Sponsorship is crucial for successful event strategies.
It generates publicity, creates strong industry relationships, and drives revenue for the host company.
Building a robust sponsorship strategy can be tough, especially if you’re working with limited staff and resources.
Companies that are strapped for manpower find themselves returning to the same sponsors time and again, or scrambling to bring new partners on board for each event.
If you’re struggling to expand your sponsorship pool or have run out of ideas, it’s time for a new strategy.
We recently surveyed more than 150 event organizers about their sponsorship methods, and we gained powerful insights into what works.
Here are the most valuable takeaways:
1. Sell to a Range of Sponsors
Historically, sales teams have focused on corporations with deep pockets.
The top five sponsors typically account for the majority of sponsorship revenue and are often the largest companies at the conference.
But if one of these companies drops out, the sales team must rush to fill the void.
It’s critical to target and develop relationships with second- and third-tier sponsors, especially those with the greatest promise to become top-tier sponsors in the near term.
2. Target Non-Exhibiting Companies as Sponsors
Our survey found that 50 percent of respondents allow non-exhibiting companies to be sponsors at their events, while 22 percent extend those opportunities occasionally.
This is a great way to drive revenue, particularly if your exhibition floor is sold out.
Don’t diminish your standards—all sponsors should enhance the attendee experience and overall program value.
3. Meet Potential Sponsors in Person
The most successful organizations visit their sponsors’ headquarters throughout the year.
That extra effort distinguishes them from the organizers who call the same 10 sponsors year-after-year, asking them to renew their commitments.
Sponsors participate for a reason , whether that’s to raise awareness, connect with a target audience, launch a product, or support the industry.
When you take the time to meet face-to-face, you show that you care about their needs and want them to benefit from the partnership, as well.
Educate yourself on their strategies, and tie your sponsorship offers to their objectives.
4. Price to Maximize Profits
Many organizers use a cost-plus model, marking up sponsorship prices by certain percentages.
Most of those respondents aim for a 50 percent profit margin on sponsorships, with 25 percent being the second most popular target.
Structure your sponsorships for maximum profitability, and ensure you’re delivering top value to those partners.
5. Produce a Report on Sponsorship Effectiveness
Everything is measured these days, and sponsorships are no exception.
In a separate survey of sponsors themselves, nearly 50 percent said they expect event organizers to compile effectiveness reports, and 72 percent of respondents said they would use that feedback.
Develop a template you can populate after the event, then meet with sponsors to review the results.
Include relevant information such as show demographics, attendance at sponsored sessions (e.g., education workshops or keynote addresses), feedback from post-show surveys, photos of sponsorship activation, and marketing metrics .
Seeing concrete results affirms this was a worthwhile investment and will encourage sponsors to commit again in the future.
The right sponsorships can take your events from mediocre to outstanding.
Revenue and publicity from influential partners earn you new opportunities and sets the tone for how people perceive your brand, so jump-start your sponsorship pitches today.