Sponsors without a well-conceived and executed activation plan will yield crappy results, . It's akin to an exhibitor purchasing a booth, not completing a booth profile, not doing any advance outreach, not manning their booth and doing no follow-up. This is a big reason successful sponsor programs embrace a fewer, but bigger strategy. Larger sponsors are more invested and tend to be more sophisticated.
Sponsorship is the most powerful tool in any progressive marketer's bag of tricks. It provides the opportunity to make an emotional connection; improving perception of the brand to its target market. The B2C market is doing a much better job leveraging sponsorship than many B2B conferences. We can do better!
The critical first steps in moving this needle are 1) aligning sponsorship offerings with Attendee Mattering and 2) guiding sponsors in the development of effective activation plans.
Sponsor activation (aka - leverage) is complex for non-marketers to initially wrap their head around. This month's newsletter is intended to give those of us a primer on activation and consider concepts for upping your game.
We're continuing our new webinar series at 2:00 PM EST on Wednesday September 9th. This one will be on Conference Connexity: How to Deliver on Your Networking Promise presented by Sarah Michel, CSP. If you're interested in participating, click here to review and/or register. All webinars are promotion free, progressive learning opportunities.
Progressive conference organizers will learn from, and coach, their sponsors on how to leverage their support beyond a few days. Activation plans are owned and primarily funded by sponsors. And they can be greatly enhanced with proper use of the conference organizers assets. Successful activation elements will often incorporate two threads...
There has been a fair bit of chatter online about what the standard sponsorship leverage ratio should be. That is, how much incremental money should you budget for your leverage program, as a ratio to the sponsorship fee paid. People have offered up 1:1 (spend one dollar leveraging for every dollar spent on a sponsorship fee), 2:1, and 3:1 in the discussions. If you pay attention to IEG, you'll know they recently reported an average leverage spend of 1.4:1 in 2009. And there are plenty of that media hail big leverage spenders as being at the vanguard of sponsorship. I disagree with all of that...
Many conference organizers confuse sponsorship with advertising or promotion. While a custom sponsorship bundle may include some of those elements, the most worthwhile opportunities are those that are highly valued (or needed) by conference attendees. Sponsors are going to look more favorably...
Nearly every organization's sponsorship package comes with a list of benefits: logo on the website, banner ad on an email blast, a table at the trade show, signage at the conference, etc. But these benefits don't get sponsors remembered. Sponsorship is an opportunity to establish meaningful connections that benefit the organization, sponsor and attendees. That happens through activation.
The old-school approach to facilitating conference sponsors was to set up an exhibition hall and provide some free food or drink options for attendees, and then the activation would occur easily. That methodology has changed and sponsors are demanding more ROI from their involvement. A mass amount of attendees at a conference may not translate into a plentiful supply of prospective clients for sponsors, especially if attendees avoid the exhibition hall altogether.