Meeting Mentor Magazine

December 2023

Five Essentials for Building Sponsorship Sales

The art and science of creating effective event sponsorships is a lot more complicated these days than simply offering Bronze, Silver and Gold packages. Schooled in data analytics, marketers are looking for sponsorship opportunities that meet their specific needs and that provide a measurable ROI.

No wonder industry surveys consistently find that event sponsorships are a top challenge for event organizers. In a recent EventMB survey of more than 1,000 event professionals, “finding sponsors” ranked as a top challenge, second only to “budget issues.” Here’s a distillation of five key takeaways from EventMB’s 2018 Guide to Event Sponsorship, written by EventMB Founder and Editor Julius Solaris, excerpted below. For the complete guide, click here.

1. Build a data-centric profile of your audience, and be fluent in articulating the value of different audience segments to potential sponsors. “Do you have 20,000 potentials or 500 well-targeted, exact-fit [to sponsor needs] attendees at your event? Most sponsors don’t want 20,000 tire kickers. They want easy conversions, people who will be interested in their product or service and are on the market to buy. It’s up to you to make these introductions and turn your mass traffic into valuable leads for them. Marketing professionals are far more comfortable allocating marketing dollars when they know exactly who the promotion will reach.”

2. Innovative sponsorship programs look at the needs of attendees first. “They understand the core needs of those attending events, and they offer the opportunity for sponsors to provide solutions. For example, how can you solve the issue of attendees waiting in line for hours? Get a sponsor to pay for registration at the airport. Lounges, games, food…the elements that can deliver a sponsor message are endless. Innovative sponsorship leverages experiences.”

3. Research the mission of the company you’re approaching. “What are they looking to do — traditionally and this year? Shift your attention to how your event can help sponsors achieve their objectives. It’s up to you to marry sponsor needs and the needs of your audience. If you can do it successfully, you can build a long-term, valuable relationship for all involved.”

4. Create a proposal that works. “There are two main things you need to accomplish in an event sponsorship proposal: Show a return on investment, and build the confidence with the sponsors that you can achieve what you are telling them you can. Today’s marketers are charged with understanding data and analytics, and they will ask the tough questions because their CEOs are reading Forbes and Harvard Business Review and they’re being told data is king. If you don’t help them by at least showing a preliminary estimation of the possible return on investment, they won’t present it to their boss.”

5. Seek to establish partnerships rather than sponsors. “Ideally, when it comes to recurring events, you want a sponsor to sign on for the duration of your event season, assuming it’s not an ongoing activity for as long as you can imagine in the future. If that’s the case, you’ll probably need to divide the sponsorship request quarterly or have some other way of designating a set time commitment. But if your event runs for a set number of weeks or a season, looking for sponsors who will become true partners will save you the headache of the administration [efforts] of switching horses midstream.”


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About ConferenceDirect
ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 4,400+ associations, corporations, and sporting authorities through our 400+ global associates.

About MeetingMentor
MeetingMentor, is a business journal for senior meeting planners that is distributed in print and digital editions to the clients, prospects, and associates of ConferenceDirect, which handles over 13,000 worldwide meetings, conventions, and incentives annually.

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