Trackability is the #1 thing you need in your sports sponsorship assets to survive

“How will I know if this advertising led to sales?”

If you are in any type of advertising, you’ve heard this question.

How you answer depends on the assets you have.

And it makes sense. If someone is going to advertise with you, you should be able to show a benefit and return. Sometimes the brand sees an intrinsic value that doesn’t have to show a return (they want to associate with your values and nothing more), but we can’t rely on this.

You may, though, be hearing this question much more today from clients. And you may be wondering why.

Well, the answer is simple. There is a competitive product to yours out there that offers this, and I might go as far as to say LIVES on this.

That competitive product is social and digital ads.

These assets have trackability built into them. It is so advanced that a Brand can even tell if you saw the ad and bought it a month later.

This competitive product is kicking our ass. Mainly because most of our assets aren’t trackable in sports and event sponsorship.

To put it bluntly…we offer an inferior product in the market currently. And when you offer an inferior product, you better have some crazy moats & protection. Otherwise, the market will weed you out.

What does that weeding out in sponsorship mean? You will sell less and less of your products (in-stadium signage, game day programs, etc.) as assets. Brands will see that they can reach your audience

I know what you are thinking…”I have our logo and IP, there is no way that they can be more powerful of an influence than me on my fans.”

Tell that to Bleacher Report and House of Highlights. Every ad dollar they gained by understanding that fans wanted to consume on their phones and brands wanted to be on that attention was taken from your in-stadium signage revenue.

And why? Well, Bleacher Report can offer a trackable asset that brands can see how impactful the campaign was.

In other words, they can show clicks to the brand’s website and purchases…you cannot with an in-stadium sign.

Because the in-stadium sign is not trackable, you will lose that battle by default.

We are seeing a massive shift in the way brands are spending dollars. And it comes down (from what we’ve seen) to two main criteria:

  1. Is this asset connecting with consumers where the attention is?
  2. Can I answer the question “I spent X dollars and it led to Y dollars?”.

With 90% of our assets in sponsorship, we fail on both questions. Therefore, brands will spend elsewhere.

Macro Reason: When the next economic downturn comes, non-trackable assets will be the first to be purged.

“But Nick, sports sponsorship is seeing some of the largest spendings ever by brands!”

On the macro side, I push for the building of trackable assets in sponsorship because when the next recession or economic slowing comes brands will conserve and double down on the assets that can show results.

This is true, but I hypothesize this as being largely due to the economy booming. Brands are spending largely on things and don’t care too much about the true return.

When the next recession comes, trackability will, I believe, be the defining factor in which brands make decisions and spend money within advertising.

They will need to be able to answer the question of “If I spend X will I get Y back?”

Micro reason: You can win your individual deals today with trackable assets.

On the micro side, having trackable assets can and will win you deals you would normally not be able to win.

The greatest case study we see on this while working with teams at SQWAD is through ‘minor’ league teams.

Two key cases show this.

First while working with the brand new USL team New Mexico United FC, they were looking to grab dollars in the market from prominent brands.

One company they approached simply told them they only invest in digital ads, mainly because they are trackable and where attention is.

To iterate, this company spent $0 on non-digital assets.

With our trackable asset scoreboard trivia, they were able to convince the brand to spend with them and pull in revenue.

Because they offered a trackable asset they were able to grab a brand that had a policy NOT to spend on anything but digital.

For this brand, the market had better advertising options…until NMUTD adjusted their assets to fit the need today.

The second case is an overall case that multiple teams we work with at SQWAD have been able to pull off.

When you are a minor or niche league team, if you go head to head with the major competitor in the market with the same tactics and assets…you will lose.

BUT…if you understand the industry and customer needs better than your competitors, you can win these dollars.

If you understand this better than the other teams in your market, you can win.

I can’t tell you how many times our assets like mobile scratch & win and scoreboard trivia have been able to grab dollars that should have gone to the bigger teams in the area.

Why? Well, they are trackable. The “smaller” team walks into the meeting and says “ if you spend X dollars with me, you will get Y dollars back.”

To brands, it is a better bet. At the very least they can track the progress and evaluate way better than a scoreboard read asset would allow them to do.

Overall, if you shift your assets to ones that are trackable you will win deals on the micro-level as well as set yourself up on the macro side for the next economic downturn.

Trackable assets will survive tides. They make you prove value and therefore help the brands you work with say yes when you do provide value.

It is unequivocally the most important thing you do to ensure the success of your organization as an advertising option (which is what we are in sports & event sponsorship).

If you do one thing this off-season to help you for the next 10 years in the industry, take a look at how you can build these trackable assets into your offerings.

It could be the thing that saves you in a recession.

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