We recently set out to poll event organizers and exhibitors to uncover emerging trends in sponsorships. We found that a staggering 60 percent of exhibitors think it’s valuable to sponsor an event they’re exhibiting at.
And savvy exhibitors are taking advantage of these opportunities to fulfill key marketing objectives. Fifty-nine percent of exhibitors indicated they’re sponsoring to increase their brand visibility; another 40 percent want to generate leads, and 31 percent are trying to reach a specific target audience.
But how can your brand make sure a sponsorship deal is truly going to pay off in terms of awareness, leads, and business generation?
Well, if you’re choosing sponsorships that not only address your business and marketing objectives but also allow you an opportunity to stand out, you’re already making good decisions. Too often, sponsors don’t clarify their objectives or their measures of success, leading them to just sponsor an event for fear of missing out.
Among the thousands of events out there, maybe three or four will be perfectly suited to showcasing your brand. But you have the power to seek out those special events through our database containing more than 14,000 different sponsorship ideas and prices.
Here’s how you should be choosing your sponsorship opportunity and maximizing it:
1. Determine your business and marketing objectives. Scrutinize sponsorship offerings according to which ones best meet your goals. This list of objectives will also serve as your measure of success after the event.
2. Define your target audience. Who are you targeting specifically? Are there specific activities, education sessions, or networking events that those visitors are likely to attend? Are there new target segments you’re looking to attract with your new product or service? Step into their shoes: What events are they most likely to attend, and how can you best engage with them?
3. Select your sponsorship opportunity for effectiveness, not price. Our survey showed that though an “areas and destinations” sponsorship has the highest perceived cost, sponsoring on-site media — e.g., a Twitter wall where you can help compile and showcase survey results in real time to spark conversations — might be a more eye-catching method. The chance to speak at an event presentation is also a unique opportunity for companies wishing to demonstrate expertise or feature a thought leader.
4. Call the event organizers. Form a relationship with the organizer, and ask him or her how the sponsorship has worked in the past. What have other companies tried to do? Were any unsuccessful, and why? What are the organizers’ biggest success stories?
5. Customize your sponsorship opportunity to suit your business. Edit items you don’t want and add items you do. No matter what the event organizers propose, be sure to make the opportunity your own; adapt it to your brand, your theme, your goals, and your target attendees.
6. Negotiate the best deal for you. Now that you have a relationship with the event organizer, you can make sure the deal is customized to your goals. You can ask for sponsorship for this year’s event, plus a 120-day right of first refusal, for example. Or perhaps you can remove parts of the package that you don’t need for a better price.
7. Measure. The only way you’ll get the most out of a sponsorship is by knowing the effect you made on the audience, adjusting your message as necessary, and taking full advantage of the leads you’ve generated. Forty percent of our survey respondents allocate up to 10 percent of their sponsorship spend to measuring effectiveness, and that figure is increasing.
You need effective ways to measure your impact — both quantitatively (e.g., how many people visited, how many took your information) and qualitatively (e.g., quotes from attendees, relationships formed). Look for an event that comes with a post-event report. According to our survey, a surprising 57 percent of organizers don’t provide a report, but an even more surprising 74 percent of exhibitors don’t bother to ask for one. Make sure you’re demanding the most for your money.
Don’t get lost in a sea of logos. Determine your objectives and your target audience. Choose a sponsorship package that works for you, and customize it to those goals. Most importantly, don’t forget to measure the effectiveness of the sponsorship opportunity so you can do even better next time. Go sponsor — you won’t regret it.
Originally published on Event Industry News.