Monday, September 13, 2010

Measuring the Value of an Arts Sponsorship

Sponsorship of the arts can be a valuable way for companies to engage with the public today but its value to potential sponsors is not well understood in terms of measurement. Whilst arts sponsorship is often the poor cousin to sports sponsorship in terms of dollars, it has unique features which are very attractive and cannot be achieved through sports sponsorship.

Unfortunately, many arts organizations do not highlight many of these key elements when seeking sponsorship. Many of the sponsorship proposals from arts organizations are well thought out and have a good sense of style about them but there is often something missing in terms of the value proposition. The value of the arts sponsorship is not ‘consumer-centric’, instead it is focused on a sales package incentives as if they were selling to sponsors the same messages as what you would use to sell to the audience. Too much about selling a sales package and not enough about a potential sponsors marketing and corporate objectives.

The value of arts sponsorship is that it can achieve results for sponsors in ways that cannot be achieved from other forms of marketing. The best advertising, digital media or public relations campaign is often unable to achieve the same type of results. The unique aspects of arts sponsorship simply cannot be replicated with other types of marketing or sponsorship types. This is evident from a measurement perspective, especially in understanding the sponsorship ROI itself.

When looking at value arts sponsorship from a ROI perspective, the attraction of arts sponsorships is related to several key factors.

The Target Audience

Firstly, passion for arts properties is very specific to a target audience. It is highly targeted and more often than not, this particular segment of the market is a hard to reach by conventional marketing methods. The key aspect is the passion. Now with SponsorMap, we use a benchmark called the PassionIndex to measure the level of emotional engagement to properties. The stronger the passion, the higher the level of engagement.

In the example below are results taken from a national sample of adults 16+ that was representative of the the general population. What is shown is the specific analysis of the high income, female segment of the national market. This segment obviously is very appealing for many businesses that wish to build relationships with existing or prospective customers. Whether it is financial products, fashion or prestige cars, this target audience is a key market segment for many companies.

Sponsor Fit/Brand Alignment
Is the partnership between the sponsor and the arts property a good brand alignment? Does it enhance a sponsor’s brand image? This is often mentioned as a key deliverable of all types of sponsorship. It is actually something that can be fairly easily measured as it is just a matter of asking the right questions. A good quantitative survey can be used to do this.

Brand Enhancement of Sponsorship

It shows the image attributes of the sponsor and how the sponsorship is enhancing them. In this case, it is about the arts sponsor property influencing the image ratings of the brand. Ideally, we would demonstrate this with a control sample or a pre and post measurement, but this will often suffice for most sponsorship evaluations for the arts.

Sponsor Appreciation
This is a very strong feature of arts sponsorship. Sponsors of arts properties tend to rate very highly on this measure, meaning there is a strong level of overall appreciation to sponsors for their involvement. They are seen to have done the ‘good thing’ and helped something that is of importance to people. This influence is what as known as Balance Theory, it is the change in attitudes to a sponsor/brand that occurs due to the direct involvement with the property. People will adjust their attitudes to a corporation because they are perceived to have done the right thing. (Not everybody feels appreciation, some feel in more than others and some do not feel it at all.)

Sponsor Appreciation Enhances the Value of Sponsorship Itself

With arts sponsorships, this influence can deliver major dividends for sponsors and is an influence not generated from other forms of traditional marketing communications such as advertising. Hence, when measuring the value of an arts sponsorship it is essential to demonstrate the gratitude to a sponsor for their involvement as arts sponsorship perform very well on this measure. This is a unique feature that should be emphasized as the impact can be quite dramatic.

Survey methods are highly recommended to measure the contribution of an arts sponsorship. There are several reasons, namely sponsorship is about attitude and behavior change for a sponsor, without this there is no ROI. Sponsorship’s impact is only felt if it achieves a modest amount of attitude and behavioural change. Other measures are also useful, but should be viewed provides additional metrics of overall contribution. If you have them then that is terrific as they build the overall case for the value of the sponsorship overall.

