Why sponsor an event? Well, most businesses strive to generate revenue and acquire new customers.
However, in today’s world businesses bombard people with multiple intrusive marketing messages. On a daily basis, no less. The effectiveness of traditional push-advertising is slowly declining.
It is becoming much more difficult for businesses to get heard or noticed in the today’s background noise. Whilst receiving a huge number of selling pitches, people have learnt to ignore the distracting content that surrounds them.
Moreover, traditional advertising is a unidirectional channel. The recipient sees a message. And based on the initial content decides whether it is worth exploring the product or the service, clicking on the link or looking further into this.
In reality, few people like to be on the receiving end of a cliche sales pitch. But we all crave attention and a personalized approach.
It is becoming more and more apparent that a unidirectional advert fails to influence a potential customer in the same way that marketing channels based on interaction can.
Creating a quality dialogue between a brand and its potential customers can be achieved by moving away from the traditional forms of advertising and by experimenting with a different and a more effective marketing channel — Event Sponsorship.
Event sponsorship allows companies to reach specific audiences and build long-lasting relationships with clients.
What is event sponsorship?
Event sponsorship can be defined as — financial support of an event used to achieve certain business goals such as receiving recognition or increasing brand awareness. Unlike other forms of advertising, which frequently intrude (unwanted), event sponsorship allows consumers and businesses to connect. Connect with meaningful real-time interaction.
Why should you consider sponsoring an event?
According to a recent study, 72% of consumers positively view brands that provide quality event experiences and 74% of respondents admit that engaging with brands that create memorable moments makes them much more likely to buy their product.
The numbers point us to the fact that being the right kind of sponsor means much more to your target audience than being just an advertiser.
This is a great way to demonstrate your authority as an industry expert and consequently get heard. One can definitely gain credibility and respect by providing good quality engaging content around relevant events.
Moreover, sponsorship helps generate awareness around your brand and get additional exposure through various media channels. Also being a less intrusive form of marketing enables event sponsorship to create trust between the brand and the customers more easily.
Benefits of sponsorship
Slowly but surely it is becoming more evident that investing in experiences and building strong relationships is much wiser than spending money on advertising spaces. Being under the same roof and engaging with hundreds or thousands of potential customers offers greater return on investment in the first place.
So what are the benefits event sponsorship can bring your business?
Direct access to your target market.
If you carefully chose the right event you can be sure that sponsorship will bring your target audience directly to you.
People who attend meetings are there to learn from and interact with industry professionals. Consequently, they are more open to new services and products which can be a great opportunity for the brand to present their latest inventions and collect new contacts.
The target audience is much more likely to be converted into customers, especially if the personalised approach is used.
Building a reputation.
Sponsoring an event is a good way to demonstrate an expertise in a certain field and build a brand reputation.
Event sponsorship enables businesses and organisations to receive more media coverage. However, when choosing an event it is important to pay attention to the timing to ensure that your event is not just one of the many during that week.
New clients and customers.
Face-to-face interaction is an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to getting new customers.
New business partnerships.
Events are not only great for generating leads but also for finding new partners and meeting like-minded professionals.
Better perception by your target audience.
Direct communication with your target market brings your brand closer to your customers, makes people relate to it on a personal level and blurs all those boundaries. When sponsoring a charity event, for example, you will be associated with positive experiences and the audience will perceive you as a socially responsible brand.
Strengthening customer relationships through face-to-face interaction is another big advantage of sponsoring events.
On-site activities and networking make the community more involved with your brand.
The key is to determine which of these goals are the priority for your business. Is it sales? Or is strengthening the relationships with your current clients is what really matters at the moment.
This brings us onto an important point of measuring your return on your investment (ROI). Remember, only by setting clear goals will you be able to determine the success of your decision to sponsor a particular event.
Now with the purpose of sponsoring an event being clear, it’s time to choose an event.
Choosing an event…
As discussed above, one of the first things you should decide on is what your main goals are. This will, of course, influence the type of events you will offer to sponsor.
