Since a significant amount of an event’s revenue is attributed to its sponsors, sponsorship can often make or break an event’s success.
As an organizer, it is your responsibility to foster a strong relationship with your sponsors and to provide them with enough value to convince them to partner with your event in the future.
The best way to provide this value is to promote your sponsors in unique ways to appeal to event attendees. You should take risks and formulate a strategy with a mentality that “one size does not fit all.”
Use the following examples of event sponsorship promotion to inspire creative promotion initiatives of your own.
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Example 1: MAGIC Fashion
MAGIC Fashion leads the way as one of the biggest trade shows in the fashion industry, with over 60,000+ attendees annually. True, MAGIC is able to maintain its image as the leading industry event by granting retailers access to a very large community of buyers, but it also does so by the innovative ways in which it showcases sponsors.
For example, MAGIC promoted one of its sponsors, Haggar Clothing, by creating a comprehensive Gaming Room, with ping pong tables and branded DIY (charging) stations.
WWDMAGIC, which will be held in Las Vegas this August, will launch an entire show for its sponsors called “Playground” that will showcase over 100 dual-gender brands, like Urban Sunday and Orangeheat.
The important takeaway from the organizers at MAGIC fashion is the close attention they pay to their sponsors. There is more to sponsorship than branding on posters, fliers, and napkins. Sponsors want you to pay thoughtful attention to who they are as a company, and from there, tailor your promotional program to this identity.
Promotion done creatively will indicate to sponsors that they won’t be able to find another event that can provide a similar level of service or exposure.
Example 2: The International Plastics Showcase
NPE: The Plastics Show is the major international plastics trade show hosted every three years. Organizers for this event used a number of fresh and innovative ideas in order to provide value for sponsors. In one case, the event arranged an invitation-only reception for a select group of attendees who had expressed interest in a particular sponsor’s products. Sponsors then allowed this select group to have a sneak peak at a prototype of their product, in this case, a 3-D printed prosthetic arm.
This example indicates an important facet of event sponsorship: it's critical that organizers provide a platform for sponsors to foster real connections with potential customers.
All sponsors must engage attendees in some way, whether that means face-to-face meetings, or simply generating brand-awareness through other means, organizers should think about ways they can get sponsors closer to event attendees.
Example 3: PAX Prime
PAX Prime is another great example of an event that pays close attention to the way it promotes its sponsors. PAX Prime is a video gaming conference, and it provided value for its sponsors using innovative event technologies.
In order to promote Doritos and Mountain Dew, organizers created a QR code scavenger hunt through their event app. For every QR code attendees came across throughout the event space, they received points that in turn led to prizes. With over 6,000 participants, this game provided the event’s sponsors with major brand awareness, evidenced by over 2,000 tweets and social media impressions created for sponsors alone!
This example shows how event software is leading the way not just as a medium to streamline the event planning process, but also as a way to provide value for attendees and for sponsors. When considering event technology, you need to take into account what your sponsor is looking for by partnering with your event. If the sponsor’s main goal is brand awareness, then using event technology to accelerate social media impressions may be your best option!
Example 4: The Sweets & Snacks Expo
In terms of brand marketing for sponsors, The Sweets & Snacks Expo has a solid reputation. With over 16,000 attendees, sponsors seeking brand awareness are particularly drawn to this event. In addition to offering an entire award show showcasing sponsorship ideas like light boxes and candy breaks, the event also presented its sponsors through branded Segways! Each Segway displayed a highly visible message tailored to the sponsor's core values. The Segways were operated by professionals handing out other sponsorship swag.
The Sweets & Snacks Expo pays close attention to creativity and innovation, because those are the qualities that drive the snacks industry.
This example shows the importance of promoting sponsors in a creative way that is relevant to both the sponsor and to your event. In brainstorming promotional ideas, you should consider your industry, your attendees, and of course your sponsors!
How To Act On These Examples
By now, you've read over four fantastic examples of unique ways event organizers successfully promoted sponsors, while keeping true to their event's brand identity and to the desires of event attendees.
But these examples are only useful to you, if you know how to act on them. So here's how to do just that:
Step 1: Nail down the values and goals of your event sponsors. It's important that you as an event organizer understand that values of the sponsor you are working for. By understanding these values, it will help you in later steps to brainstorm innovative ideas that are in keeping with the way in which sponsors want to be perceived by event goers.
With brand values in mind, organizers should also confirm with sponsors what they are trying to get out of the event. If sponsors are hoping for business leads, then your strategy will be much different than if sponsors are hoping for website impressions, or social media followers.
Step 2: Brainstorm innovative ideas using constraints. It's been scientifically demonstrated that adding constraints to a brainstorming session can actually increase creative solutions.
Since brainstorm creative sponsorship promotion ideas can seem overwhelming, start by outlining your constraints. How much of your budget can be allocated to sponsorship promotion? What is the time line for the promotion, do you have weeks to launch and activate a plan or only a few days to execute? Who is your target audience and what action do you hope they will take?
With these constraints outlined, it's time to sit with your events team to think about what can be done to bring value to sponsors.
Step 3: Once a plan of action has been created, it's best that you talk to event sponsors about execution. Often, larger organizations that have the budget to invest in event sponsorships are also able to fund live-event promotion efforts.
Perhaps you can gain access to the sponsor's marketing team. Often marketers are able to lend additional capabilities to event organizers than would otherwise be available.
Step 4: The last, but most important step, is measuring sponsorship promotion success. By measuring the results of a sponsorship promotion campaign, you'll be able to demonstrate your value to sponsors, while also learning what worked and didn't work for future campaigns.
Want to learn more about how to find, pitch and promote event sponsors? Grab Catching The Big Fish: The Complete Guide To Event Sponsorship by clicking the button below!