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Event Sponsorship Trends

Event Sponsorship Trends

As an event organizer, you understand that incorporating mutually beneficial sponsorships is a huge part of executing a successful event — not to mention garnering the ROI you desire. Still, it can be hard to know where to start when you’re unsure of where sponsors’ needs and expectations intersect with your own.

Recently, the GES Strategy team surveyed some of the most prominent names in events — both on the organizer and exhibitor sides — to identify upcoming sponsorship trends in terms of reporting, performance measurement, sales strategies, and more. One thing is clear: Organizers and exhibitors have different priorities. Here’s a quick overview of some of our findings:

Event Organizer Trends

We gathered insights from more than 150 event organizers to uncover these four trends:

  • Sponsorship revenue is on the up and up. More than 50 percent believe sponsorships will compose a larger percentage of their marketing mix in the next five years.
  • Attendee materials and handouts are the most popular sponsorship opportunity. Attendee materials and handouts stole the top spot from events this year. This could indicate a trend toward lower-margin opportunities due to tighter budgets.
  • Most organizers are OK with non-exhibiting company sponsorships. Fifty percent of event organizers allow non-exhibiting companies to sponsor, while 22 percent would allow it under certain circumstances.
  • According to organizers, sponsors are not all that interested in a post-event report. (Sneak peek: Sponsors don’t agree!) More than half of organizers don’t offer sponsors a performance report, and nearly three-quarters indicated that sponsors don’t ask for one.

Exhibitor Trends

We gathered insights from approximately 400 exhibitors to uncover these five trends:

  • Most exhibitors sponsor for the brand exposure. Nearly 60 percent cite brand visibility as the No. 1 reason they sponsor events, while another 40 percent use event sponsorships to generate leads and reach targeted audiences.

Most exhibitors sponsor for the brand exposure

  • Event sponsorships are rated “most unique.” On-site media, packages, areas and destinations, and online advertising follow closely behind. Signage and displays are ranked “least unique.”
  • “Areas and destinations” sponsorships are the most expensive. While events are ranked No. 1 in terms of uniqueness, they come in second place when it comes to price.
  • Exhibitors want a performance report. Measuring success is a big part of business, and investing in an event is no different. Nearly half of exhibitors expect a performance report from organizers, and nearly three-quarters want one.

Exhibitors want a performance report

  • Number of visitors defines success. Fifty percent of exhibitors use the number of booth visitors to measure effectiveness, so they’ll likely have new and interactive booths to stand out in the crowd. However, another 34 percent don’t measure effectiveness at all.