How To Improve Your Sponsorship Strategy Using Technology

September 18, 2019

Modern event sponsorship strategies are a dime a dozen. Each one is based on a learning from a different time and place. The strategy might have stemmed from a previous experience or a past position; or it may be a combination of strategies that pull together most efficient and effective parts.

When developing your event sponsorship strategy, you do not want to leave revenue on the table. There are two (obvious) ways to maximize your net revenue: increase your sponsorship revenue and reduce event expenses.

While you can achieve this goal in many ways, a few strategies hold true over time. Take a look.

Understanding and Value

One of the most effective ways to drive sponsorship revenue is to increase the value you’re providing to exhibitors. To do so, understand why they are exhibiting at your event in the first place. Too often we assume their goals are to showcase products and gain new leads. While this is usually true, they may be seeking additional value from your event, and you can use that to create a customized sponsorship package for that organization. Creating a solution tailored to a client’s need helps you deepen a relationship with your exhibitor by demonstrating that you listen, that you care and that you want to help them grow their business at your event. When they grow, you grow.

Show organizers can sometimes feel the need to be the most creative person in the world. Coming up with original sponsorships is not easy, nor is it always necessary. A conversation with your exhibitor can often be what is needed to spark the sponsorship idea. Save yourself the brain energy and have an open dialogue with your exhibitors.

Transparent Cost Cutting

Custom sponsorships, while effective, can also be costly for show organizers. Consider whether the goal of your sponsorship program is to be profitable or increase revenue; they are not one and the same.

An association may answer this question differently than a for-profit organization. The profit margin for your event may need to be 20 percent, while for others, it needs it to be 50 percent or higher. Determine that margin and the leeway you have before coming up with the custom options.

Once you have a standard percentage, it's easy to put together a package knowing the costs and setting the price. This cuts down on back and forth time internally, which increases the time you can spend on working with other exhibitors or managing the overall event. Develop a streamlined process based on set standards to improve efficiency and reduce complexity.

That said, transparency does not mean you must show all your cards to an exhibitor. Commit to increasing transparency on your internal team and be clear how much can and should be shared with the client ahead of time.

Time Savings

While increasing revenue and efficiency is important, your team’s time is a crucial resource that must be managed wisely. Create a strategy that encourages autonomy and a self-serve approach to your event sponsorships, which means that you do not have to actively sell them. Your team will still need to provide communication about the offering and value of the sponsorships, but you post these directly to your online sponsorship directory and let the magic of self-serve sales happen.

Utilize your event technology to develop a suite of sponsorship options and use an online contract to alleviate the amount of back and forth required. Fulfillment will take time, but why waste your time on items that can be easily marketed through digital campaigns and sold self-serve through your event tech?

The Bottom Line

Focus on the what your exhibitors truly want from your event to develop a compelling and valuable sponsorship program. Focusing on your exhibitors’ needs will be the most effective time you spend on your event. It will not only increase your sponsorship revenue, but help you identify opportunities to bring on new exhibitors as well.

This double-edged strategy will help your event grow from multiple angles including exhibitors, sponsorships, attendees and possibly new verticals. And remember that—when they grow, your event grows.

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Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact