Appealing sponsorships are fundamental to creating a profitable event. Developing attractive opportunities that benefit your bottom line can be easier than you think.
- Identify Potential Marketing Opportunities: Begin by evaluating what you already have – existing sponsorship packages, your event budget, venue and marketing materials, timelines and agenda – then get creative. Look beyond the obvious “logos on signs” opportunities for innovative brand experiences. Explore the pre-conference, on-site and post-conference potential, along with varying levels of brand awareness. Don’t forget to investigate competitive packages. Lastly, compare the estimated value of sponsor exposure for each opportunity to the estimated incremental cost.
- Construct Sponsorship Packages: Your first step in building packages is to determine how many total exhibiting companies and total sponsors you need to make your event profitable. Think one exhibiting company for every 20 attendees, and one sponsor for every three exhibiting companies. Next, determine levels and price points. The standard offering is three or four major levels of participation, with some exclusivity at the highest level. List building blocks of each sponsorship level – all possible opportunities should be considered, including pre-conference, on-site and post-conference, as well as aspects of the event – conference learning, expo, marketing programs, etc. Finally, identify the key elements and associated benefits for each package.
- Price Sponsorship Packages: If available, review your event history for any past sponsorship pricing. Examine your target partner list for their potential marketing budgets. Research similar events (in terms of size, demographics and audience value). Create an advisory board – either face-to-face or through surveys. Establish revenue goals based on the number of exhibiting companies, sponsors and sponsorship levels you determined are appropriate for your event.
- Create Sponsorship Sales Plan: Trained resources are a must in selling sponsorships and they need materials to aid in the selling process. An effective prospectus should provide an event overview, relevant statistics or measurement information sponsorship package details (including deadlines and pricing) and a sponsorship application/contract. Make sure you know when your prospects need timing and pricing information for their budget reviews, and have a solid cancellation policy in place from day one.
The formula for sponsorship success is simple: Profitability = Revenue – Cost. When calculating revenue be sure to include sponsorship dollars and other benefits, such as additional attendance, press coverage and speakers. Incremental costs include all production, labor and internal and external resources