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How to maximize co-sponsored events with partners

Posted by Christine Mulcahy on June 21, 2018 9:00:00 AM PDT
Christine Mulcahy

Depending on the size and scale of the event, co-sponsorship can come with a hefty price tag. If you have the budget, by all means, show up at the event with as much signage, brand awareness, and opportunity for engagement as possible. Engage with your partner’s event planning team early to be sure you are aware of all the sponsorship opportunities.

If budget is no object

If there is an expo floor, there will be opportunities for various sizes of booths, which then require a third-party booth design vendor to design and build the booth of your dreams. (Be sure to budget for lighting and overhead structures, as these are costly features that enhance or hinder your booth’s entire look and feel, and, therefore, your customer’s experience with your booth.)

There are often opportunities to sponsor signage suspended from ceilings or wrapping support structures—on the escalator, on stair cases, covering windows, or on walls. There are chances to provide artwork for mobile apps or hotel room keys. Any opportunity you have to put your brand in front of customers is valuable.

But, these sponsorships add up quickly, and you can easily spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a co-sponsored event, so choose wisely the sponsorships that have the potential to produce leads.

If budget is limited

Another approach is to strategically select the opportunities where customers will spend the most time—perhaps co-sponsoring partner cocktail receptions or executive dinners, or providing value-added content, such as a white paper or brochure in pre-event emails would be a more cost-effective way to make your presence known.

Social media is also an impactful and relatively inexpensive way to share your messaging in advance of and throughout the event. Create a channel specific to the event and develop a detailed content calendar to ensure your key messages are communicated often—and clearly. Reference the partner’s event handles or hashtags, as well as your own company’s primary channels to gain followers for your channel. (Learn more about developing a social media strategy here.)

Regardless of budget, be sure to capture leads

Of course, the purpose of any event is to generate leads, advance opportunities, and potentially even close sales if you can arrange a meeting with the right decision makers. In fact, you can easily spend a million dollars on an event and walk away with no leads. Developing a strategy to capture leads in advance of the event and knowing exactly who will own the data, where it will be posted, and how it will be used should be a top priority for your event managers. Once you agree on what qualifies as a lead, you will be able to calculate your per-lead costs and returns on investment (ROI).

With recent increases in security requirements for personally identifiable information (PII), it is wise to agree with your partners’ policies and understand the processes in place for collecting and sharing data collected at an event. Be sure to check with your legal team on your privacy policy and align with your partners on theirs to be sure you are legally able to collect and share PII before making it part of your event agreement.

Regardless of the size of your budget, showing up at an event and making an impact is a time-consuming endeavor. Do not underestimate the amount of time required for properly planning an event, or the number of work streams that will require your event manager’s time and attention. Events are often the most visible way to go to market with your partners, but events are also costly in terms of time and budget, so be sure to prepare accordingly to ensure your investment pays off.

Topics: Event Coordination, Channel Marketing