Sponsorship plays a huge role in events of all types and sizes today. As an event planner, you may find that today, most event sponsors generate new sales leads, meet new contacts and raise awareness of their brand, products or services as a result of attending and sponsoring a trade show or conference year over year.
Surveys show that most sponsors plan to continue to renew their sponsorship again in the future due to all of the above mentioned reasons, but the most important thing to keep in mind are the types of sponsorships offered. You are placing your sponsors in front of their target audience, so making sure your sponsorship package has unique offerings is a key to creating a successful event not only for you, but for your sponsors as well.
Level the Sponsorship Playing Field
The best way to get your sponsors to sign up for the best of the best sponsorship packages is to create golden nugget packages that are exclusive and minimal. Start out by creating tiered levels that offer anything and everything your sponsors could dream of. For example, you could do Diamond, Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze tiered packages, and generate early bird buzz around selling these opportunities on a first come first serve basis. Of course, you want to offer these packages to your sponsors from previous years first, and then open the playing field to everyone.
Make sure the higher tiered packages only have 5-10 packages available, and the lower levels have more –this will make the higher level sponsors feel like they are VIPS – plus, they are getting more real estate for their booths, more branding opportunities, passes to the event, promotional opportunities, and additional add-ons you can decide on as you put together the prospectus.
Stick to the Theme
When creating additional sponsorship packages, be creative, but remember to stick to the theme of the event. For tech events, have a branded cell phone charging kiosk, or Wi-Fi networking lounge – these are both great for networking and mingling with prospects.
For larger trade shows, a great idea seen recently are International Pavilion kiosks – here you can have an entire area to support both individual and group international companies desiring a presence in the expo hall. It’s a great way to meet prospects or contacts from other countries that you have been working with, or have wanted to speak with.
Give ThemWhat They Want
Most of the time, sponsors want to cut to the chase, and get in front of the crowd. They know what they want, and have made a plan of action well in advance of attending the event. For these go-getters, provide them with sponsorships that have meaning, such as sponsored workshops, or a sponsored roundtable – both are great opportunities to speak in front of customers, partners or prospects in an intimate setting.
Getting in front of your target audience in a smaller crowd is key to tell your story, and get imperative points across, without having to worry about speaking in large crowds, or even worse in the middle of an expo show floor among thousands of tradeshow attendees. As long as the sponsor is as committed as you are to good content (rather than a sales pitch) this can be a win-win situation. Having that one-on-one sponsorship time with the perfect audience is what’s most important.
Be Edgy and Fun
Other sponsors may want to take a branded approach to the event, so offer party promotion packages – these should include a place to host a party, social and brand promotion leading up to and during the party, and email promotions to event attendees to drive traffic to the party.
Other brand packages can include a happy hour and pub-crawl opportunity, where sponsors can shine as the go-to booth of choice for a beverage at the end of the day! Or offer a relaxation station package– we all know how long tradeshows can be, so offer an area with massage chairs and make this a branded opportunity for one of your event sponsors! Everyone will love them!
There are so many fun and unique sponsorship opportunities you can create as an event planner for your events. Make sure you go above and beyond when putting these packages together. Think through every detail of each package – what would YOU want if you were spending additional dollars beyond the tradeshow booth for a sponsorship package? How would you want to leverage your brand at the show, and stand out from the crowd?
If you’re wanting to make a splash, go big and mix things up – try a speaking package along with a party package – trust me, nobody will forget you by the end of the event, and they will certainly be talking about you as the event rolls around the next year! Remember to choose a sponsorship that works well for your brand, don’t over do it (unless that’s what works best for you), and stay true to your values.