It should be remembered that demonstrating the appeal of the arts sponsorship to prospective sponsors and subsequently linking it to the sponsor’s own objectives in a measurable way provides a strong case for sponsorship. Likewise, for corporations considering sponsorship of the arts, there are ways in which a well planned sponsorship can drive marketing and business results much more effectively than traditional marketing communication methods.

Overall it is the consumer-centric approaches to sponsorship that is the best way to measure value. What is important how audiences emotionally engage with a brand/property partnership in the arts. That is the foundation of the business case for arts sponsorships and the reason why it can be a power relationship building tool for any Marketing Director or CEO looking at the arts.

Toys R Us Pops Up for the Holidays

Toys R Us Pops Up for the Holidays

Some may view the latest move by Toys R Us as simply taking advantage of the 9% vacancy rate in America's shopping malls. But the chain's plan to open hundreds of "pop-up" stores in time for the holiday season could suggest a whole new way of doing business for major retailers in the future.

Its quick-service "Toys R Us Express" stores will appear in 600 locations (300 of them are already open), adding 10,000 temporary employees during the "hard eight" pre-Christmas selling season and dramatically increasing the toy chain's sales capacity from its 587 full-size stores. Toys R Us used 90 pop-ups during last year's holiday selling season.

The seasonal or campaign-related pop-up store idea is particularly attractive to brands and retailers alike.

Malls have plenty of space available that they're willing to rent on a short-term basis at low rates. If a retailer like Toys R Us can grab 4,000 square feet of space for a few months around the holidays, it could temporarily expand the retailer's presence at just the right time.

The trend towards pop-up stores has been increasing of late, as retailers look at new ways to boost store sales.

Best Buy is opening 1500-square foot locations in malls so it can sell its mobile phone line; it has plans to open as many as 1,000 of the mini-stores. Other retailers, most notably Target, have been opening pop-up stores in key locations where it lacks a bricks-and-mortar presence (such as Manhattan) to take advantage of special sales opportunities, like Target's tie-in with Liberty of London.

Pop-ups are an opportunistic way to get in front of holiday shoppers or pitch special promotions, but increasingly, they may make longer-term economic sense for retailers.

Doug Stephens, president of Retail Prophet Consulting, tells Marketing Daily that the move by Toys R Us "shows the way big retail is beginning to fragment. For 25 to 30 years, we've lived with the idea that we need toy stores that are 125,000 square feet. There is just an absolute recalibration of consumer demand happening right now."

Stephens points out that while the pop-up could present a "different brand message," big retailers will continue to try them on for size because "There's been a change in this period of consumerism, and a big-box model just isn't sustainable."

Friday, September 3, 2010

Marketing vs Advertising....Ding...Ding

Marketing and advertising are two different things. It’s common to get them confused. They are related, but there is a difference between them. Advertising is a part of marketing. It is not all of marketing. Marketing involves many different things, from research to distribution and sales. Advertising is the most expensive part of the marketing process, but it is not the entire marketing process. Look at it like it’s the final stages of marketing. You can’t advertise until you know a few very important things about your audience and your target demographic. Knowing this, there really is no reason to use the phrase “marketing vs. advertising.” There is no competition between the two.

Marketing and advertising is not just limited to brick and mortar storefronts. It applies to all aspects of e-business as well. You can’t develop a product to sell online if you don’t know what consumers want. This is why it’s very important to develop a niche for your e-business. Internet marketing shares some similarities with offline marketing. In order to be successful in either, research is required. Research is an important part of marketing. Countless dollars are spent in researching the target audience for the product that is being developed. Companies use things such as polls, surveys and focus groups to gather information on what consumers want. This is how they find a way to tailor their products to their target demographic. This, again, proves that there is no reason to use “marketing vs. advertising.”

