Enhance Your Event ROI & Strategy With Sponsorships

By: Mark Fisher
Group of event attendees listening to an event sponsor keynote

If you’re not already adding sponsored components to your conference, you’re missing out on a great way to generate extra revenue to offset costs.

A well-rounded marketing sponsorship program can do just that, and add more valuable aspects (like credibility and increased exposure) to your overall event experience. Plus, sponsorship programs can create memorable experiences for your organization, the attendees as well as the sponsors.

So where do you begin? Evolving your Sponsor Marketing Program. Read on to understand what this means and discover how you can support one.

Let Sponsors Interact Like Influencers

Imagine your conference filled with your valued “influencers” versus valued “sponsors.” This approach can add many new layers to your program. An influencer can become an integral part of your event marketing outreach.

The more a sponsor participates in the conference, from the content to input on future programs, the more you increase their vested interest in the success of your program.

When you look at your organization’s goals and objectives for your conference, make sure to include sponsor partners (these influencers) as an audience. Where are the alignments to prospective sponsor’s goals and objectives? Understanding what your sponsors hope to get out of the event will help formulate additional mutually beneficial opportunities that will enhance your program and enable sponsors to also be cheerleaders for your conference.

Look for valuable new ideas to add to your sponsorship package offerings. Enhance your conference’s prospectus of opportunities with the following strategic inclusions:

Enable Rich Content

Offer your partners the opportunity to host a conference breakout session or a spot on a panel discussion. Look to your partners to enhance content by adding case studies and other education to your agenda. Attendees love to see real-life examples to take home with them. These sessions work well when focused on success stories and solutions to challenges—not a sales pitch.

Reach Higher Attendance

Make it easy for your partners to help you promote your conference. Targeted attendees who have opted in to your partner’s marketing efforts may find your conference of interest. Offer your partners tools such as promotional marketing templates and conference discount codes for their customers. Other helpful tools include: social media tools, road show kits, media release text and quotes. These viral marketing ideas can help boost your overall attendance.

Give Perks to Very Important Partner(s) (VIPs)

Treat your partners like you would a conference VIP. Offer partners the opportunity to shake hands with those they want to meet the most. Simple additions like VIP social functions pack a lot of benefit for your valued partners. Special session seating, room upgrades and gifts are a great way to say thank you to your valued partners. The simple effort of your staff saying “Thank you for sponsoring!” to your partners goes a long way in continuing a great relationship.

Incorporate Meetings—And More

Show that your partner relationship is more than a once-a-year occurrence. Build in sponsorship elements that take place beyond your conference. Involve your key sponsors in an advisory board capacity to get great program feedback and collaboration on solutions. Create a 365-day a year approach with a marketing mix of social media, webinars, content development and other tactics to keep the partnership alive throughout the year.

Participate in an Exchange Program

One way to strengthen a partnership is to include mutual event exchanges in your sponsorship packages. Basically, participate in our conference and we will participate in yours. This action shows a strong commitment from both organizations to co-brand in the marketplace. By showing up for your partner’s conference, you show that you both carry similar end goals in mind which makes for more than a one-sided relationship.

Go Beyond the Standard

By adding marketing elements like these to your sponsorship mix, you can easily see that sponsorship is more than obtaining dollars from your partners. You can amplify the impact of your event by positioning sponsors as integrated stakeholders in your conference, which in turn enables your partners to be great influencers.

Are you doing everything you can to prove the effectiveness of your conferences and events? Find out how you can make the most of your investment by downloading our white paper, Prove Your Event ROI With These 8 Overlooked Metrics.

Mark Fisher
Mark Fisher

Mark has been a marketer for over 25 years. After receiving a bachelor's degree in communications from the University of California, San Diego, he spent several years with Ziff Davis Corporation. While at Ziff Davis, he created event marketing plans for some of the largest high-tech tradeshows, meetings and events in the industry. In other roles, Mark was able to explore meeting and tradeshow planning, promotions, and event marketing in the pharmaceutical industry, associations, franchise and other industries. Mark was also a Marketing Manager for the Life Sciences group at Microsoft Corporation. He has had articles published in event magazines and is an established speaker at Exhibitor Show, Healthcare Exhibition Association (HCEA) and Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA) events. Mark continues to be an instructor in the Meeting Planner program at San Diego State University. Currently, he holds the position of Senior Sponsorship Event Manager at ITA Group.