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Tangible vs Intangible Sponsorship Benefits Defined

by | January 4, 2020

Why you can trust Sponsorship Collective

  • The Sponsorship Collective has worked with over 1000 clients from every property type all over North America and Europe, working with properties at the $50,000 level to multi-million dollar campaigns, events and multi-year naming rights deals
  • We have published over 300 YouTube videos, written over 500,000 words on the topic and published dozens of research reports covering every topic in the world of sponsorship
  • All of our coaches and consultants have real world experience in sponsorship sales

Before you dive in, if you are looking to determine the value of your sponsors , check out these titles in our “sponsorship valuation” series:

Sponsorship ROI Metrics: Approaches to Measurement and Evaluation
Seven Sponsorship Valuation Questions: Part One
Seven Sponsorship Valuation Questions: Part Two
Sponsorship Valuation Best Practices
Essential Guide to Sponsorship Valuation

If you’ve only skimmed through the information in this guide (which, you really should take the time to read everything), then spend some time with this section at least. It’s a recap of all the steps needed to complete your sponsorship valuation.

Intangible benefits associated with sponsorship marketing can be one of the most important tools in your marketing arsenal. Although they don’t hold a physical presence like product placement, sampling rights, logo placement and social media, your intangibles often reflect the essence of your culture and value that your audience places on your brand.

When looking at the benefits of sponsorship, the intangibles are often overlooked. However, intangible assets offer incentives for sponsorship with far-reaching effects that are long-lasting and produce ROI. Here we take a look at both the tangible and intangible benefits of sponsorship and how you can use them to benefit your business.

What are Intangible Benefits?

Intangible benefits refer to those benefits a sponsor receives by partnering with your brand. It is more challenging to value the intangible benefits because no proxy values exist in the marketplace, unlike things like logo placement or sampling. Despite this fact, they are highly valued by sponsors as this is where opportunities like naming rights, brand alignment, storytelling, cause marketing, etc. derive their value. It helps raise awareness of a brand, but in a more meaningful way that helps align a brand with the right audience.

Some of the factors that impact intangible values include:

  • Knowledge of the audience
  • Strength of activation strategies
  • Fulfillment and reporting practices
  • Quality of marketing plan and budget
  • Media partnerships
  • Organizational capacity
  • Organizational reputation
  • Revenue potential and buying power of the audience

You might look at intangible benefits as the attitude and culture of your business and how that is perceived by customers, the community and prospects. For example, you can’t necessarily put a dollar value on how your support of a local kids’ soccer team has affected sales. However, it might help improve morale, show support for your community and even improve customer loyalty. Although these factors can have a positive effect on revenue, you can’t necessarily prove this.

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Immeasurable Intangible Benefits of Sponsorship

There are many qualitative benefits associated with sponsorship that help make emotional connections and expand reach. Intangible benefits include:

Building Vendor Relationships

By building strong vendor relationships you can watch your events grow and become industry anticipated annual happenings sponsors want to be associated with. You can reach a larger audience, expand your initiatives, attract industry leaders and build a name for yourself. The key to achieving this level of success is to reach out to the right sponsors, matched to your demographic attendees. Create the right tone and voice for your event and you will attract the right audience and the right vendor sponsorships.

Being First to Market

Nothing is better than being the first in your industry to create an annual event that hits all the right emotions with your audience. Your presence will be known, your sponsors will want to get in on the action and you reserve your rightful place as the industry leader in your community. Anything your competitors do after your initiatives will look more like catch up and copycat events than original innovation.

Making Meaningful Emotional Connections 

Today human connections that are authentic and meaningful resonate more with customers. To be “out there”, mingling in the community you create emotional connections that are invaluable for your sponsors. Creating experiences, sharing stories, and allowing people to connect with you through experiential marketing provides you with the upper hand over your competition.

The right events get people talking about you, and your sponsors. That can yield unheard of results that continue to work for you long after the event is over. Lasting impressions generate hype that drives more desirable sponsors to your next event while attracting an even stronger and relevant audience.

Raising Brand Awareness 

This is a given for any sponsorship opportunity. Sponsors instantly raise brand awareness through the basics of brand placement. The more opportunity there is for participation, the better the chance to make an impact on your audience. It’s more than logo exposure but offers an opportunity for meaningful interactions. You can send out a team to interact with attendees, hand out products, do demos, present speeches or seminars, etc. The possibilities are limited only by what the you are willing to allow.

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What are Tangible Sponsorship Benefits?

Tangible benefits are the “quantity assets” that can be offered to a sponsor. They are quantity assets because they can be measured whether it is by the number of impressions or interactions, the number of leads collected, the number of products handed out, etc. As well, it can include things like logo placement, sampling and speaking opportunities depending on the level of participation available at the event. Each tangible benefit is assigned a value based on each impression or interaction often based on the potential exposure. Advertising costs are assigned based on past experience, and similar advertising fees. Tangible benefits would include opportunities from logo placement, having a booth, product demos, speaking opportunities and even live social media feeds.

Measurable Tangible Benefits of Event Sponsorships

Sponsors often focus on the measurable aspects of tangible benefits to help justify their spend. From an event planning perspective, the metrics provided by tangible benefits also work as an excellent sales tool as it shows sponsors what they can gain from participation. The two typical metrics used for event sponsorships are:

Lead Generation

The level of lead generation will vary based on the type of sponsorship you choose and even the type of event you attend. In some cases, for example, the event hosts might agree to provide certain sponsors with a list of attendees complete with email addresses. In other situations, you might set up a booth and decide to run a contest or offer a free sample to help you collect leads. The bottom line is that sponsorship offers you exposure for lead generation. The names can be counted, and you can then track to see how many conversions are generated through those leads.


ROI is trackable as long as you have a plan in place to track it. You can start with leads, but you will also want to look at the long- and short-term effects of the investment. For example, how many sales your sponsors get immediately following an event, in hand with the lifespan of the new customers generated. What is the percentage of sales generated from leads? How many turn into long term, lifetime customers? What is the value of each conversion? How do all of these numbers translate into revenue that can be measured as ROI?

Sponsors can even set targets based on their sponsorship and contact with attendees. If you have a booth and demos or contests, how many people do you wish to register or enter the contest? Of that group, what percentage do you feel will be needed to make a sale to reach your targets? With targets in place, you stand to get a more realistic picture of how well you manage.

Although tangible benefits provide hard proof that your investment was worth it, it is the intangible benefits that often have the longest-lasting benefits for your customers. Participation in events that enable you to connect with your audience on a more meaningful level allows you to build lifelong relationships. You also can generate a buzz that goes beyond those in attendance through social media and word of mouth.

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