Machine Learning Gives Corporate Sponsors Big ROI Win

Machine learning is promising CMOs the biggest win ever with software that takes the guesswork and gut reaction out of measuring return on investment (ROI) for corporate event sponsorships.

That’s the good news. The bad news is many CMOs won’t have the skills to capture the opportunity.

According to Forrester research, CMOs need to combine the right and left sides of their brains to engage customers, as well as master technology and analytics for personalized, context-rich experiences. Forrester predicts the demise of 30 percent of CMOS in 2017 who won’t be able to bring this fairly unique combination of skills into their marketing practice. Nowhere is this challenge more evident than with corporate sponsorship metrics.

Measure What You’ve Paid For

Event sponsorships are among the top marketing program investments that companies make each year. Global sponsorship spend is forecast to reach over $62 billion by 2017 – a 1.8 times increase from 2010. The opportunities for companies are huge including stadium naming rights, official sponsorships of events, and onsite advertising at venues. What’s more, it’s impossible to over-hype the importance of visual media. Yet even as CMOs invest millions in sponsorships, they’ve had fewer options to measure the actual impact on brand exposure – that is until now.

I watched a pretty exciting video demo of the SAP Brand Intelligence solution at SAP TechEd in Barcelona, and talked with experts from the Innovation Center at SAP Israel about what it all means.


Using the same computer vision capabilities perfected by gaming technologists, the software collects, processes and analyzes images and videos, in this case, company logos, translating the data into understandable information for decision-making. On-screen graphics capture and visualize the precise amount of time each company logo is displayed in real-time as the event unfolds. The technology doesn’t just show the amount of time a brand name is on the screen during the big game, race or other event. It also zeroes in on the location of the image or video during each frame of the event footage. Users can compare their company’s brand exposure versus other paid sponsors with frame-by-frame accuracy captured in colorful charts and graphics on-screen and in summary reports. Data analysis is fast and automatic, courtesy of advanced machine learning.

It’s not possible to predict which CMOs will be left standing at the end of 2017. But survival odds are certain to be higher for those with fact-based justification for projects like hefty sponsorship investments.

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Top image via Shutterstock