Event sponsorship is a crucial aspect of event planning due to its ability to connect brands with their ideal audience and to increase exposure. However, because event marketing is getting more competitive by the day, meeting professionals and conference planners often struggle to secure a sponsorship agreement.
Creating an exceptional proposal is the first step in the process of securing sponsorship, so in this article, we list six event sponsorship guidelines that conference organisers and event planners can implement to make their proposal truly remarkable.
1. Make it about the sponsor
Sponsorship has to be mutually beneficial, but when presenting an event sponsorship opportunity, the focus should be on the sponsor. Research what they want to achieve, at what stage their business is, and spell out how your offer and conference planning efforts fit into the picture. Keep in mind that visibility and brand recognition are not always what sponsors are after. Some may want to establish authority, others may be focused on driving sales, and others want to test new products or services. You can then use this knowledge to personalise tier sponsorship options.
2. Focus on relationships
There’s a clear quantitative aspect to sponsorship, but if you only present the proposal in terms of output (logo placement, banners, digital signage, etc.), sponsorship becomes a this-for-that exchange. A more effective approach would entail ensuring you understand your sponsor’s goals and creating an event sponsorship package that’s an asset in relation to those goals. Sponsor’s logo placements don’t necessarily lead to sales, but giving them the chance to meet the right people and establish meaningful connections are more likely to do so. Your proposal could offer the sponsor the option of running a short workshop or sponsoring a social event, and explain how that will generate leads.
3. Reframe event sponsorship
It’s common to conceptualise sponsorship as something directly linked to event ROI and budgets. Clearly, sponsorship is about money, but not exclusively. In fact, it could be detrimental to frame sponsorship in terms of costs. However, if you can drive the conversation around value instead of costs, the chances to secure event sponsorship increase exponentially. Ensure the language used in the proposal doesn’t focus on money (sponsors don’t want to be seen as sources of free money) but on impact and relationship building. In other words, don’t sell them sponsorship packages, sell them access to a hyper-targeted audience.
4. Find a common ground
Find a common ground between what the sponsor wants and the challenges you have to overcome as the organiser. For example, increasing attendance numbers is always a priority for organisers, as there’s a growing number of events competing for attention. Some event planners have seen a solution in offering digital attendance via live-streaming, which can be available on social media platforms and/or via the event website. Sponsoring this particular aspect of the event can give exposure to the sponsor while growing your own revenue as the organiser.
5. Make an impact with event technology
Sponsoring an experience enabled by event technology can keep attendees engaged and add to the event’s reputation. This is also useful for delegates since technology delivers an immersive experience generates through powerful sensory channels and can make information easier to absorb. For example, a proposal to sponsor an event in the not-for-profit sector can include a Virtual Reality experience that takes attendees on a simulation to the places where the association is helping change lives.
6. What delegates want
A standout proposal should demonstrate you know the audience inside out. For instance, delegates need time and space to digest information, so make it easy for them to find it by creating dedicated space at the event venue and offering sponsorship opportunities that cover that. At the same time, a relaxed state of mind can make attendees more receptive to messages, including the message the sponsor wants to relay.
These guidelines can help you get a solid proposal that gets the attention it deserves. Once you put together a standout proposal, you’ll be able to unlock the value of your event and build solid relationships that open up opportunities both for you and the sponsor.
Congrex Switzerland is an internationally operating agency delivering customised solutions. This encompasses the overall organisation of conferences and meetings including the management of hotel rooms and the strategic consultancy. Annually Congrex Switzerland organises approximately 45 events with over 73’000 delegates. Amongst our clients are international associations, governmental organisations and corporations. Get in touch with Congrex.