How Measurement Impacts Successful Sponsorship Management


One of the reasons that fantasy sports has become so popular is that fans are able to become their own general managers of a team. Having this type of control is compelling in large part because fans frequently believe they would be as good, if not better, stewards than the current coaches or managers of their favorite teams.

Feeling that management has a little or negative impact on organization is not the sole providence of sports fans. The leadership at companies, governments, and non-profit organizations can often be questioned by shareholders, commentators, analysts, advertisers and employees. If so many people are so critical of leadership so much of the time then a natural question to ask is does management actually make a difference.

A new Stanford University study sheds light on the answer when it comes to increasing productivity. Economics Professor Nicholas A. Bloom found that effective management “accounted 20% of variation in productivity among certain firms.” In particular, bloom found that organizations “grew faster and were more profitable, more productive, more innovative, and more likely to survive” with better management.

Bloom’s critical insight is that a structured and consistent approach to measurement is what actually is the “secret sauce" to better management. More specifically, he found that “it’s pretty clear that you want to measure everything that happens in your business and continue to improve it.”

Yet, Bloom also found that this focus on measurement was not implemented as frequently as he expected. In particular, managers at even within the same company did not employ the same approaches to measurement. In fact, Bloom found that “some managers monitor huge amounts of data, and others seem to operate entirely by gut instinct.”

While this study focused on measurement in manufacturing, it contains familiar narrative to those operating in the sponsorship or sports industries. More specifically, sponsorship could be more effectively managed with better consistent and standardized approaches to measurement. Yet, “gut instinct” still plays a significant role in negotiating, valuing, and managing of sponsorships.  

Why is “gut instinct” still employed frequently in management decisions if measurement is the key to more productive relationships and outcomes? Bloom’s response to this question is not exactly comforting when he says that “you would think all firms would be well-managed and doing the right thing, but they’re not. I guess firms are like people — we all have our faults.”

Bloom’s statement, however, overlooks at least one critical component when it comes to assessing ‘fault” in this context. Managers may be making “gut decision” because it is often not easy to “measure everything.” More specifically, managers often operate in working environments with vast amounts of information coming in from multiple channels on a constant basis. Aggregating and analyzing information with this level of complexity on a structured and frequent basis is then not a “fault” of many people. It is very difficult to put into practice.  

This especially true in the sponsorship industry where partnership campaigns often feature in-venue, traditional media, digital media, social media, hospitality, experiential, and / or intellectual property components. These activations also occur both on a different cadence and at different times throughout the year making it difficult for management to aggregate and understand all of this data in a consistent way.  

Directly addressing this challenge is the core value proposition of Block Six Analytics (B6A). More specifically, we have long understood that effective measurement leads to more productive partnerships whether you are a buyer or seller of sports sponsorships.

That is why we provide our clients with a suite of products that focus on revenue generation through measurement. In particular, we use our proprietary technology and analytics to aggregate and analyze big data across multiple channels. We then display the cross-channel results within our Partnership Scoreboard dashboard solution on a consistent basis. This enables our clients to have the insights they need to use measurement to make better decisions throughout the year.

Bloom does state in his study that measurement is not the only factor to effective management. However, he did find that creating a standardized approaches with a focus on measurement correlate strongly with “any metric of success.” The challenge is to create the tools and strategies that enable managers to take advantage of the benefits of a consistent approach to measurement particularly when it comes to sponsorship. Organizations that effectively navigate measurement complexity using solutions like those provided by B6A are likely the ones that will be the most productive.