There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to convention sponsorship. For many years, it involved brands shelling out dollars for exposure at conventions that catered to their target audiences. Now, with data and technology bringing advertisers closer to their audiences, brands expect to see clear and conclusive evidence that sponsorships yield sufficient return on investment.
The good news is that sponsorship spending is forecast to surpass other forms of marketing and advertising in 2019, according to an IEG report. But with increased spend, there will be that much more pressure on convention organizers to make sure their events are appealing to brands.
Organizers on the hunt for sponsors must show direct ROI in order to build fruitful partnerships with brands. You need to prove that you’re able to develop and nurture sponsorship relationships and build stronger, longer-lasting connections with your attendees than other advertising channels.
These three strategies to get the most out of a sponsor partnership:
1. Don’t Lead with Email
Resist the urge to begin a sponsor relationship by flooding email inboxes with your initial proposal. Start your dialogue with decision makers through more personal communication, either at networking events or via social media. Nurture those relationships with one-on-one discussions to get to the heart of what the sponsor wants.
Once a proposal is requested, use email to present a tailored pitch that addresses everything you’ve discussed. Make it responsive to the conversations you’ve had. This tactic ensures that your sponsor proposal stands out from the crowd and can make your event one that decision makers remember.
2. Use Customized Packages Instead of One-Size-Fits-All Proposals
Loading up sponsorship tiers with assets sponsors don’t actually need or request is an outdated approach. Instead, build packages that target the sponsors’ specific potential necessity (branding, on-site exposure, experiential, etc.).
Then, present these options to your contacts so they can choose the tier that provides them the best ROI for their needs. Tailor the package to reflect the organization’s goals to immediately demonstrate value to sponsors and to begin building the foundation of a lasting partnership.
3. Maintain the Momentum Afterward
An Eventbrite study found that 40 percent of event creators say evaluating sponsorship ROI is one of the two biggest challenges they face. If you want your sponsorship opportunities to have a lasting impact, continue to remind partners of the value and ROI your event provides even after it concludes.
Collect feedback and keep the lines of communication open about what did or didn’t work at the event. These follow-ups let you relay results to the sponsor and ask pointed questions that yield the answers you need for future opportunities. You can then take that information and integrate it into your overall strategy to show sponsors you value the relationship and want to continue growing it.
The best results will come only if you’re willing to put in the relational work to make sponsorships truly meaningful for your partners. Offer a comprehensive and long-lasting sponsorship program to give your event its best bet to maximize its impact.
Ronnie Higgins works at Eventbrite, helping event planners level-up their registration game. Born and raised in New Orleans, he enjoys nothing more than helping people get together—whether it’s for a conference, class, or a citywide party like Mardi Gras.