When you think about sponsorships, you often think about what can be sold. But we get further when we think about what we can provide – both for sponsors and for clients. Allison Conroy, event manager and sponsorship specialist at streamlinevents, shares her insights.
“Don’t think inside the box and don’t even think outside the box. Create a new box to support your client and the sponsor.”
#1) Know what both sides need
At minimum, sponsors want leads and face time with as many attendees as possible. Some are also looking for ways to stand out, or for special interactions. And of course, ROI is always top of mind. Clients want value for their attendees. Sure, they want sponsorships to be profitable, but not at the expense of an authentic experience, or worse, a devaluation of their own brand via over–sponsorship.
Success is making sure sponsor opportunities truly add value for both sponsors and clients.
#2) Find the easy win-wins
There are certain things clients have to provide at every event: WiFi, food and breaks, for example. These expenses have real value to attendees, so get these checked off your sponsorship list first.
And co-brand! It’s still your client’s event, so all sponsored assets need to be mutually beneficial.
#3) Be aware of trends –and stay ahead of them
Sponsorships go through fads, too. Remember branded charging stations? Now everyone provides one in their expo booth. Over time, some types of sponsorships become less compelling and sponsors lose interest. Watch the landscape for the next high-value idea that fills a gap for sponsors, clients and attendees.
#4) Know what you’re selling, be ready to change it
You know the site capacity, where you can offer logo placements and the number of breakouts. Be ready to help your clients think of unique ways to connect and make impact. At one expo we managed, Google didn’t want to sell, they wanted to recruit. We created a custom café just for them, offering attendees simultaneous access to opportunities and caffeine. It was a big hit.
#5) Make sure the price is right
If your great idea takes more hours to execute than you can reasonably charge for, maybe it’s not so great. As you’re customizing opportunities, keep a tight grip on the realities of bringing it to life. Think through added dependencies – if you open the expo hall early for a sponsor, what’s the cost of adding extra security?
#6) Develop cross-value relationships
As streamlinevents, we get a lot of crossover sponsors from show to show, so as much as we’re providing a service to our clients, we’re also building relationships with sponsors across shows. A thoughtful introduction can sometimes be worth more than any sponsorship opportunity. Think about ways you can use your network to add value and earn the good will of clients and sponsors alike.
Sponsorship isn’t just a numbers game anymore. Today, “best practices” means getting past sales and creating a real return for both sides.