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At most events today there are sponsors who are to thank for the entire event even taking place – without sponsorship dollars most events struggle to happen.
As event planners we seek to find sponsors months in advance of planning an event. A sponsorship that works for one event, may not work for another.
Mapping out sponsorships into tiny little details is crucial from the get-go. Brainstorming on creative opportunities, providing checklists, setting up pre and post show calls to review marketing and brand strategies, and providing sponsors with a list of resources they can contact at any given moment throughout the event are steps event planners should take when prepping to meet with potential sponsors.
The Best Fit for a Win
As mentioned, not every sponsorship works at every event, so put some thought into the types of sponsorships you want to have at your event. What would make your event stand out by having a part of it sponsored by a brand?
A sponsorship that would be an automatic win for both a brand and the event would be one that can use creative marketing materials provided by the event itself. Sponsors who leverage resources given to them by the event are more likely going to be seen and heard before, during and after the event, than sponsors who fail to leverage those win-win marketing opportunities.
Marketing and communications are important tools to ensure your sponsorship is generating the buzz it deserves, and what better way to get the buzz out about your brand, than by using the free tools and resources provided to your team by the event staff?
By working together, sponsors and event staff can create ideal partnerships that position the sponsor’s brand to engage with its target audience in a creative and meaningful way.
Innovate to Change the Rules of the Norm
Lots of sponsorships at events today start with promotion months in advance to create buzz around what will be happening at the event.
Brands need to leverage the key stakeholders within their companies when signing up for any type of sponsorship. Have different teams promote the sponsorship within their designated areas in the company.
A few ways to do this are to talk up the sponsorship on social media, write several blogs about your presence at the event, send out emails to event attendees if you receive the pre event mailing list, place banners on your website, do fun contests online to drive people to your booth at the event, promote the giveaways you will be having as part of your sponsorship, do a fun giveaway at the end of any speaking sessions your team may be doing, or have your sales team invite prospects to meetings and set-up dinners during the event.
The Ideal Strategy
In order to get the ball started, event staff must provide sponsors with a checklist to make sure sponsors stay on top of what’s needed from them, firm deadlines for action items, goals and objectives, event opportunities, etc.
The details included in the packet you provide to your sponsors should be clear, precise and firm. What exactly do you want out of each sponsorship as the event planner? There should be clear goals set in place during planning sessions to understand what each sponsorship entails, and what the objectives, goals and requirements are of every sponsor.
Make sure sponsors are aware of their responsibilities, whether it’s brand presence - creating an innovative space for sponsors to tell a story with their banners and ads, or do you desire more control over sponsorships – needing final approval before anything is confirmed?
Feeling the Love is the New Black
What type of exclusivity are your providing to each sponsor? Remember every single sponsor needs to feel the love. Besides marketing, promotion, and branding opportunities, how much time and visibility are you baking into your investment for each sponsor?
Will they each receive free passes to the event, access to specific sessions, media outreach, promotion to the event database, space on the event website and blog, or maybe even pre and post show email opportunities? Step up your game and make sure every sponsor, no matter what tiered level they are paying for feels the love.
Each tiered sponsorship level should of course be catered to differently when it comes to free promotion, passes, branding opportunities, etc, but no matter what as the event organizer, it’s your responsibility to make sure every sponsor is happy and their sponsorship is paying off just the way they expected it to, if not better.
At the end of the day event planners expect sponsors to put a lot of time and human resources into their sponsorships, and in return, sponsors expect no less from event staff.
Event planners should keep in mind all sponsorships must have one ultimate end goal – to add value to the attendee’s experience. If it does not add value, it can effect the overall event experience which will come back to haunt the planner.
Sponsorships should be fun, exciting and creative, but also relative to what the goals of the event are. Sponsorships have become more creative today, allowing for sponsors to think outside of the box, and give event attendees cool experiences they can walk away with and want to talk about online.
Over the next year if events continue to formulate custom and edgy sponsor experiences, we should continue to see sponsorships that take the norm to the extreme.
For event staff, it’s about making a business model out of sponsorships, so it’s time to step up the game when it comes to planning the full sponsor package – from the detailed packet, to checklists, to determining ways to make sponsors feel like they are in a true partnership with the event from beginning to end.