Event Management

Get Your Sponsors On-Board to Nail In-event Engagement

Eventually Learning Team

“Sponsorship today requires genuine engagement and a belief in the shared goals of the partnership.” – Marcy Heim

In 2022, companies will actively allocate some marketing budgets for sponsoring events. The above statement may seem like a no-brainer, but it is challenging for organizers to provide sponsors with opportunities that help them to interact with their target audience groups.

For instance, AWS re: Invent 2021 enabled sponsor engagement by featuring more than 250 custom and turnkey sponsor booths, 86 meeting rooms and 1000+ sponsor engagement opportunities through dedicated landing pages and content on their website.

Ensure that your sponsors are actively involved in attendee engagements for upcoming events!

How to Make Certain That Your Sponsors Know the Scope for Engagement?

First, you need to understand why sponsors agree to partner with events. For example, GES surveyed more than 400 event exhibitors to report that nearly 60% of sponsors exhibit only for the sole motive of increased brand awareness and the remaining 40% are just looking to generate more leads.

So organizers must focus on 'sponsor exclusivity' and outline the exact benefits like higher ROI through lead generation, one-on-one networking sessions and engagement through exclusive content formats. In addition, the new trend doing the rounds these days is tailored sponsor-attendee sessions! This helps the sponsor gauge how aligned a partnership can be.

Do you know how INBOUND 2021 secured top-notch sponsorships? HubSpot INBOUND created a special sponsor landing page highlighting their value propositions, like opting for a virtual booth or booking an in-person stall. Their digital sponsor prospectus even showed digital mock-ups of what a sponsor booth may look like!

Let's move ahead to map some innovative ways to create sponsor engagement at your virtual and in-person events.

Virtual Events: Some Stable Sponsor Engagement Session Ideas

The industry shifts to virtual and hybrid events have helped organizers get creative with sponsorship ideas! You can provide tailored sponsor-attendee engagement activities like:
  • One-on-one meeting sessions: Organizers can handpick interested audiences by filtering their requirements to pair them with like-minded sponsors.
  • Dedicated landing page and content: You can ask sponsors to send their brochures, video ads, presentations and even digital visiting cards to showcase on your sponsor landing page. Make sure it is readily available for download!
  • Partner theatre sessions: Digital meeting rooms can be set up by organizers that allow sponsors to tell brand and service stories through demonstrations or presentations for attendee engagement.
  • Customized turnkey digital sponsor booths: You can customize the décor and design of turnkey sponsor booths based on their brand colors and preferences for optimum brand recall and visibility.
  • Industry program pavilions: Sponsors can take the stage to deliver sessions or presentations about their brand and services in front of a live audience virtually. They can also offer additional industry knowledge and thought leadership advice!

In-person Events: Direct Sponsor-attendee Engagement Ideas

Event sponsors can actually set up shops for attendees! The advantage of exhibiting at an in-person event is that attendees can window-shop at the sponsor booth to see, feel and experience the range of products or services.

Being an event organizer, you can provide ample networking opportunities to sponsors at in-person events by:
  • Branded breakout sessions or break areas: Your sponsors are looking for increased visibility and new clientele! Instead of just displaying brand logos, you can brand break areas and theme the entire space for engagement, informal talk sessions, etc.
  • A keynote sponsor address: As a part of your sponsorship pitch, you can allow your gold sponsors to deliver keynote speeches by addressing the audience live.
  • Q&As with sponsors over cocktails: Allow your esteemed sponsors to host cocktail networking sessions and answer questions asked by attendees.
  • VIP post or pre-event sessions: You can ask interested sponsors to host pre or post-event sessions with target attendees to provide them with bonus networking advantages.
  • Personalized sponsor briefcases: After attendees and sponsors have stricken a partnership agreement, you can send attendees personalized welcome gifts through a customized briefcase.
You can also integrate with an event technology mix like wearable technology, virtual reality and live streaming for event engagement activities in virtual and in-person events. Let's look at how event tech can help organizers and sponsors.

Holistic Integration of Tech and Data: Benefits for Engagement

Thanks to event technology, organizers can now track event KPIs to analyze the success of their conference. With an event app, organizers can even present sponsors with data like:

  • Sessions most preferred by attendees
  • Likes received for a product, demo or presentation
  • Which kind of booths received stronger attendee impressions
  • The type of content attendees prefer to download
  • Which networking tactics result in lead generation
The above data offerings help sponsors build engagement strategies for future events that will pay off.

Wrapping Up

For all event professionals, sponsorships are one of the biggest ways of monetizing an event! Unfortunately, since the pandemic outbreak, offering specialized sponsor benefits has been challenging for organizers. However, the above tips will surely help to create unique sponsor engagement opportunities for virtual and in-person events.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to encourage active sponsor involvement in virtual events?

Some fun activities to involve your sponsors and attendees for engagement at virtual events are:
  • You can brand social activities and online meeting lounges
  • Allow sponsors to host break sessions or deliver content in virtual sessions
  • Create custom sponsor badges to encourage attendee attendance at online sponsor booths
  • Encourage sponsors to send video ads for display
  • Make social announcements of sponsored prizes and giveaways

What are the different types of event sponsorship?

Four different types of event sponsorship are:
  1. Financial event sponsorship
  2. Media event sponsorship
  3. Promotional event partners
  4. In-kind event sponsorship (Sponsorships that provide goods or services instead of money)

What are some common goals for event sponsorship?

The goals sponsors have in mind while offering sponsorship are:
  • Brand awareness
  • Lead generation
  • Standing out from the competition
  • Expanding reach to new geographies
  • Driving more sales with a new target audience

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