How sponsors choose the best sponsorship projects thanks to data collection

Step 1: The purpose of the evaluation.

You must carefully consider what you want to learn from this evaluation project and which methods and tools will provide you with the most valid and meaningful data. Your research questions should help drive the selection of the appropriate data collection methods and tools.

Another thing to consider when selecting the appropriate method is the audience you are trying to reach to ensure that the data will satisfy the needs of your primary audience, as well as enable you to present meaningful results to other types of audiences.
Step 2: What kind of data to collect?

Poor evidence is information that cannot be trusted, good evidence is information that comes from reliable sources. There are two general different types of information:

  1. a) descriptive or judgmental (opinions from experts or consultants, consumer preferences or target audience’s values)
  2. b) qualitative or quantitative.

Step 3: What methods to use in collecting data?

There are multiple ways of collecting information. The ideal situation would be to collect from more than one source and/or to collect more than one type of information.

Let’s focus on one very contemporary data collection method: sponsorships between sport brands and college teams related to social media and fanbase. Sponsors, indeed, have to focus on collecting and analysing college teams fan data before choosing which team to sponsor. Sponsors are attracted by growth rate and engagement of teams’ fan bases since they want to see how teams can leverage fans online to promote the brand and convert these fans into loyal customers. A huge social media fan base offers sponsors a greater opportunity to increase brand awareness and the ability to target this audience better with personalized content and offers.  Fan data can also be used by brands to verify the affinities of the college team values. In short, sponsors want to be associated with truly engaging and loyalty-building fan experiences.

Step 4: How much information to collect?

There isn’t an exact answer; it always depends on the sponsor and which kind of event or activity it is looking for. Most brands focus their attention on the quality of information rather than the quantity, and here we agree. That is why, rather than collecting large quantities of data, it would be useful for sponsors to ask only very targeted questions. What it is really important it is to never forget the aim of the sponsorship and what outcome you wish to achieve.

Step 5: Asking the right questions!

What questions to ask and how you can compare and evaluate the collected answers. At some point you will probably need to design your own tool to do so. It would be useful for sponsors to have a tailor made form, in order to both ask and reply to incoming sponsorship requests. This way they could save time and easily manage sponsorship requests (and proposals, of course), selecting only the very best.

Going back to our example, after following all these steps, finally sport brands can decide which college team they prefer to sponsor. Sponsorship spending on college Athletics totalled $1.1 billion in the 2014-15 season, up 6% from the previous season, according to new research from IEG. Nike was the single biggest spending brand, followed by AT&T, Adidas, Coca-Cola and Allstate Insurance. Every year these brands try to grab the best teams: are you curious about what could happen during the next season?

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