Within the affiliate marketing and internet marketing trades, research is a must. Because the internet is evolving so rapidly, the needs and wants of people who work from home and need to make money online are changing drastically. Older methods of marketing are becoming obsolete. Newer methods are popping up frequently. Everything is getting faster and more thorough thanks to the changes in technology around us. Part of these changes comes from consumers themselves. Their behavior is the reason that marketing methods are either successes or failures. The studies done into consumers’ behaviors are all a part of the researching process.

Again, marketing vs. advertising is an unnecessary phrase. Sometimes certain methods can double as both advertising and marketing. Advertising involves presenting your product in a way that will get consumers to buy your product.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A look from the Top....Is Today’s CEO Social?

Today’s CEO is not social. So says Forrester Research’s CEO George Colony. Very few of the CEOs at top companies in the U.S. and the rest of the world have any material presence on the popular social media sites. Colony believes they should be social though, and all signs are pointing to a future filed with CEOs who can speak the language of the people — social media.

While one can only speculate about the future of CEOs and social media, there’s no question that social media plays a huge part in life and the world as we know it right now.

As younger CEOs replace older ones, news consumption habits change and social media continues its trend towards ubiquity, there’s little question that the man (or woman) at the top will need a firm grasp on social media — whether that be for recruiting, scouting, public engagement or social CRM.

The Next Generation of CEOs

When it comes to CEOs, there’s a vast disparity between the young ones heading up startups and the more seasoned CEOs running the world’s most powerful companies. That disparity is social media — the young are more versed than the old. The difference between the two groups can be attributed to different generations and different attitudes around content and information meant for the public and private domains.

No one is predicting that the venerable CEOs will be booted from their lofty perches for lack of a Twitter() account. In fact, younger CEOs with a predilection and savvy for social media may find their visibility to either be a contributing factor to their rise or a liability once they graduate to bigger, hence more vulnerable, publicly traded companies.

Let’s have a gander at some stats on the status quo. In April, Colony let it be known that most CEOs are not social. In fact, by his own research and calculations, Colony has concluded that, “None of the CEOs of Fortune Magazine’s top 100 global corporations have a social profile.”

Social media abstinence even appears to extend to CEOs of tech companies. “Eric Schmidt of Google is an infrequent Twitterer and is not a blogger; Steve Ballmer at Microsoft has no blog and no Twitter account; Michael Dell is on Twitter but is not an external blogger … Steve Jobs of Apple, and Larry Ellison of Oracle have no Twitter, Facebook(), LinkedIn(), or blog presences that we could find.”

His findings paint a bleak present tense. In the coming years, however, there will be a changing of the guard that favors social media over silence.

We Live in a Social Media World

Let us pause and reflect on the fact online users spend 22.7% of their time on social networking sites. That’s twice as much time as we spend on any other online activity. Consider where people are getting their news today. More and more, it’s not through direct sources like USA Today, The New York Times, or TV broadcasts, but through social networks.

Plus, industry is social. In the future, every company, no matter how small or how big, will be influenced and impacted by social media internally or externally. In the entertainment industry, for instance, social media has the potential to significantly bump up live television viewing audiences. Network executives such as Greg Goldman, formerly an executive director at ABC and now CCO at Philo, are nearly certain it’s happening now and will become more obvious with time.

Take what you know about the world today and then ask yourself, can a CEO remain relevant if they’re not versed in the new language of the people they serve?

SCVNGR’s youthful CEO Seth Priebatsch doesn’t believe so. The 21-year-old CEO says he’s “never lived in a world where I didn’t use social media.”

Priebatsch compares social media to cloud computing, and makes the analogy of how building applications for the cloud is a given. “It never occurred to me that you would write software to run on machines as opposed to access it through a browser. Why would you do that?”

For Priebatsch, social media is a given.

