7 Best Practices to Leverage Event Sponsorship
By Lyn Wineman
As a purpose-driven business leader, you probably get asked to sponsor a lot of events. With any marketing strategy it’s important to decide where to invest your time and resources for the best return for your brand.
A marketing sponsorship is a unique way to help drive brand awareness and leads for any size or type of business. Usually, it involves financially supporting trade shows, charity causes, sporting events or conferences to increase competitive advantage and reach certain business goals.
Sound like something that’s up your alley? Get started with seven ideas to help you make the most of that investment. We’re using the letters in the word sponsor to help us remember:
S, select events and organizations that aligned with your goals.
P, plan ahead for the outcomes that you want to achieve and how you will measure.
O, optimize for your brand.
N, navigate an experience.
S, share your story.
O, outreach to your new contacts after the event.
R, refine and repeat.
Let’s break those down.
Select events and organizations that align with your goals. Everything you do as a marketer either adds to or deplete your brand. Associate with events that either boost your brand or support your purpose to attract your target audience.
Plan ahead for the outcomes you want to achieve and how you will measure them. The outcome of a sponsorship event can be really hard to assess. To make it work, you need to clearly define your objectives and determine how they will be measured well before the event starts. If you wait until after, it’s not going to go very well.
Optimize your brand throughout the event. Generally, the event organizers will ask for your logo and start incorporating it into their promotions. Make sure to provide the best art files, perhaps multiple versions to optimize for the type of promotion they’re doing. If you have an abstract name (like KidGlov), you may want a version of your logo that describes what you do. Then, go beyond the expected and think about what you might do to create brand exposure. That might mean branded clothing, giveaway items, handouts, event signage.
Navigate an experience that will engage your audiences. In most cases, event attendees are coming to do something other than network with you as a sponsor. Do something fun that makes them want to engage.
Share your story. This second S goes with another S, which is social media. Make sure to let people know you’re going to be at the event, tell them what you’re doing at the event, and follow-up after. Use social media, blog posts, and emails to let people know what you’re doing.
Outreach to new contacts. When the event is over, make sure to remind people that you met with them. Follow-up with an email or a handwritten note. Or sometimes even a phone call, but when you follow-up make sure you’re nurturing that relationship and not whacking them over the head with your sales pitch.
Review. We’re also adding some more Rs, refine and repeat. It’s best to assess the success of the event right after it ends. Decide what to change and determine if you’re going to repeat that sponsorship in future years. It’s likely the event sponsor will be asking you right away.
We’re not strangers to event marketing (in fact, this post was inspired by a recent trip to a partner’s golf event!) and helping brands who want to increase their profitability while bettering society. Explore more of our expertise and find case studies, blog posts, and other helpful resources.