Event sponsors take many shapes and sizes. You could be looking for a bank to reserve the biggest stand at your finance exhibition. Perhaps you run a comic convention and need an online comic store to front the official event app.
Finding sponsors can be tricky, but not impossible. A good way around the identification phase is to look for companies that have certain objectives.
People sponsor events because they feel they can get something out of them. For example, if their goal is to introduce their brand to a new market, they will look to sponsor an event in that territory.
To help you identify companies that sponsor events, here are some of their likely goals:
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You may not even realise it, but your event could be perfect for getting crowds of people to notice a brand or a product.
Whether it’s through your app, on-site screens, advertising or event brochure – there are lots of different areas where you can place a logo and generate thousands of physical “impressions” while your event is happening.
This works for small gatherings, too, provided they have a targeted and valuable audience. Companies that sponsor events often want to draw people to their brand, and there is no harm in drumming up interest with key stakeholders and influencers.
Pro tip: Businesses tend to invest heavily in awareness-building exercises when they’re just starting out. The same applies to more established firms that are releasing a new product or service. Ask yourself – do they need the publicity?
Building thought-leadership content
While people tend to associate the tactic of “content marketing” with written editorial, events offer a compelling version of the same approach.
Through workshops, presentations and roundtables, sponsors have a platform to align themselves with popular, relevant topics. For example, if I sell anti-virus software to large corporations, I should be leaping at the chance to deliver a presentation on cyber security or data protection.
Thought leadership is the marriage of content and corporations. Events should recognise the value of their agenda, or risk losing big sponsorship opportunities.
Pro tip: Videoing or blogging about paid-for sessions will prolong their lifespan while bringing them out to a whole new audience. This also helps when negotiating with sponsors, who will naturally want to get more for their money.
Capturing leads (data) and sales
Ask companies that sponsor events what they really want from their investment and expect a mention of the “golden words” – sales, leads or both.
Getting someone’s attention is ideal, but you can’t finance a business on it. Data (e.g. email addresses, phone numbers) is key to achieving ROI from events. If one of your sponsors didn’t quite hit their target for leads, they might struggle to justify any further involvement.
Thankfully there are a few different ways of connecting attendees and sponsors. It’s common for event wi-fi access to require opting into receiving communications from a sponsor. Competitions are another method of gleaning data like email addresses in a subtle manner. Exhibitors will also take it upon themselves to capture details, through smart devices positioned on their stand or by swapping business cards for free gifts.
Pro tip: If you are passing attendee information onto a sponsor, always ask their permission. A failure to do this could seriously damage your reputation.
Responses for research
Most organisations are too frugal to be spending money on products or services that turn out to be flops. Prior to taking the leap, they will often look to research as a way of testing the appetite for their latest creation. Your event could be the perfect place for them to take a core sample from a relevant crowd.
This also applies to research on entire markets. It’s hard to ask thousands of people to answer a few work-related questions during some of their busiest hours of the day. That’s why so many companies that sponsor events will conduct surveys on their stand, where people can usually spare a few minutes.
Pro tip: Integrating a sponsor’s questions into your app could make it easier for people to fill out their survey. Just remember to offer a prize to encourage a better rate of responses.