Brands can connect with customers in groundbreaking ways online, but your event can offer sponsors something digital advertising can’t — unprecedented access to their customers.
With insights from sponsorship experts like the Sponsorship Collective, this new guide provides you with the top trends and best practices needed to win sponsorships today.
After reading this paper, you’ll know:
- Why gold, silver, and bronze packages are the most overrated tool
- The secret, sponsorship-winning weapon of B2B events
- How to correctly determine the value of your sponsorship assets
- And so much more…
Fill out the form on the right to get your 2017 Event Sponsorship guide now. And if you run a music venue or festival, be sure to check out the 2017 report on concert and music festival sponsorships.
What is sponsorship?
If you’re having difficulty answering that question, you’re in good company.
“It used to be a pretty simple answer,” says Larry Weil. Larry is the Sponsorship Guy. And with nearly two decades of experience and over 4,000 brand and industry contacts, it’s a title he’s proudly earned. “Most people think of sports sponsorships like McDonald’s and the U.S. Olympic team, or Bud Light and the NFL. But there’s much more to it than that.”
On the surface, sponsorship is a highly specialized branch of advertising and marketing, connecting brands to their customers. But as Larry Weil said already, there’s much more to it than that.
In a recent survey, event professionals were asked to rank their sponsorship challenges from least to greatest. The results seem to suggest an answer to why so many professionals, the experts included, have a hard time defining sponsorship succinctly.
Respondents said that securing sponsors for their event was just as difficult as finding them — which was only marginally more difficult than approaching sponsors and measuring and evaluating sponsorship return on investment (ROI).
The emerging pattern in these responses show that events aren’t struggling with any single aspect of event sponsorship — it’s the entire process.
“Digital advertising has changed things,” says Joe Waters of Selfish Giving, He spends his time helping nonprofits secure corporate sponsors and speaks with a wicked Boston accent. “The abundance of data and analytics in the digital world has greatly influenced how sponsors measure success in the real world.”
“When I started in the industry, smartphones and social media platforms were just coming into play,”says Katie O’Neil, who’s worked on events like HubSpot’s Inbound and is now the Senior Corporate Events Manager for LogMeIn. “There are so many more ways for an event sponsor to interact with their event attendees now.”
Sponsorship Collective president and CEO Chris Baylis calls this shift a new paradigm for event sponsorship. “In order to build a foundation and successfully win sponsors, events need to change their perspective,” he says.
“While there are still aspects of sponsorship focused on brand awareness, there’s a new paradigm for event sponsorship,” he says. “Today’s customers know when they’re being advertised to and can more easily ignore marketing messages.”
For that reason, Baylis explains, “sponsors don’t just want your attendees to be aware of their product or service. They want to offer value, provide solutions, and create deeper, long-lasting connections with your attendees.”
Sara Berry has sold sponsorship for multiple properties, including restaurant guide Zagat, the New England Patriots, and — most recently — the Boston Cannons. She rarely uses the word “sponsorship” anymore. “It’s much more of a partnership these days,” says Berry. “Successful sponsorship happens when sponsors and events work together to advance one another’s goals.”
A possible reason sponsors and events are pressured to hold one another accountable, according to most of our experts, are tighter corporate budgets.
When budgets get tight, sponsors scrutinize every opportunity. And when a sponsor can easily raise awareness for their brand on digital and social media, often at a more affordable price and easier to prove ROI, it’s no surprise that awareness is no longer the sole purpose of sponsorship.
Accustomed to the real-time feedback and data-rich reporting in the digital world, sponsors demand a new paradigm for sponsorship in the real world.