March, and this week in particular in the U.S., stands for many things green. St. Patrick’s Day had marketers scrambling for clever tie-ins, millions of NCAA basketball brackets get completed for flashing green dollar signs, and the sights and sounds of baseball’s spring training melts (hopefully) the last bit of lingering snow away.

For brands active in the sports marketing landscape, it is basically go time. Now is the time of year when your calendar really starts to get jam-packed and if you’re like most sponsorship directors, there is a struggle just to find time to come up for air. There are simply too many events to manage, too many reports to create, and too many meetings to attend.

If you’re a global company, like many of our clients, and you’re trying to balance this with programs taking place in Europe or elsewhere, well, let’s just say you better drink your green beer pretty fast because there’s a lot to be done.

The real question is, how do the most successful companies and their sports marketing teams and/or agency partners manage all the “fun” (this is the fun business, remember)?

It doesn’t happen by itself, that’s for sure. Top brands, and more importantly, top people, rely on strategic solutions that categorize and auto-generate their reports for planning and evaluation purposes. They don’t wait for their property partners to send the same annual planning checklist or spreadsheet to them, heck those folks are swamped too and that’s why the process can be improved.

Here are a few simple steps that you at the brand or agency can do to make your Spring a little greener (financially especially):

1. As a sponsor, you should be the one dictating the pieces you want tracked at a sponsored event or program. Contractual assets can sometimes get lost in the shuffle of a season and if there are many partners involved they often are not fully leveraged.

2. Organize your events and define your objectives in advance. Your partnerships portfolio is a living and breathing beast. All the details and plans that go into everything you do should not be left to some shared-drive-spreadsheet, but rather manipulated in real-time in the cloud.

3. Save time so you can push the brand. The more growth and exposure you create, the more other properties and organizations will come your way and want to work with you. A simple web questionnaire just to collect their names and what sport they market won’t do anymore. You should be measuring your Return-on-Objectives in advance, at the proposal stage. Some of our clients see 1,000 requests per month.

You’ll not only generate some very real cost and time savings this Spring by following along, you’ll actually very well set yourself up for increased budget in the Fall due to your proactive and easily justified approach to management. You might still not have too much time on your hands lads and lassies, but the time you do spend will be much more productive. Think green ($) and happy Spring!

by Seth Leeds, MediaPost.com, March 18, 2015

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