Developing an effective sponsorship strategy is far from basic. To grow your event sponsorships, sponsors must feel they are getting a solid return from your event. Pre-sales discovery and development forces you not only to think about what is good for you, but also your sponsors and attendees.
Whether you are just starting out or sponsorship opportunities have been a part of your event for years, you must set objectives. Clearly defining these objectives with your event management company is imperative to the success of your program. We have seen the greatest increase in sponsorship return when objectives are:
• Based on relevance and return to the brand
• Add value to the overall objectives of the event
• Reinforce relevance to the attendees
• Increase value/return to the sponsor’s business objectives
Enhancing your sponsorships is easier than you think. Here are seven ideas to try:
1. Think about sponsorship retention from the beginning. What is the hook to retain current sponsors for the next year? Are you selling next year’s event onsite? If not, create a Letter of Intent to sponsor. Are you offering a discount or a benefit to signing up in a certain timeframe? Schedule a follow-up call directly after the event to keep sponsors engaged post-event.
2. Evaluate the competitive environment and understand how to enhance your offerings over other industry events tugging at your sponsors’ valuable dollars.
3. Use sponsor survey feedback to inform the design of your packages and opportunities that best fit both your event goals and their objectives.
4. Develop a target/sponsor list and focus 80 percent of your efforts on the top 20 percent of sponsors.
5. Create sales targets for the event and measure what works.
6. Leverage all the communications tools used to support the event. For example: mobile technology, social networking, and co-marketing tools.
7. Review marketing communications plans and make sure you are spending enough resources on an effective communication strategy to attract and retain sponsors/attendees.
Once you are in alignment on sponsorship strategy, pre-sales development begins. Stay tuned for the next post in this series to learn more.