In our combined event experience at VenuIQ, as event organisers, managers, and event suppliers, we have seen both sides of sponsorship: selling and buying. We’ve learned that it’s a delicate art, keeping in mind clearly defined goals, strategies, and a specific timeline of tactics that utilise multiple mediums like onsite signage, digital opportunities, and the official mobile app.
With sponsors’ still-limited marketing budgets despite in-person coming back, what are you doing to level up your sponsorship offerings for 2023?
1. Data, data, data.
How your sponsors will receive their data is a pivotal component of any sponsorship. While the in-person experience is vastly preferred over virtual, one of the things buyers enjoyed about virtual events was the sheer amount of intent data they received. Are you using a mobile app that can track basic activity interest and provide you with a comprehensive activity dashboard? Or, consider beacon-based tracking to learn real-time insights on buyer behaviour, helping you sell more sponsorships based on real data—with the side benefit of helping you understand what areas are more popular for the following year’s event planning (F&B area, sessions, sponsored/activation areas, etc.).
A heat map from Questex’s 2022 Annual Hotel Conference. VenuIQ was the official tracking partner of the event.
2. Lead retrieval and appointments are an absolute must.
Business cards alone are not enough. How are you helping sponsors and exhibitors keep track of their leads? According to SmallBizTrends, 80% of trade show leads are not followed up on. VenuIQ recently rolled out a new lead retrieval option, where attendees or sponsors can scan a QR code and collect info in GDPR-friendly ways. In addition, facilitating multiple ways to connect buyers and sellers, like one-on-one appointments, can help sellers reach a month’s worth of meetings in just two to three days.
3. It’s not just about the event days.
Utilizing a tech solution to create a community-based approach for the days surrounding the event, both before and after, will increase the value of the event for your sponsors. Consider utilizing a mobile app and splash screens, scrolling banners, sponsorship/exhibitor areas, and more.
Visit Monaco utilised VenuIQ’s white-label mobile app to extend the lifecycle of its event, turning a one-day event into a months-long experience.
4. Consider sponsored micro-events.
A micro-event can help one of your top-tier sponsors put the right people in the room at the right time. David Adler and BizBash have expanded on the concept of the Jeffersonian-style lunch or dinner for the events industry, where either a venue or supplier co-hosts with BizBash and 12 to 15 buyers are invited for a highly curated networking experience. In addition, content options like audio whitepapers help follow up the event with months of marketing and insights from the guests.
5. Lean in to speaking opportunities.
If you only offer logo spaces, two-minute mentions, and printed signage, you’re stuck two decades ago. Sponsors want to speak, as speaking from the stage is an extremely effective selling tactic. The key as an organiser is to make sure these sessions aren’t boring for the audience, who would rather watch paint dry than watch a sponsored session that’s really pitching a product disguised as education.
Ask your sponsors to consider, ‘What type of talk would you want to listen to?’ As a helpful guide, think of the exact opposite of a product pitch—like creating education panels with event organizer clients, or if it’s a solo presentation, giving something to them they wouldn’t otherwise have—and then do that.
On stage at Questex AHC 2022
6. Offer follow-up tools.
While lists with e-mails can be tricky territory in the age of GDPR, opt-in lists with emails are usually OK. Whether it’s a list, email blasts, or push notifications in the app, how are you providing your sponsors with follow-up tools to help them book meetings and close business?