Sponsors believe that service should be a fundamental part of the rights holder’s value proposition.
Through the first-of-a-kind research on sponsorship service conducted in partnership with Loughborough University London, we showed that sponsors attribute significant importance to the service level they receive from rights holders. We also contextualised its importance and found that it is surprisingly close to the importance of return on investment and objectives.
Here we want to provide further context to this topic by reflecting on the relationship between service and the perceived value of a sponsorship and we found at least two main perspectives to consider.
A low service level impacts the value of the sponsorship
Sponsors are eloquently saying that receiving good service from a rights holder helps them leverage their investment. They don’t consider service as a nice-to-have, disjointed from the assets, or a gesture that rights holders do, but an inseparable part of the offering.
“Without the correct management of assets and support from rights owners, the asset’s value reduces. You need these in place to maximise the opportunities the sponsorship provides.”
Senior Manager, Banking and Capital Markets (ID 89)
The perceived value of a sponsorship investment is heavily influenced by the role that rights holders play in helping sponsors transform their investment into business results. We can call this ‘leverage value’ and sponsors identify that this is happening through service.
The same amount of focus that goes into ensuring the quality of the assets needs to be reciprocated with adequate processes, attitudes, skills and behaviours that answer each sponsor’s needs – both at the individual and governance level.
Failing to deliver the expected level of service on both fronts will make activation a lot harder for sponsors and can result in dissatisfaction and perceived low value for money.
LOW SERVICE LEVEL = HARD TO LEVERAGE SPONSORSHIP = LOWER VALUE OF RIGHTS
Eventually, a lower perceived value of rights and service impacts the overall sponsor satisfaction and the consequent chances of renewal altogether or renewal at a higher fee.
“Without good service, opportunities will be missed, the value will be reduced and for the rights holder, it could damage future renewals.”
Senior Manager, Recruitment Company (ID 188)
A low service level increases the sponsor’s costs
The second perspective that sponsors openly expressed is that the level of service provided by the rights holder has a direct influence on the resources that the sponsor needs to put in place to leverage the investment.
LOW SERVICE LEVEL = INCREASED MANAGEMENT BY SPONSORS = HIGHER COSTS
A perceived low level of service will force the sponsor to allocate more resources in areas they expected the rights holder to provide. Committing more resources, for instance, in managing the relationship with the rights holder on a daily basis takes away precious time and energy that individual managers could better invest.
“Without good service, too many areas of communication and delivery will break down. If service is bad the relationship can break down very quickly and it then becomes difficult to manage.”
Manager, Gambling Company (ID 653)
For sponsors, the unexpected low service level is not just added stress on a personal level, but it can be easily quantified in terms of workload. There are hard costs that they need to cover in order to leverage the rights, such as staff hours and adding external suppliers. Sponsors are, in fact, starting to evaluate their sponsorship portfolios from an efficiency perspective and plotting it in their ROI calculations.
“As a sponsor, we now benchmark service across each of our properties.”
Manager, Insurance Company (ID 383)
How to get on top of sponsorship service
For rights holders, identifying the sponsors’ service requirements means being able to adjust a critical part of their value proposition accordingly.
Regular and systematic monitoring of sponsors’ perception and expectations of service will place rights holders in the best position to listen to their sponsors’ needs and to find solutions that guarantee an excellent synergy between parties, strengthening the relationship and preventing dissatisfaction.
Taking a proactive and analytical approach to measuring service quality and sponsor satisfaction drivers would bring the necessary clarity to identify what the priorities are, to avoid using budget towards service areas that sponsors don’t value and to spot opportunities that generate new value.
If you would like to generate in-depth insights that will help you make better decisions and manage your sponsors more easily, get in touch to find out about Sponsor View, the first research and measurement service dedicated to sponsorship service and satisfaction.
¹’What drives service quality in sponsorship’. A global research study conducted between 2018-2021 by Millharbour Marketing and Loughborough University.