A few years ago a conference approached me about doing a Live #Blogchat session during their event, and I agreed. I told the event that if they wanted to, they could sell a sponsorship to the Live #Blogchat to recoup some or all of the costs that they were paying me for the session. I added that if they decided to go this route that I would be happy to work with the sponsor before and during the Live #Blogchat to make sure they got their money’s worth, and made the session better.
The event said great, and I never heard from them again. I showed up at the conference and was surprised to learn from the event organizers that they had sold a sponsorship to my Live #Blogchat. I was told this minutes before the Live #Blogchat was to start, when I was introduced to the sponsor representative. A bit taken aback, I quickly huddled with the sponsor representative to ask them if they would like to be involved with the discussion as the Live #Blogchat unfolded. “Nope, this is your event, we are just happy to be here!”
This is why the concept of event sponsorships is interesting to me, because there’s so much unlocked potential. With many event sponsorships, there’s little more involvement from the sponsor than this. There’s typically some signage, maybe some free swag for attendees, maybe a comped booth at a trade show.
Smart sponsors know that the best way to truly make an impression on attendees is to leverage your sponsorship to make the event better for those attendees. Too many sponsors try to ‘be seen’ at the events they partner with. Your goal isn’t to be seen, it’s to be remembered.
When you are considering working with an event on a sponsorship package, ask yourself these questions:
- Who is attending the event?
- Why are they there?
- What are they hoping to accomplish?
Your sponsorship should factor in the answers to each of these questions, especially the third question. Then once you’ve answered these questions, then think about how your sponsorship can help the attendees reach their goals for the event.
For example, let’s say that the attendees at the event you want to sponsor are there to learn about digital marketing. Your sponsorship could then be tied to something that helps the attendee take home as much useful information as possible about the event. Maybe you could do something as simple as sponsoring a notebook for each attendee to during each session. Or maybe sponsor a free jump drive with the presentation slides from each track. Or maybe your company could sponsor a few bloggers doing recaps of each session and then at the end of the day you could provide these recaps as handouts to attendees so they could learn about the sessions that they missed.
All of these ideas are rooted in sponsorships that are structured in a way that takes into account what the attendee is trying to accomplish, and makes it easier for them to reach their goals for the event.
Remember, the idea isn’t to be seen, it’s to be memorable. If you provide utility for the attendees, that makes you useful to them, and memorable.
Besides, with most event sponsorships, ‘being seen’ is the quickest way to be ignored.