Event sponsorships can offer the ideal platform for companies with limited resources in terms of time and staff to gain maximum brand exposure to their target audience. Event organisers must create an appealing event to attract potential sponsors; it must be well organised and provide sponsors with exposure on multiple platforms. Once you have secured a sponsor, your job as an event organiser has only just begun. You now need to retain this sponsor to obtain a long-term investment in your event.
The process you follow to keep your sponsors updated and to make them feel part of the event is essential to secure future support.
Below are some tips on how you can nurture relationships with your event sponsors:
1. Discussion of their objectives
To someone who has been organising events for years, this may sound obvious - you need to discuss with your sponsor before implementation about what their marketing objectives are, and what they hope to achieve by sponsoring your event. Surprisingly many event organisers never have this discussion with their sponsors. Without this discussion, you run the risk of not delivering on your expectations and they could decide to pull-out of our event the following year. If your sponsor has reached at least a few of their business objectives with your event, then you can be sure that they will be your event ambassador within their organisation. Many sponsors won’t tell you what they need; therefore, it is your job as the event organiser to ask this all-important question.
2. Weekly progress emails
Keep your sponsor updated about what is happening with the event, even if you only have one new bit of information to share, because this keeps your event and the relationship you share with your sponsor top of mind.
3. Premium access to the event
You must make sure that your sponsor receives complimentary tickets to your event, with VIP access if you have this facility available. You need to make sure that you supply them with enough tickets so that they can invite other decisionmakers and influencers in their organisation. Other opportunities could be to leverage other sponsor investments to make sure that all your sponsors receive VIP treatment or free accommodation if they must travel out of town to attend your event.
4. New opportunities
Think outside of the agreement you have with your sponsors and see if there are other opportunities available for your sponsor that will enhance their presence on the day. It could be an opportunity for the sponsor to activate at your event; this could enhance the attendees' experience without costing you anything as the sponsor will have to manage the activation area.
5. Be the middleman
Always be the middleman between all your sponsors. Never let any of your sponsors communicate directly. You must be the middleman to ensure that you filter the communication that comes from each sponsor and that you can provide digestible feedback to each sponsor. In doing so, you will ensure that your sponsors never bud heads and possibly develop negative feelings towards you, as the organiser, and towards the event. It is important to note that each sponsor wants to get the most value for their brand, and you always need to be the primary decision maker.
6. Be your sponsor’s brand manager
When a sponsor signs-up to your event, they have made an investment and have trusted you with a brand that they have built over many years, if not decades, and probably invested millions in its growth. As the event organiser, you are accountable for their brand. You must always have the sponsor’s best interest at heart and protect their position by not allowing competing sponsors to partner on the event, ensuring that you acquire approval on the use of their logo and follow-up on branding placement for optimum visibility at the event. If you care, the sponsor will see that and be committed to you and your event.
7. Visuals and statistics
Show and tell. It would be best if you showed your sponsor what you have created. Share links to the social media pages of the event, share videos, and statistics of how many people attended, survey feedback from attendees, positive social media commentary, print coverage in newspapers or magazines, or radio interview clips. Your sponsor is not going to go look for this feedback, you need to prove to them their return on investment (ROI).
8. Debrief meetings
A formal debrief meeting soon after the event is critical. It gives the sponsor time to think about the event and provide constructive feedback in an organised setting, which ensures that the input is seen in a positive light to improve the future of the event.
9. Avoid common event organiser pitfalls
As your event grows, you will have more sponsors who will be interested in investing in your event. When you get more investors, you need to remain grounded, ensuring that you maintain the same professionalism and quality of communication with each sponsor.
With cash investment sponsors, you will have the start-up capital you require to get started with organising and marketing your event, and you will not have to rely only on ticket sales to make a profit or break-even. Therefore, it is imperative to take care of these relationships, nurture them and ensure that the arrangement is always mutually beneficial to you, as the event organiser, and the sponsor. Nurturing these relationships take time and require attention to detail. Therefore, if you hopefully have an event organising team, there could be one person assigned only to looking after the sponsor relationships. However, if you follow the steps as mentioned above, I am confident you will build positive relationships with all your sponsors.
What are some of the tactics you use to nurture relationships with event sponsors? Please leave your comment below. I would like to hear from you.