Conferences, events and incentive trips represent significant investments of money, time, energy and emotion. One way to ease the financial impact of the cost is to sell sponsorships. Not a new idea, but one that is sometimes overlooked, falls in and out of fashion, or maybe isn’t executed in a way that provides maximum value.
First thing is to know the basic demographics of your audience and how to articulate those traits, characteristics, preferences, needs and opportunities that will be of interest to potential sponsors. Entities targeted for sponsorships should be aligned with your audience as well as your brand.
They should reflect on your Company goals as well as speak to what you know is important to your audience. As the investment increases, sponsors will want (and deserve) more front-facing experiences. Also recognize that, for the right sponsor, any and every aspect of your event is for sale – think pens, Wi-Fi, charging stations, keynote speakers, meals, snacks, coffee, awards, gifts and giveaways, entertainment, expos, breakouts, conference scholarships and anything else your attendees will interact with and associate with their experience.
Based on our experiences over the years, below are some things to consider as you bring value to your sponsorships:
- Be realistic about the value of your sponsorships and offer them accordingly.
- If possible, include sponsor logos, information and links in pre-event marketing and communications, including social media.
- Offer options to have logos appear on banners and way-finding signage. Don’t forget other ways to monetize materials (i.e. registration booklets, agendas, pens, paper, menus, table tents, live streaming templates) that will offer an enhanced experience for attendees while allowing you to spend conference dollars in other areas like creative and production.
- During meals, walk-ins and breaks, show sponsor logos on screen, interspersed with pictures of past or current conferences.
- Mention and thank sponsors in scripts, with visual support on screen.
- Develop an expo or other customer-facing event for sponsors.
- Provide the opportunity for sponsors to donate items to be given away during the event (door prizes etc.). Scripting should mention sponsors by name, accompanied by sponsors’ logos on the screen(s).
- Breakout sessions or keynote speeches presented or facilitated by sponsors or their representatives may be considered. This option is a great way to add value to your program as well as offer insight to your attendees. Work together with your sponsors to find ways your stories intertwine and tap that knowledge to share actionable takeaways with your attendees.
By pursuing sponsorships to defray your event costs, you’re selling access to your audience. Every audience has value. Possibly a tremendous amount of value. Most companies have resources set aside for sponsorships of this kind and are looking to be aligned with like-minded brands. With consistent effort, creativity and a win-win strategy, sponsorships have the potential to be the beginning of a beautiful, mutually-beneficial relationship.
Want to tap into your event’s sponsorship potential? Contact us here.