This should not be a surprise to anyone- the future is hybrid and the future is now. As we begin to plan for 2021 conferences, meetings and events, we need to rethink what sponsor packages offer and how they will be incorporated into both in-person and virtual experiences. What is important to our sponsors? What is important to the organization? How do we show value to our sponsors and add value for our attendees?
Here are three tips to consider:
#1 Sponsor Packages MUST have In-Person & Virtual Benefits Think of it as part of your risk management plan. Looking back at all the conferences that were cancelled in 2020, how many of your sponsor packages didn’t have a plan to pivot to a virtual platform? Did you have companies sponsor a breakfast or cocktail reception? Branded lanyards? Extra-large booth space or high traffic location on the trade show floor? Maybe it included tickets to attend the event. How many of those sponsors asked for their money back? While I hope the ladder didn’t affect too many, it is important that the packages are created to easily transition into a virtual only event that still provides value to the sponsor should we ever be in another lock-down situation!
One idea is to take a mealtime sponsor package (i.e. breakfast, cocktail reception) and turn it into an event box for attendees. These event boxes, like ones from Brilliant Event Box* can be mailed to virtual attendees and used as welcome gifts or break-time boxes for in-person guests.
#2 Think Outside of Your Industry With any business event, there are the expected core sponsors. If you plan an events trade show for instance, your core sponsors will be hotels, venues, caterers and transportation services. In this example, your core sponsors may have been hit hardest by the pandemic and not able to donate. By thinking outside of your industry, you may be able to find donors that have excelled and would greatly benefit from being in front of your audience. Some examples are tech companies, fitness equipment, learning platforms, designer brands and remote office furniture. Remember to brainstorm outside of your norm to find sponsors that help your organization and provide value to your attendees.
#3 Small Contributions Huge Impact Now hear me out. We all want whale sponsors, those that donate thousands of dollars at once. Catch a whale and your organization is set. However, since the pandemic has caused an unpredictable future, many businesses are holding their dollars a bit closer making finding that whale all the more difficult. Instead, appeal to a larger audience through smaller donations. It can be as simple as adding a button in your registration that allows attendees to match their registration to support another member attending or adding another registration tier that gives attendees an extra benefit (1:1 networking, speaker meet & greet, etc). One donation is small, but many will add up and provide one more revenue source for your event.
When times change, your strategy must change. When your strategy is working, reevaluate and see how it will hold up in a time of crisis. Bottom line, always strive to make it better and never settle for “how its always been done”.
*Brilliant Event Box is a new virtual event box service I am launching. Message me with questions and if you are interested in adding to your next event!