“Those companies that actively monitor, react and engage with what people are saying about them are at a huge advantage. If I’ve just launched a new feature on SCVNGR and people like it (or don’t) I know immediately. And that’s powerful. And what’s even cooler is that I can dig deeper. Someone says on Twitter: ‘Hey @SCVNGR, love the new social check-in. Way cool!’ and I can tweet back immediately ‘Thanks @user. What have you been using it for?’ And immediately get more information on how people are using SCVNGR, why they like it (or don’t) and how to make it better. That’s real power. It combines huge scale (tons of people talking) with massive granularity (ability to dig deep into one response).”

CEOs and the Future

The business leaders of tomorrow will be versed in social media, and we don’t need a crystal ball to predict how CEOs in the future will use social media. It’s the socially versed CEOs of today who help manufacture the following:

Opportunity Knocks

LIVESTRONG CEO Doug Ulman, himself a social media advocate and user, believes that perceptions around social media being too risky for CEOs are beginning to change.

“I would predict that more and more executives will see this as an opportunity rather than a risk,” he says.

Certainly the opportunity is there. Ulman pulls from his own work at LIVESTRONG as proof of concept. “Transparency and authenticity are two important factors in our work and social media allows us to amplify both in a significant way.”

Plus, given the digital landscape of the world we live in, future CEOs using social media is practically a given.

“Those who are currently growing up using these tools and mediums will have them integrated closely with their daily lives as they begin to enter the workforce, so they will come to expect their colleagues to be engaged as well,” according to Ulman.

Colony also sees social media as a platform paved with opportunity. He believes that CEOs should be social if the CEO “has something valuable and distinctive to say,” and has “a specialized strategy for social.”

For CEOs looking to start their social path, Colony prescribes a four part methodology that involves targeting the right audience, defining a clear reason to be social, setting up social expectations, and choosing the right platform(s).

Public Engagement

Edelman Digital’s Senior VP and Director of Insights Steve Rubel also sees great opportunity for how CEOs will use social media in the future.

One opportunity lies in public engagement, or as Edelman CEO Richard Edelman calls it, “the third way.”

“Companies need to complement their usual paid and earned media strategies by embracing new, social and owned media,” Edelman argues.

Rubel believes that CEOs will drive adoption of the third way. “They [CEOs] will lower the internal barriers within the organization so that it can engage the public at every level directly in achieving shared outcomes.”

Rubel’s own personal use of social media, his day-to-day dealings with the CEOs of client companies and his astute observations of corporate and market dynamics make him an expert on the subject.

While bullish on CEOs making organizational changes to better incorporate social media, Rubel does not see reason to predict a huge uptick in social media broadcasting from the CEOs themselves. “I see CEOs more laying the groundwork in vision and process than necessarily participating actively themselves,” asserts Rubel.

Recruiting and Scouting

Talent is a commodity. Facebook, Google() and Twitter often cherry pick each others’ employees. The company with the brightest minds is the one that’s most likely to excel. As such, recruiting is key and social media gives CEOs the ability to scout out potential hires and follow what they’re posting and what others are posting about them.

In a related fashion, CEOs will scout out the competition and search for potential acquires via social media properties. Many executives have already been doing this for years. Venture capitalists like Fred Wilson, for instance, have discovered the added benefits of maintaining a professional blog.

Wilson uses his blog to find companies to invest in and build relationships with entrepreneurs. It’s certainly no coincidence, then, that Union Square Ventures has an impressive portfolio of companies that includes Fousquare, Twitter and Tumblr().

Social Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

“Every CEO has a CRM dashboard right now. In the future, every CEO will have a social media dashboard,” predicts Miso CEO Somrat Niyogi.

Niyogi asserts that the social media dashboard will become a fixture inside the enterprise. “Every business unit will be using social media within the enterprise – customer support will use it to answer questions using tools like CoTweet(), sales organizations will use it to get a better read on what’s happening with their customers in real-time, marketing organizations will be using it as a new channel to connect with new or existing customers. It’s already happening right now.”