Find out as much as possible about the event you wish to sponsor. Find out what kind of sponsors did they have in the past? Did they change from year to year or was there some form of consistency. Always verify how successful the events were. You can do this by reading overviews, paying attention to attendees’ feedback or analysing attendance. Remember that the event you choose must fit your brand ideology.
Who are the attendees? Are they your target audience? How many attendees are going to be there? What are their demographics? This should be your priority as these are the people with whom you will build relationships.
What value does sponsoring this event bring? Will it help you meet your goals? In order to determine whether the event is worth the investment, it is important to understand what you will get as a sponsor:
- Logos and web banners
- Presentation opportunities and on-stage mentions
- Event app
- Opportunity to organise activities and engage the audience
Does the sponsorship offer exclusivity? What is the promotional plan? Don’t forget to ask about the opportunities to engage with the audience before and after the event — via email, social media or the event app.
You don’t want to spend your whole marketing budget on a single event. Therefore, prepare a list of events you are considering to sponsor. Carefully evaluate your business goals, sponsorship packages and their respective costs and analyse the pros and cons for each of the opportunities. Take your time to think about whether you have enough resources in order to make the most of the event you have chosen.
The above steps should help you pick the right event which will be in line with your business goals and provide a good ROI.
Do not advertise — impart knowledge
Now that the event has been chosen, you have to think about how to get the most of it. While traditional booths, logos and banners will give you some exposure, do not forget about the attendees first approach.
Event managers continue to use outdated sponsorship ideas such as organising meals or printing sponsor’s logo on t-shirts and goody bags. Let’s be honest creating connections with your target audience through branded materials is not very effective.
While traditional booths, logos and banners will give you some exposure, do not forget about the attendees firstapproach.
Try to remember that the main reason why people attend live events is for interacting with like-minded professionals and staying up-to-date with the latest industry news. Therefore, don’t become just another passive sponsor and do not leave it all to event organisers.
First of all, promote the sponsorship on your networks. You can cover this information in one of your blog posts, mention it in your podcast, share on social media or through an email.
Secondly, do some research about your audience. And the reasons that made them attend this particular event.
- What do they expect to get from it?
- What can you offer to enhance their experience?
- And how to avoid annoying them with your marketing messages?
Finally, having the attendees’ objectives for the event in mind, prepare a well thought through content strategy beforehand. Invite good speakers who are experts in the field and who are able to engage the audience and form that bridge between them and your brand.
Invest time and effort into the content you are going to share with the attendees before, during and after the event.
Check that the presentations are ready, schedule social media posts, prepare topics to be discussed during the event via the event app or a Social Wall and think carefully of the questions you would like to ask the audience.
Live events are a great opportunity to directly connect with your target audience and engage with the attendees on-site.
Therefore, organising short courses or master classes will allow you to share the knowledge and to provide more opportunities for networking and communication. You will receive valuable feedback and appreciation in return.
Today with the help of event technology it is easier than ever to engage with the audience, not only on-site but remotely and in real time. Interactive presentations, digital scribing features, sponsored live streaming or advantages that a dedicated managed wifi solution can offer provide attendees with great experiences and help you collect important data that will showcase the results of your effort.
Sponsoring live events allows you to not only communicate with the audience on-site but to also keep in touch with all those attending via social media or an event app before and after the event. Ask the organiser to provide you with the list of attendee emails or think of sponsoring an event app and using that.
Why do many sponsors fail?
We have spoken about the fact that sponsorship and advertising are two different things. A lot of event sponsorship fails because it doesn’t bring any value to the event or its attendees.
Moreover, very often the traditional sponsorship marketing efforts damage the company’s reputation as instead of enhancing the whole experience, the distracting adverts diminish the fun.
Often sponsors are dissatisfied with their investment as they expect instant results and fail to maintain communication with the audience after the event over. H
owever, building loyal communities requires time and effort, and sponsoring an event is only the starting point in this journey. Albeit, a good starting point.
The format of conferences and trade shows is constantly changing as do the attendees and their goals.
Therefore, traditional speaker — attendee — sponsor approach might not be the most effective one anymore.
Modern attendees, just like modern students, are no longer interested in passive learning. They expect sponsors and organisers to provide them with great interactive content, a personalised approach and opportunities to network and relate to other professionals.
