The “big sponsors” can seem elusive. But, if you’re driven to score a few for your upcoming event, prepare to tailor your offerings to meet their expectations. Here’s the inside scoop:
1) The big sponsors want one-on-one meetings with your members.
2) They want to deliver content and ongoing strategic marketing programs that leverage diverse opportunities such as live events, webinars, email distribution, and other platforms.
3) These folks are looking for real ROI, so you will need to be candid about the opportunity to deliver to their metrics.
And let’s also have a reality check. I’ve been in the board meeting when the question arises, “Hey, man, why isn’t Google (or Microsoft or Cadillac or insert a famous consumer brand a sponsor? They should be a sponsor. Our members are CEOs for cryin’ out loud.”
True. But the reality is, it’s possible your association may not be able to significantly move the needle for them. And, if interested, this sponsor will demand big time exposure including naming rights, the opportunity to present, etc. Why?
Because these big companies often think they are doing you a favor by participating! And the prospect of providing this much premier inventory to someone – possibly a non-member can make some nervous… so before you start nodding in affirmation to “the mega company should be a sponsor – it’s a no-brainer!” – be cautious.
The truth is – the very best sponsorship opportunities likely exist right in your space today. They’re not the big consumer player, it’s the existing supplier that wants to take things to the next level, for the right opportunity.
So, when you build out your prospectus consider these tips:
1) Compare offerings to other organizations that attract your suppliers.
2) Analyze the deliverables and pricing. What could you learn?
3) Get very familiar with the audience suppliers want to reach. Note: Sometimes chief executives are important to you, but suppliers really value CMOs or other titles.
4) Don’t forget to re-evaluate why the long-term sponsor continues. My experience is their ROI or business objectives change over time… and the right sponsorship may be different for them now.
So, the bottom line for sponsorship growth may not be landing the “big fish.” It’s enhancing the existing program for those who are already very good to you.