Super Bowl fans paid big money to attend the experience in Arizona.
Sponsors paid big money for game day ads. And some paid for unique customer experiences, some onsite and some online.
The savviest sponsors engaged fans before they ever hit the turnstiles or clicked their remote. They knew that getting the most from their sponsorship dollars required a separate activation plan to engage potential customers.
Conference Experience Tips From The Sponsor Pros
We can learn a lot from the unique fan experiences created by some of the Super Bowl’s Sponsors. Jump start your next attendee experience sponsorships by stealing a few ideas from Verizon Super Bowl Central.
1. Shareable Unique Experiences
What unique experiences will your conference participants like to see, do and share?
- The Bridgestone Fan Gallery, gave fans the opportunity to watch the media and celebrities in action with behind the scenes access.
- Bridgestone’s Punt, Pass and Kick allowed fans to test their skills.
What behind the scenes or participatory experiences will work for your fans? Would they appreciate a challenge, a photo booth, afternoon ice cream or an opportunity to meet the keynote speaker?
2. Create Opt-In, Value-Add Experiences
Create experiences that include activities your attendees would pay extra to experience. Then secure a sponsor for those experiences.
- People gladly paid $5 for the opportunity to climb one of the seven wonders at The Grand Canyon Experience.
- Always a fan favorite, the $35 NFL Experience offered dozens of activities for fans of all ages, from arts and crafts to testing your agility with NFL like drills.
Could a sponsor help create, organize and underwrite a rare experiential learning opportunity, an excursion, a networking event or other unique experience?
3. Everyone Invited Experience
There were plenty of VIP parties and events before and after the Super Bowl. There were also activities open to all including:
- Free concerts and autograph signing.
- Free Tostitos and Papa John’s pizza.
- Bud Light Beer Garden.
Attendees want to connect. Get your sponsors involved in specialty lounges, tech charging areas that include tables and couches for networking and food. Where can you help attendees connect and sample something? There’s your sponsorship opportunity.
4. Offer Some Unexpected Sponsorships
Yes, there were the usual suspects; Budweiser, Doritos, GMC, Pepsi, and Verizon. And there were a few unexpected players including:
- Cancer Treatment Centers of America distributing sunscreen and information on preventing cancer.
- Mexico Tourism featuring 360 degree photo opportunities, sand sculptures and augmented reality technology where guests flew through Mexico City.
Ensure your conference sponsorship team is expecting the unexpected. They should be open and willing to offer unique sponsorships to new and different investors.
5. Extend the Sponsorship Runway
Sponsors leverage their sponsorships by creating an activation plan that engages their fans well before the big day.
- Doritos Crash the Super Bowl crowdsourced their television commercials. Fans submitted a video by November 9, 2014. Then the public voted on their favorites through January 28th. Ten finalists were featured on the website. Two aired during the game.
- The Grand Canyon Experience opened January 28th with ticket sales at least a month out.
Are there sponsorships that you can crowdsource and extend the runway? The best sponsorship opportunities have leverage plans that begin at least 90 days prior to the event and end when people stop talking about it. Consider crowdsourcing the conference pin, evening entertainment or activities for the opening reception? Engage both the participants and the people who wish they were there live; especially through social media channels.
How are your sponsorship offerings meaningful, fun or engaging? What are you doing to extend the sponsorship opportunity?