Getting the biggest bang for your buck…

Ensuring you get the right return on investment is critical – and this is about making sure you get the right service from the event provider but also it’s about making sure you are ready as a business to put in the necessary work to capitalize on the opportunity.

The following Bulletin provides some key pointers to enable you to create a successful strategy for evaluating sponsorship opportunities to ensure you reach your ROI objectives. Here are some fundamental questions you have to answer for yourself: What are your objectives? Does the event match with your targets? The answers will determine the events which will be the best match to meet your needs. You also need to consider how will you evaluate the results – be realistic and patient – it does take time to create brand awareness.

So, what’s the ROI objectives?

Have your eyes on the prize… When you sponsor an event the highest priority (but not the only priority) is the ROI… It’s a big investment in time, money and resources, so what am I looking to achieve, and how am I going to measure it? Remember, it’s not all the responsibility of the event organizer, they deliver the platform, and you create the opportunity. So, determine if your ROI is about: lead generation, direct sales, appointments booked, brand awareness, exposure to new audiences, or supporting your market sector. It might be a combination of all of the above or more… It’s different for every brand. Understanding your objectives will enable you to evaluate the right events for you.

The opportunity to communicate directly with your target audience

It’s all too easy to get seduced by the event or the location. Be clear about who you are selling to – the event needs to expose your brand to the right audience in the right way. Yes, you may have a stand and a presence along with hundreds of others but what else can we do – can we sponsor a session, a speaker, an award, a lunch or a reception, can we place our product, how can we be interactive with the audience, what technology could we deploy – what else can you do to create real impact?

Commit – you have to put some skin in the game

It’s not just about what the event delivers for you – you have to plan what you will do, you have to commit… You can’t invest the money without a strategy. Plan out the resources required, the relevant collateral, the people to have on board. Do your homework:  who else is attending, where are my competitors, what are they doing – how can we be different – it’s about creating impact. And remember,  make sure you attend, you need to show commitment beyond signing the purchase order. 

Show me the money… and the contract

Sponsor an event that can deliver against your objectives, and be transparent about what you want out if it. Ask for the evidence to evaluate against – tell them what you want, ask them if it’s achievable. If it’s your first time, who else has been before you – what did they achieve – or not, why did they move on? Ask for the previous evaluations and do your own research. Have we done it before, what were the outcomes?  What has been delivered and achieved for like businesses with similar objectives. It doesn’t really matter what activity or event you sponsor make sure you get a contract that you are happy with. Build in your key deliverables – you have to be realistic – remember you have to play your part. It’s not up to the event organizer to sell your product, that’s your responsibility. But it is up to them to create the environment and the opportunity to enable you sell it.

Look at the promotional plan

There should be a media plan and schedule for the event – the sponsor should share this with you. You need to be clear where you fit into this – how and where will your brand, your logo, your product or service be included and who will it be exposed to and when. Can you capitalize on pre-event exposure – can this drive traffic to your website, your Twitter feed, Facebook page – can you be proactive in this plan. You also need to build your readiness to make the most of the sponsorship, don’t just think about this as a one-off activity booked in 6 months time – how can you create impact in the lead up to the event.

Evaluation, evaluation, evaluation

Scrutinize the historical evidence of success – their evaluation should provide the basis breakdown of attendees, and exposure via broadcast media TV, radio, print, social media, and website. What newspaper and other media coverage was there?

This is always more powerful if there is an external audit – but be realistic, this isn’t always possible. Again, don’t forget your own research and talk to people – competitors, colleagues and customers – they are all likely to have been there, seen it or done it before.

Here’s a useful checklist:

      • Attendance – with demographic breakdown
      • Pre-Event Advertising for the event & your brand
      • Website w/ logo and links to and from
      • PR schedule
      • Social Media activities – make sure you join in
      • Relationship Marketing to event attendees
      • Newsletter coverage, story placement, logos, links
      • Display location inside the event – where do you want to be?
      • Banners, posters, website, street signs
      • PA announcements
      • Ability to distribute POS, premiums, competition and giveaways
      • Can you do research on-site? Where, when, what form?
      • Does the event do any of the execution or can your team be there?

Before, during and after

If it’s an inaugural event or the 20th anniversary event there should be a clear media buy that shows – and this needs to show where your logo and company will be exposed and if you can, with values attached that equate to your sponsorship pounds spent.

Case studies – who can I speak to?

We all like a good case study… Ask to speak with other sponsors, and do your own research. Even if the organisers show you a case study from a like business, ask to see a range, objectives will differ. They should be able to show you a broad cross section of case studies that will show you how companies with a similar target audience connected.

Post-event evaluation… and don’t forget the contact strategy

You need to see the event evaluation – it’s a good idea to look at one they’ve done previously. If they don’t offer one, how will they help you deliver against your objectives. But it’s not just enough to wait for the organizers post-event evaluation – you have to do your own… The money you spend has to work for you. Be clear about the activities you will engage in post-event. A contact strategy for event follow-up is critical – surprisingly and all too often overlooked…

To make the most of your spend; you need to ensure you follow through on contacts made, promises made and business opportunities. You sponsor an event to get a return – but only you can determine what success looks like...

 

To learn more about Ian Jones click here  - to talk to Ian call 07880 788 985

Tuesday the 12th. - Copyright Delegate Central Ltd 2016