rEvolution, the Chicago-based integrated sports marketing and media services agency, has hired Darren Marshall, former Knowledge Networks (KN) executive and industry leader in sponsorship ROI methodology, to guide rEvolution’s Sponsorship Research Group. The new group offers clients a unique combination of access to the state-of-the-art KN ROI model, as well as Marshall’s unrivalled experience regarding strategy and activation of sponsorships in order to maximize ROI.
Earlier this year, rEvolution announced a strategic partnership with Knowledge Networks, an industry leading market research firm, and later another joint venture with Alphacution, a leader in software solutions, to deliver the next generation of consulting services. The research foundation of the group is rooted in KN’s innovative sponsorship ROI model developed by Marshall at KN in conjunction with other KN team members with active input from one of the world’s largest beverage companies. KN’s model is viewed as the only one to truly isolate and quantify the additional sales generated by a sponsorship. Marshall’s move to rEvolution signifies the next step in the growth of rEvolution’s Research Group and allows Marshall to foster broader client ties, while also accelerating change within the sponsorship research industry.
“I’ve spent nearly 20 years in this business searching for better ways to hold the millions of dollars spent on sponsorships truly measureable and accountable. The development of the Knowledge Networks Model has eliminated the familiar refrain of ‘we can’t measure that’ when the CEO asks how much extra product the company is selling through a particular sponsorship,” said Marshall, Senior Vice President, rEvolution. “During the past few years, Knowledge Networks has had the opportunity to use the Model on behalf of several of the largest corporate sponsors in the United States. As a result, we can finally begin to understand why certain sponsorship strategies do and/or don’t work, and we are better equipped to advise clients on how to maximize spending in order to achieve real results at a new level that was previously unimaginable.”
“We are glad to have an expert of Darren’s insight and experience to help guide our work with rEvolution,” said Simon Kooyman, Chief Executive Officer of Knowledge Networks. “We share with rEvolution a commitment to innovative ROI measurements that lead directly to profitable client decisions; Darren has exemplified these priorities in his years with KN, and we know he will continue to deepen the influence of our Model and our partnership with rEvolution.”
The need for better research and ROI models comes at a time when the cost of sponsorships continues to escalate dramatically. As an example, a typical primary sponsorship of a leading NASCAR team has doubled during the past decade to around $18 million a year, forcing some household brand names into partial-year deals to stay involved.
“Most of the negotiating power right now is on the rights holder’s side, as they are the ones investing in research in order to justify higher fees,” said John Rowady, President, rEvolution. “It’s our goal to place more power back in the client’s hands by helping them with strategies before spending valuable resources, or by recommending ways to optimize their current sponsorship portfolio.”
Recent industry surveys and reports show a positive outlook for growth in the area of sports marketing research. According to the CMO Council’s Marketing Outlook Survey (fielded in the fourth quarter of 2006 to 350 top marketers), the majority of marketers surveyed felt that their top goal in 2007 was to quantify and measure the value of marketing programs and investments (43.8 percent). This upward trend is also supported by the results of the 7th Annual IEG / Performance Research Sponsorship Decision-makers Survey of sponsorship professionals, which similarly found that the amount of sponsors not budgeting for concurrent or post-sponsorship analysis dropped from 42 percent to 31 percent.
Internationally recognized as an expert in the field of marketing research, Marshall was a co-founder of SRi (Sponsorship Research International) in 1993 and later Senior Vice President of SRi’s then-parent ISL Worldwide. Most recently, Marshall worked at Knowledge Networks, and served as their Vice President and Group Account Director from 2003 through 2007.
“Darren brings tremendous insights and experience to the task of building an ROI model for sponsorships,” said Steve Lauletta, President, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Inc. “What started as a project to dive into the value of client-side NASCAR sponsorships, he has refined and offers now to a variety of sponsors spending in all facets of sports marketing.”
The formalization of rEvolution’s Research Group is further supported by rEvolution’s recently announced joint venture with Alphacution, a leading information management solutions provider. Through the venture, rEvolution has access to Alphacution’s proprietary “visualized intelligence” system. This system, initially targeted to the hedge fund and proprietary trading communities, improves the automation of marketing information processing, data management and the optimization of client sponsorship portfolios.
“Every client today is presented with a variety of ROI tools that end up missing the mark. Therefore we are inviting corporations to rethink what they are really getting [from other firms] and take a hard look at our track record,” said Rowady. “Driving business through sports today requires more than just collecting and distributing information; it’s looking at the information in a different light, analyzing it, and then putting better recommendations to work.”
About Knowledge Networks
Knowledge Networks (knowledgenetworks.com) specializes in solving complex, high-impact problems, providing extraordinary quality and service to leaders in business, government and academia. We work closely with clients to create healthy consumer-brand connections, effective marketing and advertising, sound public policies, and accurate social science research. We have established respected practices in media, marketing, advertising, and government & academic studies. KN excels in study design, analytics, and custom panel creation; we deliver affordable, statistically valid online research through KnowledgePanelSM – the only available probability selected, nationally representative Internet panel.
rEvolution (revolutionworld.com) is an independent and fully-integrated sports marketing and media services agency. Chicago-based with an international vision and reputation, rEvolution joins forces with its clients in creating and implementing innovative business-building marketing programs through sport. rEvolution's integrated services environment includes: sponsorship, media buying and planning, promotion, event management, hospitality, mobile marketing, software solutions, research and measurement. rEvolution’s team of industry experts specialize in action/youth sports, collegiate sports, international sports, lifestyle sports, motorsports, and professional sports. More information about rEvolution and the unique experiences created and executed for corporations is available online.