Proving Conference Emotional Marketing Sponsor Spend

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Exhibit-booth footprints are shrinking across nearly every industry.

The Good News

There is a silver lining though: the opportunity to develop fruitful strategic partnerships. Just be ready to prove why a sponsor’s dollars are well spent on your organization.

The Bad News

More companies are demonstrating their products and services via digital technology rather than face-to-face events. That’s the bad news for your convention’s revenue-diversification model.

Proving Sponsorship Activation

As an organization, you need to shift those revenue dollars from industry suppliers by developing a strategy around your sponsorship offerings. One of the best tactics to increase sponsorship sales is to become an expert at compiling post-conference proof of sponsorship activation. When done well, your evidence will go beyond measurement of attendee demographics, impressions, and clicks to true engagement outcomes.

Developing A Strong Sponsorship Story To Share

No marketing investment is easy to measure. Sponsorship is the most sophisticated and emotional marketing-spend category of all and requires a strong story — one that can be shared up the ladder. The best way to prove to sponsors that their investment is well spent is to create a short, succint PowerPoint presentation. Here’s what it should include:

1. A Conference Overview

Include several photos, stats and strong headlines that convey your property is a leading conference for the industry you both love and serve. Be sure these photos include lots of attendees and capture their emotions at your conference’s biggest and best moments.

2. Benefit Proof And Fulfillment

In the sponsorship agreement, you promised a number of things. Provide visual proof of delivery and activation of each with an action-packed, professional photo or screen capture. Also include details of the associated promotional or PR placement and metrics.

3. ROI Pointers

Sponsorship ROI is an inexact science and you’re never going to have the most important metric: customer sales. Help your sponsors’ business case by

  • Aligning their investment to their marketing objectives
  • Calculating cost savings
  • Profiling the buying power of the attendees
  • Explaining the amplification effect of your conference beyond those who attended

Go out of your way to identify media mentions, attendee comments and any other insights that demonstrate the ripple effect of their investment.

4. Help Them Stand Out.

Your job is to help your sponsors better compete. For this section of your presentation, either demonstrate how they are beating their competitors or give them guidance on how they can position themselves better next year.

Additional Tips

The better your organization gets at demonstrating value to your sponsors, the stronger your consultative selling muscles will grow. Start by doing this with your top 10 sponsors and then improve the deliverables each year.

Be careful to keep your deck to a digestible length. Your main goal is for your sponsors to share it with their bosses. The more C-level-ready you make it, the higher the likelihood of being rewarded with the renewal — or better yet, increased investment.

How do you show your event sponsors that their investment met their marketing objectives? What are some additional ways to show sponsors the evidence of their sponsorship?

Adapted from Dave’s Forward Thinking column in PCMA’s Convene. Reprinted with permission of Convene, the magazine of the Professional Convention Management Association. ©2014.

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