AS AN EVENTS EXECUTIVE responsible for large audiences, sponsorship is rarely off your to-do list. It’s an important revenue stream that adds huge value to your visitors.
For many of your competitors, it’s a perennial challenge to attract event sponsors. Even if you think you’re on top of your own sponsors, you can be sure that someone else is eyeing them up.
Professional event and media producers report that they struggle with the whole process of finding and keeping sponsors: from approaching them, to evaluating return on investment (RoI), according to a survey by eventbrite.
How can we attract event sponsors?
It’s certainly not as easy as it used to be.
Digital technology has radically changed the sponsorship game. Before the internet, its main purpose was to raise awareness. Today, companies can more easily promote their brand on digital and social media, with real-time feedback and data-rich reporting. With tighter corporate budgets, online also trumps with its lower price and an RoI that’s easier to prove.
However, events win hands-down with their ability to innovate ways to introduce a company to an audience in person. Consequently, companies are inundated with opportunities. Chris Baylis, head of Sponsorship Collective, heard of one sponsor receiving more than 10,000 proposals a month.
He says that one answer to the sales challenge is simply not to call it sponsorship. Instead you can reframe it as a partnership between a client and the producer to advance each other’s goals.
“Sponsors don’t just want your attendees to be aware of their product or service,” says Baylis. “They want to offer value, provide solutions, and create deeper, long-lasting connections with them.” We need to find a company whose objectives and goals coincide with the needs and wants of our audience.
The first thing to look it is our attendee lists. How well do we know our visitors? We need to understand why they attend and understand the problems they are experiencing in their professional lives. How might our sponsors be able to help them?
A key strategy: creating event assets
How physical events can really complement digital, is through the variety of ways it allows to put a company brand in front of your audience. These tactics are your ‘event assets’. Of course, you’ll want to integrate your events strategy with an online strategy.
Event assets can range from speaker spots, where sponsors directly address the audience from a stage, to badge lanyards, where all visitors carry a brand logo around their neck. Complimentary passes is another. You can create and price a menu of these assets, from which sponsors can choose.
Workshops and other learning events create the opportunity to facilitate face-to-face conversations between sponsors and their most interested customers.
Web analytics and data management platforms generate basic demographics and ‘firmographics’: you’re probably already monitoring search-engines, websites, email publishers, event listing, ticketing and registration. Your competition certainly will be.
To stay ahead of the game, you should also consider conducting surveys. These allow you to go deeper by asking your attendees about their organisations’ objectives and challenges, their own goals and frustrations, budget responsibilities, and other information potential sponsors will find valuable. You can use data visualisation to look for patterns.
While you’ll want to keep much of this data to your team, you can create a powerful thought-leadership position by sharing extracts with your partners and the wider public. A thought-leadership report can also carry sponsor logos. So it’s a high value asset itself.
As you learn more about the needs of your visitors, you can design new assets around them, identify their value to the sponsors, and pricing them. It’s worth visiting other events to see their own creative ideas for making money in ways you’re not – and researching what they are charging. Creative assets attract event sponsors because they can help bring together exhibitors and decision-makers.
Help creating assets to attract event sponsors
Contented can help you design event assets for sponsors. We spend our working lives learning how to manage profitable creative spaces to help businesses think, especially where normal doesn’t work. Please contact us at enquiry[at]contented.net and we will be happy to talk with you about your challenges and those of your target sponsors.