5 Traits of Innovative Sponsorship Programs

December 1, 2017 Susan Serena

2017 is an interesting year so far. The level of change we are experiencing on a political level is intense and the resulting uncertainty is impacting events. While budgets play a part, evidence suggests there are other factors impacting sponsorship.

“Make your event even more successful by providing the tools your sponsors want to make their investment flourish.”


1. Authority

Events that show authority, independence, freshness will always be sought after for sponsorship. The paradigm shifts here to swing your event positioning from push to pull. Calling up, chasing, and sending proposals is perfectly acceptable when you’re trying to push the idea to the sponsorship audience. Being chased, being asked, receiving inquiries about sponsorship opportunities, often referred to as inbound, are pull activities. You are simply collecting the great results of your incredible event and event content. Brands may run their own events, but customers know there will always be a bias or a secondary objective. To set yourself apart, you really must step up your event content game and be recognized as valuable in the community, which makes your event almost inevitable as a sponsorship decision.


2. Collaterals are Worth Zilch

There is no value in a standard proposal. Innovative sponsorship programs start with the sponsor in mind, not with the dimensions of your booth or the logo size. Would you discuss the dimensions of your apartment at a first date? Instead, shift your attention to how your event can help sponsors achieve their objectives. That is why collaterals are quite worthless if mass produced. They immediately disengage your audience. They are a one-size-fits-all, generic attempt to just sell. Customization, conversation, flexibility in inventory makes sponsors happy.


3. Logo Placements

Logo placement, though still appealing to some, does not belong to the sponsorship of the future. Of course, logos on branding are nice to have but that’s all. What sponsors want is solid data. They’re after clicks, profiles, generated leads, how many people passed through their booth, how many people hung out around the stand. Do you have the technology in place to provide this data to your attendees? Have you taken advantage of the incredible number of developments in technology to support better metrics?


4. Matchmaking

Information overload is one of the biggest problems with today’s events. Some event professionals took the flourishing of online content as a stimulus to do more sessions, invite more speakers, create more tracks. How does that help sponsors? It doesn’t. They are looking to zero into those clients who can make a difference. They are not interested in noise or hundreds of people passing by. They want to be matched with those who could potentially become clients. Your job is to make this magic happen.


5. Meeting Design

Design is not decor. Design is creating a user-friendly experience where attendees, sponsors and all stakeholders get something out of the event. If you stuff an exhibition hall with hundreds of booths without rest areas, attendees are going to be in a bad mood. That means they will be negatively inclined to do business, which translates into poor sponsorship effectiveness. The actual question becomes, can you get sponsors to work with you on creating value for your attendees? Lounges, games, food... the elements that can deliver a sponsor message are endless. Innovative sponsorship leverages experiences.


In Conclusion

Innovative sponsorship programs look at the needs of attendees first. They comprehend the fundamental desires of the attendees and they offer the opportunity to provide solutions to sponsors. How can you resolve the problem of attendees waiting in line for hours? Get a sponsor to pay for registration at the airport. How can you resolve the problem of the attendees walking too much at the trade show? Get a sponsor to pay for scooters. The idea is to create practical ideas that add value to attendees while delivering relevant sponsorship messages.


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