Creating exceptional experiences for our attendees is typically the driving force behind any event, but attendees aren't the only stakeholders to consider. Equally important is the ability to provide value to your event sponsors. Incorporating sponsorship into events in unique and engaging ways can benefit your sponsors and enhance the overall attendee experience. By enhancing the value both your attendees and sponsors receive, you strengthen these partnerships and can set your event apart from the competition. In this blog, we'll explore some creative and effective strategies to help you differentiate your event and elevate the value you offer to your sponsors.
- Tailor Sponsorship Packages to Align with Business Objectives: Before diving into the planning process, take the time to understand your sponsors' goals and objectives. One of the simplest ways to do this is by asking them directly what they hope to get out of your event. An emerging trend in finding the best sponsor for your event is hosting a Sponsor Summit. These events can be as simple as a breakfast sit down to discuss goals or as elaborate as a full-scale event with keynote speakers and catering, whichever aligns best with your budget. By understanding your sponsor's desired outcomes and aligning them with your event's offerings, you can craft customized sponsorship packages that provide meaningful and relevant value.
- Unique Branding Opportunities: Help your sponsors stand out by providing exclusive branding opportunities that extend beyond simple logo placements. Think creatively and offer prime exposure spots that allow sponsors to showcase their brand in captivating ways throughout the event space. From branded installations and interactive experiences to sponsored sessions or workshops, the possibilities are endless when creating distinctive ways for your sponsors to leave a lasting impression on attendees. If your sponsor is branding a particular giveaway, consider pairing it with a mindful and memorable activity so your attendees associate your sponsor’s brand with well-being or fun. Branding can have more function than just increasing visibility! Have a sponsor fund transportation options like rideshare options, scooter, and bike rentals, or even an ice cream cart, and post their branding on these methods using decals. Check out our Differentiating Your Event With Networking for some clever ways to pair promo items with engaging events!
- Leverage Data and Analytics: Sponsors value measurable results. Make use of your event planning software or any tech that enables you to track attendee engagement, collect data, and provide valuable insights to your sponsors. By leveraging this data, you can demonstrate the impact and effectiveness of their sponsorship investment. Highlight key performance metrics, such as the number of leads generated, social media impressions, or attendee feedback, to showcase the value they received from partnering with your event. You can use this data to attract potential sponsors for your next event as well!
- Facilitate Meaningful Networking Opportunities: Studies and surveys continue to show that networking is the main reason attendees attend events. It's also a prime opportunity for sponsors to forge new connections. Design your event with networking in mind, and create spaces and activities that encourage meaningful interactions between attendees and sponsors. This could include dedicated networking sessions, interactive sponsor booths, or even VIP meet-and-greet opportunities. Consider letting your sponsor “host” a particular networking event at your meeting like a cocktail hour or first-night meet-and-greet, just to increase their face time. Wherever your networking is taking place, don’t forget to boost your sponsor’s brand visibility in these areas with your event graphics (more on that below)! An emerging trend that is both engaging and memorable is gamification. Ideas like scavenger hunts, contact collections, and booth visits incentivized with rewards are a great way to engage your audience while providing valuable metrics for your sponsors as well. Even better? Most event apps have gamification options built right into them to streamline the process for you and your attendees!
- Don’t Be Afraid to Namedrop: You've undoubtedly heard the phrase "out of sight, out of mind," and this couldn't be more true regarding your sponsor's brand awareness at an event. As a result, the more face time you can afford your sponsors, the better. Put your sponsor's name on everything! Some ideas include adding their websites and social media handles to pre-event marketing efforts and press releases. You can use space-conscious QR codes to direct attendees to their websites via your wayfinding signage or cleverly placed mirror decals in the bathrooms. If your venue has a stage, consider a large-scale backdrop with your sponsor's logos on it to appear alongside keynote speakers. Consider leveraging your host city’s local flavor by collaborating with artists or art-related sponsors to incorporate live art installations or performances that align with the event's theme. This can add a unique and visually appealing dimension to the event.
Don’t forget to use tech either! Putting up your sponsor's commercials or promo videos on the screen during downtime before and after your breakout sessions is a great way to keep attendees engaged in what is typically a lull in activity. Finally, use the venue! Creating clever and interesting ways to use your venue’s unique layout not only dresses up your space but can create more impactful and memorable instances of brand recognition for your sponsor. Be sure to check out our Signage for Non-Traditional Venues blog and Differentiating Your Event through Visual Communication and Branding for some outside-the-box ideas on how to incorporate your venue’s layout and unique offerings into your branding.
- Get Your Sponsors Involved: Include sponsors in the event planning process to drive value. Keep them in the loop with event updates, no matter how small, and allow them to have input on some of the activities or items they’re sponsoring. Some key things to make sure to send to sponsors are venue floor plans and attendee lists as this can drive ROI on-site and ensure they maximize their own efforts at the event. Consider giving your sponsor some stage time to talk about how their brand can help solve niche problems your industry faces or pain points you’ve collected in pre-event surveys. Alternatively, ask your sponsors to host workshops, masterclasses, or training sessions on topics related to their expertise. Attendees will benefit from the knowledge your sponsors are able to share, and the sponsors will be highlighted as an expert in the field. This helps present their brand as a resource and “in the know” for your particular audience. Finally, consider setting up post-event connections, both with particular attendees whom you feel with gain mutual value with your sponsors and sponsors to one another.
- Lean Into Tech: Incorporating new tech into your event is an immersive experience for any demographic. Look for Virtual Reality (VR) or Augmented Reality (AR) experiences for your sponsors to back to bring some digital flair to your meeting. Whether it’s having attendees explore a virtual trade show or sponsor booth from the comfort of a seating area to simply playing some interactive games to inject a bit of fun into downtime between breakouts, your attendees will appreciate the modern sensibility of these types of additions and your sponsor will appreciate the brand equity they receive through offering these experiences!
- Provide Post-Event Exposure: Extend the lifespan of your event by offering post-event exposure to sponsors. Promote their involvement through social media shout-outs, engaging blog content, or even post-event webinars or panel discussions. Utilize your event website or app as a platform to showcase sponsor content, including downloadable resources, videos, or exclusive offers. By providing extended exposure, you demonstrate your commitment to supporting sponsors beyond the event itself, which will resonate positively with potential sponsors in the future.
Let’s Get Started!
The events industry is one that is full of opportunities for potential sponsors to allocate their marketing budgets. Consequently, fostering and sustaining robust relationships with sponsors is paramount for event professionals in their quest to secure and sustain sponsorships. By tailoring sponsorship packages, offering unique branding opportunities, leveraging data and analytics, facilitating networking, and providing post-event exposure, you can differentiate your event and elevate the value you provide to your sponsors. If you’re looking for some more ways to make your event stand out and exceed your sponsors’ expectations, be sure to check out all the entries in our Differentiating Your Event blog series to help make your next meeting memorable for attendees and sponsors alike!