Event planners are given budgets to stay within and highly skilled or seasoned professionals do a great job adhering to those financial parameters. But those budgets all roll up to a larger organization number that is established through proven historical analysis and by evaluating revenue expected to come in and cost expected to go out.
Not all planners have visibility into this so it can be difficult to motivate yourself to come up with strategies that will result in both the organization staying within budget and experiencing an increase in profit. The best way to get attention in the boardroom, or with your key stakeholders, is to follow up the expense dialogue with a set of proven strategies that either counter expenses or increase profitability.
One proven strategy to increase profitability is through sponsorship. This is not a new concept and meeting planners have been selling sponsorship (or getting help selling sponsorship) throughout history. The question is: are you really capturing all you can from sponsorship?
Having worked with event planners that have implemented successful sponsorship programs, here are four key action items that are proven to help keep sponsorship a top priority for your event and organization:
1. Keep sponsorship a focus
The biggest reason organizations fall short in obtaining their sponsorship goals is having a lack of focus. They get busy in the day-to-day planning and the emphasis on sponsorship starts slipping through the cracks. If you keep yourself and your teams accountable to sponsorship goals you will meet or exceed them. If the sponsorship goal is vague, chances are you will not hit it. I would suggest coming up with a tangible goal that you can put on a whiteboard and keep top of mind.
Hint: X number of new sponsor partners will be signed this year or X number of sponsorship dollars will be met this year, etc.
2. Create easy-to-sell packages
Work with your event partners on easy to deploy products & services that can be used for sponsorship and create sponsorship packages that are easy to sell. Brainstorm about how content can be displayed or interacted with onsite. There are several AV and technology sponsorship options you can explore that will allow you to rotate content in and out and yield you a better ROI than traditional print sponsorship.
Charging stations, iPad kiosks, social media walls, gamification, interactive touch displays, LED signage and interactive digital content are all examples of ways to elevate your sponsorship options. Work with your partners to come up with easy to promote brochures and packages inclusive of these technologies and incorporate the brand awareness that your sponsors can benefit from.
3. Don’t overthink it
Less is more. There are many new cutting edge technologies out there, but in many cases, these are costly and you will need large corporations or a tier one sponsor to fund them. If you deploy simple solutions that are effective and have a proven ROI, you are more likely to get widespread engagement from your desired sponsors. Work smarter, not harder on your sponsorship strategy and don’t over think it!
Hint: it will also be easier to explain to your sponsors if it’s simpler, and they will have an easier time selling the sponsorship to their exec teams.
4. Leverage your partners
Whether it is your AV & technology partner, your general services contractor or an experiential agency you work with, your partners are there to help you strategize effective solutions that will gain the attention of your desired event sponsors. Your partners should be there to consult with you and come up with package options and marketing content to support these efforts. You should always expect this level of engagement & thought leadership from your partners, as these partners should ultimately be helping you drive revenue not just spend it.
So, I’ll leave you with this question to consider, what is your goal for sponsorship in 2019? I encourage you to keep it a focus, leverage your event partners to create packages that can easily be deployed, and try not to overthink it!