The environment in which we operate, when we sell the main elements of our events, is exceptionally dynamic, and our tried and tested processes and now being tested. And they are straining to cope.
However, there is good news: the best events are GROWING their sponsorship and brands are spending MORE money sponsoring events. A new event sponsorship strategy is the key! The question and the challenge with you event sponsorship is how to win it and then keep it!
For many developing a new event sponsorship strategy is a huge challenge
The environment in which most of us promote our events has become harder over the lat few years for three main reasons:
- We have much more competition, events are everywhere!
- We have faced a downwards push on revenue from cost focussed sponsors
- We now have a grower pool of sponsors actually measuring their ROI at your event
- Over 50% of event planners admit that they are struggling to secure event sponsorship.
- Many event planners will say that these three challenges have always been with us, but I am sure few would argue, that competition has risen and sponsors have become more demanding in recent years.
To respond individual event organisers should focus on two key areas. Firstly, to design their event with the sponsors in mind and at the earliest opportunity Placing the idea of sponsorship into our events so early, is likely to be a step change in event sponsorship strategy for many organisers. Our training and our experience tells us to produce an event, and if we attract the right number and type of attendees, then we will find it easy to attract sponsors. If we don’t, we will not find things so easy. If you succeed in filling those attendee slots at your event, then simply offer some logo placement and sponsors will come calling.
I am happy to admit, that this is a rather simplistic scenario – selling sponsorship has never been easy – but I hope I am making my point; there was a process in place which most organisers followed.
This process may have worked for many events in the past, however, it is clear that this approach is now having less success. Hopefully we are now thinking about sponsors at the early stage of our event design. So what should event organisers do to secure more event sponsorship?
The next step is to think about how we support our sponsors to “participate”. Sponsors are much less willing to simply sit on the sidelines at our events. Sponsors are now very aware that they receive more value from an event if they are seen as participating and ADDING VALUE to the event.
This is a major shift in just the last few years. Previously most sponsors were willing to be “seen” at events, and they measured their ROI on this basis. But not so now.
So, if you are following along, firstly, you have decided to think about sponsors at the early stage of your event design and now you are in fact considering how to have them participate. If this is the case, the first big question to ask, is:
Have your event packages taken into account, the major change from sponsors wanting to be “seen” to actually “participating” in your event?
Rather than just answer the question, why not actually take the time now, to look over your packages or standard offer to sponsors.
Well, are you still offering sponsors at your event the opportunity to be “seen” (with logo placement on printed and online material and at the event) or are you offering more “participate” ways to be involved at your event (speaking and charing slots, interactive spaces, content creation)?
Taking that first big step in changing your overall approach to engagement of sponsors will set you off on a path that will eventually lead to high initial engagement and more retention of sponsors. Removing “your logo will appear here” from your packages and replacing them with more engagement is a big step, however, those planners who are engaging their sponsors are finding sponsors easier to find and much, much more sticky.
Gallus Events is running two “creative” event courses for event organisers. CREATIVELY ENGAGING A CONFERENCE AUDIENCE takes place in Edinburgh, 13th September and CREATIVE EVENT SALES, SPONSORSHIP & MARKETING takes place in Glasgow on 10th November. Both full day creative courses are only £250 + VAT. Visit the website to find out more.