By definition, a sponsor is a person, firm, or organization that finances and buys the time to advertise a product. Several questions come to mind about being a sponsor for PCMA. How does being a sponsor help me and my goals? What will be the return on my investment? Is there value in being a sponsor? Why should I care about being a sponsor? How do I convince my organization’s leadership that being a sponsor is a good thing? Once I agree to be a sponsor, then what?
As the Director, Sponsorship for the PCMA Chesapeake Chapter, I have been asked many of these questions more than once. Being a sponsor for the Chesapeake Chapter of PCMA affords you and your organization the opportunity to be front of mind on several levels. There is exposure in our newsletter, on our website, at each educational meeting, and in all communications that are sent to the membership from the chapter. Repeated messaging assists in making your goals when your brand is consistently conveyed.
Return on investment is a double edged sword for many of us. Being a sponsor and having your brand out there is only one side of the equation. Take the opportunity to reach out to the membership that will benefit from your product and remind them that you connected via the PCMA Chesapeake Chapter. Build on that relationship to eventually gain a booking. You win, your organization wins.
There is great value in becoming a sponsor. Whether it’s a monetary or in-kind sponsorship, your organization will be showcased at a monthly meeting. Participants will get to see firsthand what you do, how great you are, and why using your product benefits them and PCMA at the same time. Monetary sponsorships fund the activities that cost the chapter out of pocket dollars. Educational monthly meetings require speaker fees, travel, accommodations, and chapter administration. Wouldn’t you want your sponsorship to be associated with bringing great education to the membership?
Your sponsorship for the chapter not only garners you and your organization recognition, it sends the message that you care about the meetings industry, you support the advancement careers in our industry, and on a local level are engaged in helping students and tuition recipients.
So your boss says “we cannot afford to be a sponsor” for the Chesapeake Chapter. Take that opportunity to remind him/her that you cannot afford to be left on the sidelines. Taking advantage of a low cost method of marketing your product and service is smart business. The Chesapeake Chapter consistently has more planners (60%) than suppliers (40%) that attend our monthly meetings, which is a captive audience. Now is the time that budgets are being set for 2016. Get in there and make sure that your organization is first in line to sponsor the chapter.
You have made your case; you have the go ahead to commit to a sponsorship… now what? Be at the event you are sponsoring, invite your boss who said yes to welcome the attendees and talk about what you do, invite your co-workers to be ambassadors for your product and service, work the room and collect business cards so you can reconnect after the meeting, and if you are so moved, volunteer to serve on the sponsorship committee.
For the past 25 plus years that I have been in the Hospitality and Meetings industry I have found great value in being a member of PCMA, serving on the board, being a panelist for educational meeting presentations, and attended national conventions as an exhibitor. I am never a stranger wherever and whenever I attend an industry event. I have a colleague who said that I would know at least one person upon entering the room within one minute of arriving. It’s so easy to say hello to someone you have never met before, and to say yes when invited to be a part of what’s going on.
Call or email me to reserve your 2016 sponsorship. I would love to hear from you!!
Director, Sponsorship for PCMA Chesapeake Chapter
410.347.9723 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to all of our 2015 Sponsors:
Four Seasons Hotel
Howard Community College
Hyatt Regency Baltimore
Hunt Valley Inn
Maryland Science Center
Pier Five/Harbor Magic
Royal Sonesta Harbor Court
Sheraton Inner Harbor
Spirit of Baltimore