The challenges of sponsorship procurement

Marketing procurement teams are increasingly looking for ways to add value beyond supply management – but sponsorship procurement presents a number of intrinsic challenges as a consequence of :

  • difficulties of benchmarking
  • inability to standardise
  • low quality of evaluation vendors
  • complex supply chains with poor transparency

This last point is a pervasive problem.

In 2018, WBR Insights reported that 59% of procurement teams consider they’ve achieved true financial transparency in their agency relationships.

This is not the case in sponsorship.

Lead agencies frequently receive  compensation from multiple sources within the overall campaign roster, including the common practice of multi-year  sales commission. From our experience, as much as 40% of total budget can be lost through commission and mark-up.

Another internal challenge is the high level of emotional attachment, and corresponding lack of objectivity, which often develops within the sponsor organisation.


  • valuation
    Investment Case
  • analysis (2)
    Transparent Procurement Support
  • audit
    Contract Audit
  • market
    Spend Efficiency
  • review
    Portfolio Review
  • competitor
    Audience Affinity Analysis
  • radar
    Proximity Analysis
  • analysis
    Lifecycle Analysis
  • analysis (1)
    ROMI analysis

We're a natural partner for procurement teams

Having spent 20 years looking for efficiencies and effectiveness, we’re a natural partner for procurement teams. We’ve developed probably the most comprehensive range of analytical tools to understand the attitudinal and behavioural impact of sponsorship – and improve it.

But more importantly, because we’ve been there, in sponsorship. We know the challenges it offers, and the value it can bring. So our perspective is not reductive, it’s about making things work better.

Marketing or sponsorship procurement teams are a growing proportion of our client base.

Procurement recognises our ability to work comfortably and constructively alongside both sponsorship and procurement and to support both to increase efficiency.

The data to make confident decisions

Our investment cases raise the bar in procurement governance while our specialist analysis methodologies offer unique insights into effectiveness.

Without exception, our ROMI evaluation and Portfolio reviews bring an objective but constructive perspective which is almost impossible to achieve internally. 

Our contract audit service benchmarks best practice and raises the bar on contracting.

We often hear that our work provides sponsorship teams with the data to make confident decisions which they have hesitated to take for fear of negative impact.

Our transparent process for procurement support – identifying, negotiating and contracting with rightsholders – is unique in the industry, combining rigorous cost management with complete transparency.


In 2018, according to World Business Research, only 13% of Marketing Procurement teams felt able to add value to sponsorship beyond cost savings. Meanwhile, in 2019, both experiential and sponsorship were predicted in the top four categories for growth.

We took these two findings as a prompt to survey our network of Marketing Procurement to understand their relationship with sponsorship.

113 responses from 104 companies around the world offered perspective on the WBR findings – and pointed to some clear issues for both Procurement and Sponsorship to consider.