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Survey Research: How to Maximize Sponsorship Opportunities
Survey Research: How to Maximize Sponsorship Opportunities
by Jarrett Bachman & Collin O'Berry of Looking Glass Strategic Research Consultants in Asheville, NC


In today's festival & event industry, the need for strategic sponsor partnerships is greater than ever. In order for festival organizers to obtain these high-value partnerships, sponsors are constantly requesting to see research data that demonstrates a quality match between festival and event attendees and their product or service. Survey research is one of the most effective ways to obtain that needed data.


How to go about conducting survey research is often a difficult choice for festivals and events. For non-ticketed productions, on-site intercept surveys offer the best option to collect accurate data. For fully-ticketed productions where an e-mail bank of attendees exists, internet/e-mail surveys administered shortly after the event can prove to be a valuable data collection tool.


From a sponsorship standpoint, surveys need to be designed to collect the data most pertinent to targeted sponsors. In some cases, this can be as specific as asking attendees questions related to their purchase intentions of a specific product or service. In other situations, more basic information such as age, gender, and income will best help festivals and events secure sponsorship dollars.


Knowing as much as possible about your target sponsors is critical. Sponsor investments are only made when a degree of certainty about return on investment is felt. As a result, survey research cannot be executed haphazardly. As a potential investment for a company, finding those key pieces of information that sends your sponsorship application over the top is a difficult one. Intentionally designed questions aimed at lifestyle traits, spending habits, and brand affinities are a good place to start, but what key piece of information will close the deal?


Another issue in conducting survey research when dealing with prospective sponsors is bias. Companies commonly scrutinize research completed in-house by festivals and events. They are skeptical that your bias as both the researcher and festival director renders your research flawed. It is often argued that there is a significant conflict of interest here.


Using independent research firms is a good answer to many of these questions. As a third-party independent company, research firms are non-biased professionals who offer much more credibility from a sponsor's point of view. As experts in survey design, execution and analysis, they can provide festivals and events with the necessary ammunition to secure and grow sponsorship efforts. Although this is more expensive than doing research in-house, the return can be substantial. If the research you pay for results in increasing your sponsorship program by even 10%, the return on your research investment will be realized.


As the festival and event industry sees continued growth along with increased budgetary constraints, the importance of obtaining sponsorship dollars has become a key to success and sustainability. Professional survey research can provide your festival or event the information you need to grow your sponsorship program. Contacting a research firm and discussing your specific needs are the first steps to take to maximize your sponsorship opportunities as a successful festival or event.



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