How does technology help you reach your objectives?
When sponsoring a conference your main focus must be on enhancing the attendee experience by creating and nourishing a community of people that share the same interests and adding value to your audience by providing practical and emotionally engaging content.
Event apps can be a great tool in helping you achieve these goals by enabling you to disseminate valuable content to your target audience and engage the attendees through the intuitive networking and sharing features.
Sponsoring an event app provides a number of advantages. Especially when it comes to managing content and connecting with your target audience.
An all-in-one content management and communication platform will provide speakers and attendees with an easy to use tool for finding content and sharing opinions. This tool will enable you to build your expertise and change the way your brand is perceived.
Attendees can share content through direct messaging, discussion boards or in person by arranging one-to-one meetings. Speakers can share presentations, upload documents and other files, use the Social Wall or engage their audience in real-time through live polling and digital scribing. As a sponsor you can do all of the above mentioned and even more by sending timely push notifications, setting topics for discussion boards and sharing the information about your brand through social media.
Networking and communication.
By providing a centralised communication tool to your target audience you will be aware of what your audience is talking about, what their interests are and how you can satisfy their curiosity.
Live polling and questionnaires will help you understand your audience and better evaluate the return on investment.
Sharing content on the Social Wall gives more visibility to the posts, increases social media following and gives more exposure to the brand and the products. Digital live scribing enables to create an emotional connection between speakers and attendees and make your brand more memorable.
Your investment must be carefully measured through a range of metrics and outcomes available via event technology. This will ensure you understand what worked well and what was not that great and needs to be improved next time.
Through sponsoring an event app you will be able to grow a loyal community around your brand and the related events throughout the year.
There other technologies that are worth mentioning and that can further improve your event sponsorship experiences. One of them is sponsored live streaming, which allows you to turn a conference into a hybrid event reaching those people who weren’t able to attend. Virtual and augmented reality sets can be used for product demonstrations. Turning to a professional managed wifi provider not only will provide you with sufficient bandwidth to handle thousands of simultaneously connected devices but will also offer valuable data about those attending the event.
Measure the value of your sponsorship
According to a study conducted by the Association of National Advertisers, a quarter of event marketers do not gather, analyse or use data in sponsorship decision-making. Those who do evaluate the results on their sponsorship efforts consider a few things.
- Product or service sales.
- The amount of media exposure generated.
- Brand awareness.
- And attitudes towards the brand.
Consider these among the most valuable metrics for measuring the effectiveness of the sponsorship.
Measuring your success will help justify the investment, understand what works best for you and make better sponsorship decisions in the future.
Therefore, after the event is over it is time to revisit your sponsorship goals and evaluate the return you got from the money spent.
This can be measured in two ways.
Through financial gains or through evaluating the return on engagement (ROE), which relates to the overall brand experience.
Choosing the right event tech can facilitate the measurement of ROE. Which at first may seem like a daunting task. Professional wifi providers can collect the attendees’ behavioral data. And reveal target market interests, such as what web pages were viewed and how much time attendees spent on each of them.
Event apps can provide you with real numbers on your audience engagement.
Allowing you to see:
- Adoption rate.
- The number of profile views.
- Live polling.
- Questionnaire results.
- And post likes and shares.
Sponsoring an event app will also enable real-time insight into attendee participation.
You will know:
- The most popular conversations.
- How many messages were posted during the event.
- And which of them generated more buzz.
These, of course, will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your investment. And base all of your future sponsorship decisions on real data.
Modern consumers want a more personalized approach. And as a result the effectiveness of unidirectional marketing channels continues to decrease.
Nevertheless, live experiences can provide brands and organizations with the opportunity to connect directly with their target audience. And build long-term relationships with their customers.
Sponsoring an event is a great way of:
- Acquiring new clients.
- Building a corporate reputation.
- And Increasing your organization’s visibility.
Two important things to remember when looking for sponsorship opportunities is to choose the right event and to carefully prepare the content strategy. Defining clear goals will help achieve the required return on investment and make better sponsorship decisions in the future.