When companies spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to sponsor your events, they expect to make back the cost and then some. According to Eventbrite, brands want to see a two-to-one, three-to-one, or sometimes a four-to-one return on their event sponsorship investment. If they can’t reach those returns, they would prefer to invest their money elsewhere.
As the host or event planner, it’s your job to make sure you deliver on their expectations and your promises. If they don’t realize the return, they surely won’t sponsor your next event.
But that isn’t easy! In a 2017 survey, 40% of event sponsorship professionals say measuring and evaluating sponsor ROI is one of their top two challenges.
In some cases, measuring ROI is fairly straightforward. If your sponsors pay to sell products at your event, they can easily compare their sales to the cost of the booth. The feedback is simple and immediate.
In other cases, however, the relationship between the cost of the sponsorship package and its value is less clear. You’ll have to go farther to help your sponsors understand the return on their investment.40% of event sponsorship professionals say measuring and evaluating sponsor ROI is one of their top two challenges. Click To Tweet
Plus, helping your sponsors understand the return on their investment lets you control the conversation. You can make sure they see accurate numbers so they see the full value of the sponsorship package. It also gives you an easy way to sell them on the next package. You get to say, “Remember how we made you $X last year?”
So how do you measure the ROI of your sponsorship packages? These four steps will show you how to find the ROI for each of your sponsors so they feel satisfied with their investment.
Step 1: Collect Lots of Data
The first step to measuring the ROI for your event sponsors is to collect as much data as possible. You’ll need it to calculate your event’s performance. In some cases, sponsors may ask for all the data you collected, so it’s best to prepare a report at the end of your event with your final numbers.
It’s important to collect multiple data points that relate to the same subject. For instance, “attendance” is a vague metric. Does it include everyone who registered? Or just the people who showed up? What about last-minute registrations or tickets purchased at the door? Did you count the people who received free admittance? Does it include staff and volunteers? You’ll want a break down of all of this.
It’s critical that you do not pad your data to make your event seem more profitable for your sponsors than it really was. For instance, you might be tempted to hand over your entire email list to an exhibitor as “leads,” even though those people didn’t submit their contact information at the exhibit. This will come back to bite you when the sponsor realizes you weren’t honest, and they won’t sponsor you in the future.
Step 2: Understand Your Sponsors’ Goals
These days, sponsors aren’t satisfied by simply placing their logo within your event space. They want meaningful connections with your audience. They want attendees to try their food, explore their exhibits, and touch their products.
While some brands are happy “creating brand awareness,” most are after something more tangible. They may want a list of leads to contact later. Or they may expect to make sales at your event.
Early in the event planning process when you’re arranging deals with sponsors, you’ll want to ask piercing questions that help you understand what they (the sponsor) consider a successful event sponsorship.
It’s important to understand these goals long before your event. Ask sponsors for this information during your early negotiations. This will help you understand how to prepare sponsorships that measure the right metrics. It will also help you price your sponsorships to make sure they get their desired ROI.
For instance, let’s say Acme Inc. wants to sponsor your event. Their goal is to collect email addresses from people who are interested in purchasing their product. They need 500 email addresses to secure enough sales to make the sponsorship worth their time. In this case, posting a sign with their logo and offer won’t get the job done. You will probably need someone to display their product and prompt people to submit their email.
Is a sponsorship like that more work for you and the sponsor? Absolutely, but it’s far more effective. If you manage to get those 500 emails, Acme Inc. will happily sponsor future events.
Step 3: Determine the Value of Each Metric
Once you understand what your sponsors hope to get out of your event, your next step is to translate those goals into dollars. This will help them relate to the results of the sponsorship package to their investment and ultimately determine their ROI.
This step requires a bit of help from your sponsor. There’s no way for you to know how much they consider a lead to be worth, or how much value they get from a conversation with an attendee, or how much they profit from a sale. You’ll have to work with the sponsor to get accurate figures.
Step 4: Prepare a Fulfillment Report
Your last step is to prepare a simple, easily digestible fulfillment report that you give out to each of your sponsors after the event. This report should be fairly standard, but you will want to customize it slightly for each sponsor depending on their needs and goals.
Your fulfillment report serves two functions. First, it shows proof that you delivered on your promises. If you promised that 500 people would walk through the sponsor’s exhibit, your report will show that with final figures. Ideally, the report should offer evidence of that proof. It might say “We used an electronic people counter to track exposure.”
This is important because it shows what you actually delivered. If you promised 500 eyeballs, but actually reached 750 people, you’ll want to tell your sponsor so they know you over-delivered. Even a small over-delivery can change the ROI calculation and make your sponsorship more successful.
Second, your fulfillment report is where you’ll lay out the final calculation that shows the sponsorship’s ROI. If, for example, you and your sponsor decided that one email address lead = $3 worth of value, you’ll show the total value they gained from email leads. Total up all the value they receive and subtract the cost of the sponsorship package to determine total ROI.
Ultimately, the fulfillment report makes it easy for your sponsors to understand whether they benefited from the sponsorship opportunity. They’ll use this report when they consider sponsoring your next event, so make sure it’s thorough, accurate, and easy to understand.
Measuring ROI Is Worth the Effort
If all that sounds like a lot of work, you’re right. Measuring the investment return for each of your sponsors requires more effort than most event planners will bother with. But this kind of tracking and reporting is a key way to set your event apart from all the other events that only sell simple logo placement. If you can show your sponsors how much money they made, they will rush to sponsor your next event.