Building partnerships that benefit attendees and brands
Sponsorships are a great way to add value to any show. And when done well, everyone benefits: organizers, exhibitors, and attendees. But with changing audience expectations, and budgets being watched more closely, smart event managers are reimagining the standard sponsorship package. Since brands and budgets run the gamut, it’s a good idea to offer a wide variety giving every potential partner an opportunity to sign on whether it’s a logo placement or a full-on, branded activation.
So, here are five ways to break through sales barriers while boosting the value of your sponsorships (and show) at the same time. Cha-ching!
Start by looking at the objectives of your event, exhibitors, and attendees. Then, work to align sponsorship offerings with your specific industry, audience, location, and obviously the venue. Consider every surface and environment as a potential blank canvas for sponsorship activations. Think long hallways, expansive windows, columns, atriums, recharge areas, etc. Any and all of these places can be fertile places to craft activations that resonate with attendees.
At SXSW this past March, the expo floor repurposed a large section of space to create a sponsored yoga/meditation area that included expert led sessions along with open slots for quiet reflection. And remember to get outside the venue, literally and figuratively. A branded fun run can encourage attendees to network while they sweat. Plus, other partners can get in on the fun by integrating offers and messages during or following the race.
Work with your sponsors to create unique, interactive ways audiences can interact with branded activities and displays to create more memorable experiences. Experiment with activations in unexpected, in-between spaces like venue entrances, hallways, patios, etc. Test different options and ideas to expand exhibitor options and drive revenue. Looking for something sustainable? Consider a custom water bottle station. At Zoomtopia, a sponsored activation featured a live graffiti artist customizing water bottles for attendees leading to a long line of eager and thirsty attendees ready to snag a personalized vessel.
Potential partners are evaluating multiple opportunities for sponsorship, so how can you make your offerings stand out? Map out what you can provide as part of the deal with things like detailed data on your attendee/audience base, discovery sessions to help build out a custom program, personalized solutions to meet their unique challenges, and data tracking during the event with a post-event report.
Help your potential partners buy in by creating simple, all-in-one packages. But also, be flexible by allowing them to build something tailored for their unique needs. When building packages, consider what’s most important for your target prospects and how this package can help achieve goals such as brand awareness, thought leadership opportunities beyond an exhibit, building pipeline, product trials, updating a contact database, closing deals, etc.
Find the objective, then design the activation.
That can go in reverse, too. For a recent event, the organizer was brainstorming ideas with a potential partner when it came up that the incoming attendee age was substantially younger than in years past. Together they came up with the idea to create a branded space for professional headshots knowing that free shots would attract younger attendees who may not have one as well as more seasoned visitors looking for an upgrade.
Help make the process as simple (and repeatable!) as possible. Offer ongoing support, frequently asked questions, and be willing to brainstorm as the program develops. For sponsors who know what they want fast, offer a self-serve element so they can plug-and-play to get started right away.
The best thing about creative sponsorship packages and offerings is they have the flexibility to benefit everyone: the planner, sponsor, and attendee. When the sponsored offerings are win-win-win, your event can’t lose.
Reach out and request a consultation.
Reach out and request a consultation.