Do you run a successful, or even a moderately successful business? Chances are that you get approached by event organizers all the time.
Event sponsorship is typically associated with large businesses like Coca-Cola or Red Bull that thrive on brand visibility.
However, with the right strategy, such sponsorship campaigns can be extremely profitable even at a smaller scale.
Understanding your event marketing objective
There are essentially two core marketing objectives with respect to event marketing – brand visibility and lead generation.
Branding is a good metric to chase if you are sponsoring an event with a large footfall of target buyers. A good example for this would be a beverage brand targeting a college fest or a music festival.
Lead generation is typically popular among marketers sponsoring industry-focused events. A marketing software company sponsoring the local entrepreneurship summit would be a good example of this model.
While it is generally a good idea to dedicate your resources on just one of these two objectives, there are many instances where these objectives overlap.
It may thus make more sense to target these two metrics together.
Strategies to maximize event sponsorship ROI
Sponsoring an event can cost you anywhere from a few hundred to several thousands of dollars.
While low cost sponsorship packages may seem like a good place to test the waters, they seldom offer good ROI.
Events offering low cost packages could have very low turnout. Or you might not be the primary sponsor in such events.
Not being the primary sponsor deprives you of valuable exposure that is so crucial in event sponsorship campaigns.
A brand mention in a small font at the bottom of a large sponsorship banner is not really great exposure.
It is highly recommended that you opt for title or primary sponsorship opportunities because they give you maximum mileage on your investment.
While such investments do cost significantly higher than other sponsorship packages, the returns are also way better.
In order to maximize your returns, you must adhere to a few best practices.
Check out what the organizers offer
Regardless of how interested you are in a particular event, do not agree to sponsor until you hear what the organizers have got to pitch you.
The event organizers may sometimes come up with perks and privileges that you may have not considered yourself.
Seek additional privileges only after a pitch has been made from the organizers’ end.
Understand your brand exposure
One of the biggest reasons why event sponsorship campaigns fail is due to poor coordination between the organizers and the sponsors.
Ask as many questions as you need to in order to get a complete picture of what you can expect to receive in exchange for the sponsorship:
- How many banners will be placed across the event location?
- Where exactly would each of these banners be located?
- Where shall your brand logo be present on the banners?
- Would the organizers be mentioning your brand over the PA system?
- How many times would your brand be mentioned?
- Would the organizer permit you to play your ad on the giant screen or over the PA system?
- How many such spots will be reserved for you?
Make sure that all these promises are captured in the contract you sign with the organizers. Getting each of these questions answered will also help you prepare for the event.
For instance, if your logo contains colors like turquoise, yellow or green, chances are that it may not render well on a white-background flex banner.
You may consider requesting a black background to make sure that your logo stands out adequately.
Similarly, if your standard logo has poor readability, then there is a good chance that attendees may fail to notice your brand even when it is prominently displayed.
In such cases, you may consider investing in a secondary logo primarily to drive customer branding.
Capturing leads from an event sponsorship campaign can be done both actively and passively.
One popular way to do this is by offering exclusive goodies and discounts to event attendees in exchange for the lead.
For example, a local clinic may offer free health checkups to attendees if they opted to share their personal details with them.
You may also promote your phone number on banners, fliers and other merchandises that are distributed at the event.
Investing in a vanity number for your business can be extremely effective here since they have better recall when attendees want to reach your business at a later time.
In addition to this, you may also request event organizers to share the contact details of everyone who registers as a participant for the event.
This is of course not without its share of privacy challenges. It is thus important to consult a lawyer and draft a terms document that organizers may share with participants during the registration process.
Having your foot on the ground
No matter how well you have planned your sponsorship campaign, there are a number of ways an event can go wrong.
As a sponsor, this could not only mean a loss in your marketing investment, but also possible loss of credibility.
For instance, if you have paid for an opportunity to showcase your latest toasters to the participants, then a poor power supply at the event location could prevent you from making a good impression on potential customers. This can bring your brand reputation down.
As a marketer, it is important to get yourself insured against such eventualities.
Make sure you have people on the ground at the event who can make sure that all the privileges that were promised to you are being delivered.
In addition to this, you may consider purchasing insurance coverage for potential loss due to circumstances outside your control.
It is also prudent to expect the event organizers to have purchased their own insurance coverage.
It should allow you to file a claim in case of power disruptions or other challenges where they unintentionally breach your sponsorship contract.
Event sponsorship can be a little overwhelming in the early days. But with proper planning, they can be a highly valuable source of leads and customers.
Do you have experience sponsoring an event? Share your tips in the comments below.