Event sponsorship is a top source of revenue for a good half of event creators. So it stands to reason that securing sponsors — and the right sponsors — is a big stressor in the life of an event creator. Once the contract is signed, you can relax.


Not quite. Just as finding event sponsors in the first place is critical to your bottom line and your attendee experience, cultivating a positive relationship with those sponsors is essential.

Fail to live up to your promise, and you risk having to start all over again next year. But fulfill that promise, and your work is already halfway done the next time you need sponsors to sign on.

If you’re wondering what to offer event sponsors to make them happy, read on.

What sponsors want: Exposure to exactly the right attendees

With all the data available to us today, event sponsors are getting particular about reaching highly targeted groups of attendees.

“Potential sponsors know their target markets intimately,” says Chris Baylis, President and CEO of Sponsorship Collective. “They know where they live, what they drive, what they care about, and some of them can even tell you what color shoes they prefer.”

For this reason, event sponsors demand data points to prove your audience is aligned with theirs.

How to give it to them:

Basic data can often be drawn from your event ticketing platform and Google Analytics:

  • How many people your event draws
  • How many people see your marketing materials
  • Basic demographics

But for more granular data, you have to dig a little deeper:

  • Who’s talking about your event online (Google Alerts)
  • What other types of things your visitors are into (Social media ad metrics)
  • Specific information about ticket-holders (event surveys are great for this)

What sponsors want: An easy experience 

They invested in you as an event partner, trusting you’d take care of them. But the day of the event, they can’t find an event rep to answer questions. In fact, they can’t even find an electrical outlet.

How to give it to them:

Assign one person or a team fully dedicated to making sure your event sponsors get everything they need both ahead of and at the event.

“Events that have the most success with sponsors dedicate quite a few resources to accommodate them onsite,” says Biasha Mitchell, Business Strategy & Solutions at Eventbrite. “Make sure that, if something happens in the middle of the event, that their needs are addressed quickly.”

What sponsors want: A certain level of special treatment

The truth is, your sponsors don’t just want attention. They want VIP treatment. After all, they’re making your whole event possible.

How to give it to them:

Whether it’s free tickets and VIP passes, or on-site perks like swag or performer meet-and-greets, pampering event sponsors with special treatment at your event goes a long way in showing your appreciation.

You can also offer them opportunities to make connections with customers and other brands, invite them to exclusive receptions, or introduce them to thought leaders within your community.

What sponsors want: Proven ROI

Using hard data to prove you’ve delivered on your promises to event sponsors is a must. Knowing what each sponsor’s primary goal is and how they want to track effectiveness is key.

How to give it to them:

Plan on getting each sponsor a fulfillment report within a few weeks of your event. Break down their key performance indicators (KPI) and how you delivered on them. You can lean on data such as:

  • RFID — which attendees interacted with which activations
  • Event apps — which sessions, speakers, and sponsors were most interesting to attendees
  • Social media — data on social engagement, like how many users interacted with sponsor messaging on your social feeds
  • Surveys — measure brand recognition, brand engagement, and purchase intent

While you’ll want to provide an official report post-event, providing visual updates throughout the day can help you show partners how their activations are faring.

What sponsors want: A genuine thank you

Manners matter. No matter how far you’ve bent over backwards to make your event sponsorship activations excel, if you really want to leave them smiling, a good old fashioned thank you is worth it.

How to give it to them:

Within a few days, send sponsors a thank you note and assets for them to use online (like pictures from the event). Continue to tag them in social posts so you can keep the relationship warm and their brand top-of-mind for your attendees.

Want more expert advice for renewing your event sponsors? Check out The 2020 Guide to Event Sponsorship to discover what sponsors really want from your event.

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