How To Improve Your Sponsorship Strategy Using Technology
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.
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.