We’re living in a world where attendees are inundated with millions of brands and marketing initiatives, event planners and companies. You’re searching for the formula of how to get event sponsors that will positively resonate with your attendees. In order for people to perceive value, you need to create value. And in order to do so, here are the three crucial parties to consider: 1) you, 2) your audience, and 3) the sponsors you’re targeting.
Relationship 1: Company and Attendees
Step one in how to get event sponsors involves knowing the company and event attendees. In this situation, you have a firm grasp of your own brand image, your own mission, and your desired goals in relation to the event being developed. You also have done your research and know who your audience is. You understand their demographics, their wants, and their needs. However, what you haven’t done enough research on are your sponsors.
Sponsors should be treated like sales clients because you are essentially trying to sell them on your event. In order to target sponsors that will resonate with your attendees and will truly fit your event, you need to do the research on your target sponsors and know them inside and out. What’s their mission? What are their goals and their long-term vision for their own company? What are their needs and wants?
If you fail to consider that corner of the triangle your sponsors won’t perceive any value in this relationship and your attendees won’t perceive any value from interactions with sponsors during the event.
Relationship 2: Company and Sponsors
In this situation, let’s assume you have a solid understanding of your perspective, needs, and purpose. You also have a fleshed out understanding of your target sponsors.
This relationship allows you to analyze what the sponsor needs, align your goals with the sponsor’s, and develop a sponsorship package together. Ira Rosen, CFEE, Assistant Professor and Director of Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management’s Event Leadership Executive Certificate Program, says, “One of the most important elements in matching sponsors with attendees is making sure you understand both of them. Assess your attendees with regard to both demographics (statistical information) and psychographics (stuff they like or don’t like). Then do the same with potential sponsors – demographics – who are their customers and psychographics – what do their customers like and dislike. Once you have done that, creating productive and successful sponsorships is easier.”
This mutual understanding allows for a more creative, meaningful display and incorporation of sponsors into your event and allows for flexibility. However, the corner of the triangle that is missing is the understanding of the desires of your audience. Without that consideration, your attendees won’t understand the purpose of the event itself or the purpose of the sponsors’ incorporation into the event.
Relationship 3: Attendees and Sponsors
In this third situation, you’ve set your sponsors up for success through your event, but not your own company. This situation shows that you don’t have a clear vision of the value the event brings to your company, why you’re creating it, and what you need and want to get out of the event.
Sure, your attendees will connect with appropriate sponsors. And they will see value in those touch points, however, you will be out of touch with your attendees and sponsors because you’re unsure of what the end goal is for your company. This situation highlights a severe lacking of brand awareness and understanding. Your attendees will leave your event feeling more connected to your sponsors than you.
Relationship 4: The Golden Trio
The last situation is named the Golden Trio because it balances all three parties involved in sponsorship.
You’ve researched both your attendees and your target sponsors. You understand who they are, what they want, and why they should be connected. You also understand how your own vision and goals align so that you’re fostering a three-way, mutually beneficial relationship. In this situation, you’re able to incorporate co-creation when it comes to defining sponsorship packages. This will result in a less cookie-cutter package, more creative uses of sponsorship dollars, and a higher perceived value. Additionally, co-creation will ensure differentiation from your competition and will provide your attendees with a unique experience that they cannot be a part of anywhere else; fostering a FOMO (fear of missing out) atmosphere.
After further analysis, the initial question has evolved. It’s more than just, “how do you get sponsors your attendees will love.” It’s, “how to get sponsors your attendees love that are right for your event and you.” In the words of Carol Itzkowitz, the owner of Carol Creative, “It’s great to have the dollars backing an event, but at the end of the day, it has to work for everyone.” As long as you take all three parties into consideration and do that preliminary research, creativity and value will transpire on their own. Cultivating healthy relationships and a healthy balance between those three parties is what is going to help you have a successful event and ensure that the secured sponsors will be loved by your attendees.
Have you cracked the code of how to get event sponsors? Let us know your approach in the comments below!
Alexandra Mottershead is the Event Specialist for Visit Bucks County (VBC), the official tourism promotion agency for Bucks County. Her job currently focuses on event planning and coordination, community outreach and partner relations. Other professional experiences include work in food and beverage, marketing and communications, loss prevention, and community theatre and choreography. Alex is an alumna of Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM), graduated Magna Cum Laude and is a member of Eta Sigma Delta International Hospitality Management Society.