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innovative conference sponsorship cover image showing sponsors welcome

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Conference sponsorship plays a critical role in the success of events. Not only can it ensure the financial viability of a conference and generate event revenue, but it can also enhance the attendee experience by creating opportunities for networking with industry leaders. In addition, the right sponsorship opportunities can add to the organiser’s branding efforts and strengthen industry collaboration.

However, successful sponsorship has its challenges, especially in post-pandemic times when event marketing budgets have shrunk and expectations have changed. Even before the pandemic, up to 40% of event sponsors cited a lack of tangible results as one of the main reasons to withdraw their investment.

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Implementing creative and innovative conference sponsorship ideas can help reverse this situation. This article discusses how to maximise event value through innovative conference sponsorship offerings and creative collaboration opportunities.

Reasons to consider innovative conference sponsorship

innovative conference sponsorship showing money and white sneakers on a form reading sponsored walk

Developing innovative event sponsorship ideas is beneficial to both organisers and sponsors. Partnering with sponsors can bring additional expertise, resources, and industry connections for the event organisers, especially considering that sponsors have an up-to-date pulse on the market.

The sponsors’ insights can elevate the conference experience. Their input can help shape the conference’s content, and their professional network could add diversity to the speaker line-up. Moreover, a collaborative and innovative approach to sponsorship can open doors to new revenue streams and improve overall value, positively impacting conference ROI.

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Eight ways to add value with innovative conference sponsoring options

Pre-event activations

innovative conference sponsorship showing a group of females chatting at a meeting

Sponsor branding does not have to be limited to the actual conference or the event’s landing page. The interaction between attendees and sponsors can be expanded to include the pre-event stage to create familiarity and build connections.

Consider pre-event activations in informal settings, such as an in-person or virtual fireside chat, where attendees can raise their professional concerns or share their vision and discover the sponsor’s take on these issues. This helps create a more personal connection that sets the basis for successful interactions during the event.

Wellness sessions

Health and well-being are becoming non-negotiable in today’s business world, so giving them a prominent place at a conference makes sense, even if the topic is not health-related. Wellness-themed sponsorship packages could be offered to achieve this. This can help present the conference as an educational event and an opportunity to take a break and invest in wellness.

Some ideas include sponsoring expert-led mini-sessions on mental health or sponsored yoga sessions at the end of the day’s programme or during break sessions.

Sponsored live captions

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Sponsored live captions can be an invaluable addition to conferences. By partnering with sponsors to provide live captioning services, event managers can ensure the content is accessible to a broader audience, including those with hearing impairments. Live captioning can help ensure non-native speakers can take advantage of essential points in medical or scientific conferences where complex terminology is used.

This sponsorship idea can showcase the sponsor and the organiser’s commitment to accessibility and social responsibility and generate a positive brand association.

Sponsored privacy pods

innovative conference sponsorship showing a man sitting in a privacy pod looking at his mobile phone.

In recent years, event organisers have become more sensitive to the needs of neuro-diverse attendees. In any given conference, you can be sure some participants will not feel comfortable in social settings, so there is an opportunity to make a diversity and inclusion statement with branded privacy pods.

If you choose this event sponsoring option, ensure it is widely advertised in promotional materials and as part of the event hashtags on social media platforms. Up to half of event attendees are introverts, so you will be appealing to a large audience by doing this.

Targeted matchmaking

Sponsorship ROI largely depends on matching the sponsors’ brand and offerings to the right audience. Sponsor meet & greets can be more productive if targeted, which can be achieved through event apps. Attendees can create detailed profiles outlining their areas of interest, and matchmaking algorithms will point them to the most suitable sponsor product or service.

With VR and mixed reality technology, you can open the interaction to remote participants in hybrid and online events, where sponsor-attendee connection tends to be weak due to the lack of face-to-face interaction.

In doing so, targeted matchmaking can transform the traditional sponsorship model into a strategic partnership-building experience for all parties involved.

Digital goodie bags

innovative conference sponsorship showing an open hand with a virtual NFT above the hand

NFTs or non-fungible tokens can introduce a unique and innovative element to goodie or swag bags, which have already been used at some events. Instead of traditional physical items, attendees could receive digital NFTs representing exclusive access to unique experiences or sponsored assets in the metaverse.

For example, delegates could receive an NFT with the sponsor’s logo at a medical conference that grants them access to a private virtual panel discussion with renowned medical professionals.

Branded charging stations

Charging stations at event venues are guaranteed good visibility since most attendees must charge their devices at least once during the event. Different options here include branded lockers offering added security or charging stations combined with other sponsorship opportunities, like “grab a (sponsored) healthy snack while your phone charges”.

Concierge services

innovative conference sponsorship showing two hostesses at the door of a restaurant

If you are not using a virtual assistant, a sponsored concierge ready to assist delegates throughout the entire event can reinforce the value of personal attention and human interaction. This option may be especially welcome at international conferences that draw attendees from other parts of the world. It can also be helpful at events in their first edition or relocating to a new venue after several years.

Conclusion

Innovative conference sponsorship techniques can help maximise conference value for both organisers and sponsors. By implementing the strategies discussed in this article, event organisers can create mutually beneficial partnerships that enhance attendee experiences, generate revenue through higher ticket sales, and establish long-lasting relationships with sponsors.

The Congrex team is ready to assist you in implementing these and other techniques. Get in touch for more details.

 

 

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