How to Woo and Retain Sponsors

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Experts say it’s important to remember that the outcomes that make an event successful to an organiser won’t necessarily be the same for a sponsor.

By Jack Carter, Untangled

Being able to strike up successful professional partnerships is one of many skills event planners must have in their repertoire. While traditionally this may have involved building rapport with a venue sales manager to get the best deal on an event space or rubbing shoulders with prospective clients at networking events, the relationships event professionals must now nurture have diversified.

One such relationship is with sponsors, who play an increasingly influential role in business events. And managing the delivery of a sponsor’s investment can be high-stakes stuff.
Sponsorship can provide financial gains as well as deliver the added value of driving attention and attendees to an event. For example, the reputation of a technology-themed conference could be enhanced by working with a sponsor whose brand is known for leading the way in developing cutting-edge products. And for a sponsor, events offer a chance to connect with new audiences face-to-face.

What are some of the best ways to attract sponsorship opportunities? Here are insights from two business events industry professionals:

Choose an Inspiring Destination

Tracy Halliwell Headshot

Tracy Halliwell

“Destinations with a strong brand image can be a major draw for event planners and sponsors who are looking to leverage their ties with a host city,” said Tracy Halliwell, MBE, director of tourism, conventions, and major events at London & Partners. “London’s thriving technology community and global financial centre make it a great choice for technology-themed and financial services conferences — demonstrated by our ability to attract large events such as London Tech Week and Sibos 2019.”

However, Halliwell warned that a challenge faced when picking a sponsor is ensuring that they are relevant to an event’s image and content. “It’s important that the sponsor is a good brand fit for the conference and that they see equal value in being part of your event,” she added.

 

Maria Kriva Headshot

Maria Kriva

Offer Exclusivity

 

“Exclusivity makes sponsors feel noticed and appreciated,” said Maria Kriva, marketing coordinator, MCI. “One way to do this is by offering exclusive sponsorship opportunities before making them available to the general membership at large.”

Never Forget: It’s Always About Them

Experts caution that it’s important to remember that the outcomes that make an event successful to the organiser won’t necessarily be the same for the sponsor.

This is why it’s vital to always have the sponsor’s best interests front and centre throughout the process. “Understanding [the sponsor’s] objectives and filtering out any unnecessary noise is the starting point for providing them with the tools they need to make their investment flourish,” Kriva added.

This could also help build a strong relationship for future events, as the sponsor trusts that the planner who is overseeing their activation or exhibition stand is just as focused on delivering ROI as they are.

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