Creating event sponsorship packages

Many media owners are extending their brands into events, shows and conferences.  They have a head start in terms of knowledge of their audience, and the topics and suppliers that will grab their interest.  One new discipline, however, is building bespoke packages for sponsors.  I’ve done this in the past for consumer events at Emap, and am now encountering it again for a new b2b event I am launching next Spring (more details soon!).  For other media owners in a similar position, I thought it might be helpful to summarise the following tips in creating great event sponsorship packages:

1. Understand your sponsor’s marketing objectives

This may seem obvious, but if your sponsor is focussed on lead generation, they may be less interested in having banners and logos, and more interested in getting face to face with prospective customers and accessing your database for new leads.  If they have just launched a new service, then they will want to push awareness.  If they want to be seen as experts in a particular field, they may want to speak or run workshops.

2. Be clear about who the decision-makers and influencers are

Many business decisions are made by more than one person in the organisation.  As well as the senior manager who signs off the decision, there can be a host of specialists – commercial, marketing, creative, operations – who are much closer to the detail and can influence who is on the shortlist.  With your sponsor, work out their key audiences, and ensure that they can be separately targeted at your event.

3. Offer a range of ways for sponsors to reach and influence the audience

Don’t get stuck in a fixed package of logos, banners, listings and stand space. Consider how workshops, round tables, demos, case studies, even scheduled 1-1 appointments can be created to provide opportunities for your sponsors to communicate their message in different ways.

4. Use the power of pre-event marketing

Build interest in the features offered by your sponsor in advance of the event by using all your marketing materials to inform prospective visitors of what they can do and see at the event.  Run competitions, send out e-newsletters, share white papers and case studies, and invite them to attend workshops.

5. Be creative!

Spend time getting to know your sponsor and jointly develop creative ways to help them get their message across, using a range of media in advance of the show, and using the full visual and live impact of the show environment itself.  Think of your event as an extension of their marketing campaign.  How can they catch the visitor’s attention before they arrive, and at the show itself?  What demonstrations and workshops can they offer that truly involve the visitor and help solve the “problem” that brings them to the show in the first place?

I’d be interested to hear of any particularly creative sponsorship packages you have built – or experienced – and any more top tips to share.

Carolyn Morgan’s consultancy, Penmaen Media, creates practical digital media and marketing strategies.  If you are a media owner considering launching a new event, and want to discuss how to create compelling sponsorship packages, please contact us for an initial discussion.