Because I have yet to meet a small business with an unlimited marketing budget, it pays to do your due diligence before you get into event marketing. Simply answer these nine questions to ensure that you’re making a great investment of time, money, and resources when you sponsor an event.
Does it make sense for your brand?
You know the saying, “You are the company you keep”? That’s as true in your personal life as it is for your company’s brand. Make sure the event is not only relevant to your overall brand but also complements your reputation, mission, values, and company culture.
Will it help you meet business goals?
Like any marketing endeavor, sponsoring an event has to help you meet business goals. It doesn’t matter how cool the event is: If it won’t somehow help move your business forward, pass on the opportunity.
Will your target market be there?
Obviously, you want to reach potential customers during the event. Be sure to ask exactly who is expected to attend the event and how large of a crowd is expected. Do the demographics line up with your target market? Will you be able to reach enough people to make it worthwhile?
Is the timing right?
Like location, timing is everything! If the event is taking place during your busy season, you might not have enough staff to attend the event, work the booth, or handle new customer inquiries.
Or maybe the event’s timing coincides with your quiet season and therefore you won’t generate much interest. (Anyone want to rent a boat slip at a marina in Maine during February? Don’t think so.)
Do you have the resources to make the most of the event?
Depending on the event, you might need to attend in person at a certain time or contribute something for a silent auction or door prize. If event sponsorship includes a booth, you’ll need signage, displays, fun swag to hand out, and marketing materials. Be sure you can make the most of the event without running yourself ragged, stretching your staff thin, or going over budget.
Can you earn back your investment?
Speaking of budget, you definitely want to earn back whatever you spend on sponsorship, plus some. How many new customers will you need and how much will they have to spend in order for you to earn a nice ROI?
What is their promotion plan?
Event sponsorship is very much a two-way partnership. Look for a solid marketing and promotion plan from the event organizers, including tips and specific language you can use to promote the event to your audience.
Will you have access to registrants’ contact information?
Certain types of events – think conferences, trade shows, workshops – require registration. If this is true of the event you’re considering for sponsorship, make sure you will receive a list of all registrants and attendees (two separate lists!). That way, you can set up a drip email campaign after the event to target each group and entice them to become paying customers.
How successful has this event been in the past?
Unless this is an inaugural event, event organizers should willingly share an overview of the event’s past success. If they won’t, I’d be skeptical about how successful the event really is – and therefore how useful it’ll be for you.
What other information do you want to know before you choose whether or not to sponsor an event?