Choosing an event sponsorship is a little like choosing a mate. Pick a good one and it’s sunshine and lollipops. Land a dud and you’ll get heartaches by the numbers. So how do you choose wisely? Run your event or sponsorship options through this easy checklist to see how they stack up.
IS IT HOT, OR NOT?
Check an event’s attendance history. Is it gaining or waning in popularity? Associating your brand with events that have dwindling interest or bad reputations could have negative implications for your brand (and your job). It’s also important to note that although high attendance figures can be important, they’re not everything. Sometimes smaller, niche events can deliver more target-right traffic and social marketing opportunities.
TARGET THE RIGHT AUDIENCE.
Make sure the event’s audience demographics (age, gender, income) and psychographics (personality, values, attitudes, interests, or lifestyles) line up with your brand. Most events will provide a detailed audience profile. If they don’t have one, that should raise a red flag. If they do, ask how they got the information.
IS IT A GOOD FIT?
Like a brand, every event has a distinct personality. Being associated with the wrong event could send a negative message to your target audience. Simple rule of thumb: if you can’t make an organic connection between your brand and an opportunity, chances are your audience isn’t going to get it either.
CAN YOU AFFORD IT?
How much of your marketing budget will this event consume? How does that compare to other promotional opportunities? If you decide to move forward, be a tough negotiator.
WEIGH THE OPTIONS.
Most events offer tiered sponsorship packages, each with a laundry list of supporting elements like pre-event publicity, signage, advertisement in program materials, media mentions, category exclusivity, etc. Weigh the benefits of each package against your objectives. You may also be able to order “a la carte” to create a custom package that suits your needs.
KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS!
Most events have restrictions and it pays to know them up front. No projectiles! No balloons! No stickers! No helium tanks! No sampling! Try to avoid future bumps by clearly outlining your plan with the event organizer in advance – and in writing.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK.
Don’t rely on the event’s website for all your information. Dig deeper. Talk to past sponsors. Check blogs, Yelp and local news coverage. You may be surprised what you uncover.
ARE YOU IN GOOD COMPANY?
Who else is sponsoring the event? Think of these companies as your neighbors. Would you want to live next door to them? Will your competition be there? That could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your business and your sponsorship objectives. Finally, make sure there are no competitive conflicts that could adversely affect your plan.