As brands work with their sports marketing agencies to develop their 2018 sponsorship plans, they will need to assess a number of trends and uncertainties in the marketplace, including the impact of changes in media consumption preferences and ratings, questions about the effectiveness and transparency of digital advertising and the potential backlash from political and social protests by athletes and teams. With the rumors of reduced overall global marketing spend and upward trends in asset activation costs, sponsors and their agencies will also need to find a way to use technology to improve agency efficiency, sponsor-agency collaboration and access to information.
Faced with this planning environment, we think brands should be asking their agencies seven important questions about their services in 2018:
How can you spend more time advising us on strategy, best practices and new ideas? Marketing trends and technologies are changing. What skills and experience do you have to help us assess the changes? What practices and tools are you using to increase your efficiency and reduce the time your staff spends on repetitive and administrative tasks so you can increase the time you spend consulting with us?
How can you help us manage and assess increasing activation costs? With activation costs as a percentage of asset costs at an all-time high and interest in experiential continuing to grow, we need to understand the total costs and benefits of every activation. What are your plans to help us track and control these costs and leverage the resulting benefits?
Can you help us develop better analytics to support our decisions? We are trying to do a better job of positioning our sponsorship budget in a changing marketing environment. We are also trying to optimize our portfolio mix. What resources do you have to help us develop (or improve) multi-factor analytics tailored to the specific needs of our business?
How do we know we are getting the sponsorship assets we’re paying for? How are you tracking things like activation status, fulfillment verification, ticket use, event guest substitutions and guest satisfaction? Do you keep that information in a single database where we can both access it and analyze it easily or is it in multiple apps and spreadsheets where it’s harder to see the big picture?
How can we improve our event guests’ experiences? We spend a lot on events. We know our return on that spend depends greatly on our guests having memorable personal experiences. What can you do to help us create exceptional experiences for our event guests? Can you help us automate ticket requests, give our guests their own custom online itineraries and communicate with them before, during and after each event? How do we track guest feedback? Do we have an easy way to compare guest satisfaction across multiple events, platforms and properties?
How are you keeping my data secure? We’re increasingly concerned about data security. You handle highly-sensitive information about our sponsorship deals and personal information about our event guests. Can you assure us your emails, spreadsheets and other files are secure? Do the apps and cloud-based tools you use have enterprise-grade security?
What tools are you using to track and manage our contracts, assets and events? Are you managing our sponsorships with spreadsheets and emails or are you using an integrated cloud-based sponsorship management tool like Sponsor Locker? If you are using an integrated solution, can we share access to the data? If we want another agency to use these tools in the future, will they able to do so or is the software proprietary to your agency?
Playoff Technologies LLC is an Orlando-based technology development firm that delivers innovative marketing solutions to the sports and entertainment industries.
The Company’s flagship product, Sponsor Locker, is a cloud-based management and activation platform that enables brands and marketing agencies to maximize the value of their sports and entertainment sponsorships by optimizing results, saving time and money, reducing execution risk and improving portfolio value.