Changing landscape of event sponsorships

Digital revolution affects aspects of virtually every industry. Event planning industry is no exception. Sponsorships are crucial for an event; break even or show profit would be impossible for most without them.

How has marketing changed?
Marketing has blazed a seldom-traveled path since 2010, and it’s difficult to maintain pace. According to Marketo chief marketing officer Sanjay Dholakia, “Marketing’s changed so rapidly… more in the past five years than in the past 500 years.” One of the biggest issues where marketing is concerned has always been finding ways to measure effectiveness. With today’s technology, your potential sponsors can measure their digital marketing in a variety of ways. They know when you look at their content, for how long, and the time it took before you made a purchase. They also know your age, location, gender, and an almost disturbing amount of other information as soon as you jump on their website.

How does this affect sponsorships?

The level of information your prospective sponsor receive through digital marketing channels can make it difficult for them to justify investing in events that don’t provide sufficient data return. Industry experts Velvet Chainsaw Consulting drew this conclusion: “Sponsorships featuring logos, eyeballs and impressions don’t carry the value they once did.” Perhaps this hasn’t affected your program yet, though as digital natives continue to move into managerial roles, procuring measurable returns on investment will become more and more important.

What can you do?

What path forward makes the most sense? Consider adding simple things such as email blast, social media, and event web page statistics. Add these components in a manner in which they are featured, and this can help justify the expense. You can also provide attendee lists or, at least demographic info. In addition, providing a testimonial or a case study from a previous sponsor can demonstrate great value.

“We thoroughly spell out line by line what our event sponsors have received, so they understand exactly what their investment has gotten them,” says Kendra Dekat, member services manager with the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce. Sponsors are investing in your program. As investors, they are looking for a clear and quantifiable return. Do your best to give it to them.

If you have any questions about any of these ideas I encourage you to reach out to me or check out one of the additional resources below. Written by Luke Wiggins, Meetings & Conventions Sales Manager, Visit Rogers. 479-619-3191 Luke@RogersLowell.com 

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