Using Digital to Enhance Sponsorship Value by Pivot Sport

By iSportconnect | May 25, 2016

Use Digital to Enhance Sponsorship Value

Rights holders may eventually be able to rely less on revenues from media rights, thanks to income from sponsorship and advertising, according to iSportconnect partner Pivot Sport. At present, digital sponsorships are still only at the beginning of the life cycle and hence under-utilised. Most rights holders need to expand their knowledge and develop more meaningful assets and more flexibility to innovate.

Nowadays, more than 40% of sponsorship activation has a digital dimension, whether via websites, online games, mobile apps, social media campaigns or sweepstakes, among others. Brands highly value rights holders who offer diversified digital platforms and are ready to launch digital campaigns, because these are short-term, low-cost campaigns which have a fast impact in terms of fans or followers who connect with the brand through several platforms at once.

Brands also have increased expectations in terms of ROI from Sponsorships, and in this digital world they demand an exponential increase in impact of their campaigns, through the multiplying effect of fans’ “likes” and “shares”.  Nevertheless, the use of technology in sport sponsorship is currently still in its initial phases.

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Rights holders need to offer sponsors access to a range of occasions to activate sponsorships, beyond just the event. Through understanding fan / consumer behaviour, sponsors can activate their campaigns at many different points of interaction between fans and their clubs:

  • – Before the event when fans are buying their tickets, on their way to the stadium or once at the stadium, right before the event;
  • – During the event via mobile devices or during recesses in the action;
  • – After the event and continually through newsletters or other follow-up methods.

Pivot Sport CEO Teresa Aguilar sums up: “The goal of digital sponsorship is to shift sponsorship from being an ‘awareness creation’ tool to a ‘behaviour induction’ tool. This ultimately creates much higher value for sponsors.”

Understanding fans through analytics

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Like any good marketing campaign, the key to converting and engaging digital fans, and ultimately generating additional revenues for rightsholders is clear targeting and behaviour objectives. We need to define who we are talking to and what we want them to do.

Expectations about “fan 360” information in the digital world have been set high, and often teams are disappointed about the reality of the fan data that is captured through their apps and websites. Data is fragmented and we often expect more fans to tell us more about themselves, without thinking of the wealth of information we are not capturing or analysing, or what is really useful to know.

Fan behaviour in the digital space, like in the real world, follows patterns of personal preferences that are straightforward to map if we collect and analyse what fans do on our digital touchpoints. From these, we can infer actions to increase their engagement, by leveraging our own digital properties as well as other social media such as Facebook or Youtube, in a coordinated way. “Actionable” information of the kind used to buy traditional media therefore becomes less important, and we often have the basic demographic variables needed to define effective actions.

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We are only and the beginning of this way of engaging with fans. I would therefore encourage rights holders to:

  • – Ensure they are collecting the right data from their digital properties and invest in analytical tools to understand behaviour patterns
  • – Define a simple, clear and measureable strategy of 2 or 3 things they want their fans to do differently
  • – Triangulate and supplement data when needed to make decisions.
  • – Develop relationships with Social Media channels and learn to leverage their power with fans
  • – Don’t be afraid to try. The learning will be in observing the results of our actions

Pivot Sport CEO Teresa Aguilar sums up: ”We are at the start of a profound change in the way sports relate to fans. Rights holders need to start adapting and finding the right partners. Those who do, will find it easier to grow their franchises internationally and find new sources of revenue”.

 


teresaTeresa is CEO of Pivot Sport. She has more than 15 years experience in advisory, focusing on marketing and strategy.

Prior to Pivot Sport, she was involved in other ventures in advisory and digital marketing. She successfully expanded the advisory business in the Middle East and negotiated financing and technology contracts.

Teresa was an Associate Partner at Monitor Group in London. She worked with international companies in marketing strategy and activation. She has also worked in the beer industry and with JP Morgan in Investment Banking.

Teresa holds a BBA in International business with honours from ICADE University in Spain and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. She is based in London, loves fitness, skiing and is passionate about women in sport.

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