cloud-based software (SaaS) tools have streamlined the management of multiple corporate functions, from finance to sales and, most recently, even marketing itself. But adoption rates for sports marketing applications have lagged behind.
The good news is that these technology trends are finally making their way into sports sponsorship management. This move toward SaaS solutions is being driven by business and technology trends toward increased collaboration, shared cloud-based data, mobile 24-7 access, user-friendly database management tools and more sophisticated analytics—and the availability of cloud-based management solutions, such as Sponsor Locker®, that are focused specifically on sports and entertainment sponsorships.
We are approaching a classic business disruption point, where new technology is displacing existing tools and practices. As in other disruptions, the firms that ride the wave will do well, and those that ignore or fight the change will fall behind. This risk is especially high for sports marketing agencies that fail to adopt the new tools for the sponsors they serve. The history of technology disruption is clear: The firms that implement the new technology will have a competitive advantage over those that do not.
Despite the potential benefits, it’s not always easy to adopt disruptive technology. The situation is no different in sports marketing. The best SaaS systems are built on industry best practices, which offers tremendous benefits but may require some changes in work flows. Spreadsheets are familiar and easy to cut and paste (if over and over). However intuitive they may be, SaaS systems require at least some training, and databases have to be input and maintained. Spreadsheets have to be modified again and again to remain current, but the work can be deferred until essential. Cloud-based systems raise security questions that over-worked IT departments would be happy to avoid. In most companies (so far), no one asks about spreadsheet access or security.
But once underway, disruption seldom fails. The reality is that cloud-based integrated sports sponsorship management tools are the future and spreadsheets are the past. In a multi-billion-dollar industry where customer and corporate relationships are at stake, where exceptional guest experiences are expected and where management is increasingly demanding documented support for the funds being expended, the only answer is an integrated cloud-based management tool that enables sponsors and their agencies to see the whole picture—contracts, assets and events—and manage it pro-actively and effectively. From return on investment and return on objective to activation excellence and risk reduction, the benefits are strong, and the costs, whether measured in funds or implementing work flow changes, are remarkably low.
CEO Playoff Technologies LLC