Event sponsorship: why you’re probably doing it wrong

Six tips to make your next sponsorship a success

How do you get the most out of your event sponsorship? Surprisingly, few people even ask this question but it’s crucial to make sure you haven’t wasted that sponsorship fee.

Many are guilty of assuming that as soon as the sponsor fee is paid, the hard work is done. In reality, it has only just begun. While the detailed sponsorship manual provided by the event organisers looks comprehensive, it’s actually only about 25 per cent of what you need to make the event successful.

The key is return on investment (ROI). It’s essential to remember that your branding at the event will, to a large extent, determine your ROI. Don’t forget, your competitors are all under the same roof, so if your booth looks unprofessional or poorly-organised, that’s very bad for you and very good for your competitors.

It’s so easy for your prospects to compare you against your competition, so you should take the event very seriously.

So where do you start?

  1. Plan, plan, and plan. Create a detailed run sheet and, in the first column, list out every single item you need to deliver (even down to sticky tape, scissors, and a permanent marker). Then, break it down even further. For example, don’t just put “brochures”; list out every brochure you want to have at the stand, and note any printing and content or design work that is required. Your spreadsheet should include each item’s status, owner, and due date.
  2. Messaging. Know what you want to say and who you want to say it to. Don’t try to sell everything at once. Instead, pick a solution that is most relevant to the event and then determine exactly who you want to talk to. Try to avoid wasting time with tyre-kickers.
  3. Be prepared to spend more money. It might sound crazy when you’ve just spent around $50K on the booth alone. But, if you don’t make it appealing, then you’ve wasted every cent. Think about what will appeal to your target market. Competitions, giveaways, and specials are great ways to encourage people to visit your booth. Don’t forget, appearances really do matter and the way your booth looks will make a huge difference. It’s worth spending a bit extra to ensure your branding is on target and stands out, and your booth has that little something extra that makes people talk about it.
  4. Don’t put your brand on landfill. Try not to get too caught up in the world of meaningless merchandise. Whatever you offer as a giveaway should reflect who you are as a company. If you’re going to buy some branded merchandise, think about what people are likely to actually use. For example, people do tend to use pens, water bottles, and travel mugs. They tend to throw away key chains, snap bands, and squishy clouds.
  5. Remember why you’re there. Events can be exhausting, especially after you’ve put so much work into the preparation. But don’t let all your hard work be undone by a lack of motivation and professionalism at your booth. Look smart and don’t forget to smile. You want delegates to approach you.
  6. Capture leads. Ultimately, the goal of any event is to capture and convert leads, so don’t overlook this part. A great way to capture leads is with a written form. Print out a heap for the stand and capture contact information by hand. For genuine leads, this is a lot more personal than a lead scanner or putting a business card in a fish bowl. This way, you can see exactly what the prospect is interested in and you can follow up accordingly after the event. 10 written forms with contact information and interests is worth 100 contacts in a lead scanner!

If you have an event coming up, contact us today to find out how we can help you maximise your investment.