Associations often rely on their annual conference to be a source of non-dues revenue for the year. So it’s no surprise they are determined to make smart budgeting decisions for the event. As we talk with customers about their fall conferences (or in some cases, their early 2018 conferences!) we’ve been helping them think of their conference materials in a new way. For some, an event app or online content library is one more item on the list of necessary conference expenses. But as we’ve been pointing out in these conversations, these necessities are different than A/V equipment and Per Diems. The cost of conference materials can be offset—or even become revenue generators—thanks to sponsorship opportunities.
When done well, conference sponsorship opportunities can be a win-win-win solution to reduce the expense of your conference materials.
Win #1: Attendees benefit from learning about relevant products and services
Sponsorships can be a great way for attendees to learn about companies that provide solutions to their problems. To be truly effective, however, the sponsorship needs to focus on education rather than promotion. A modern example of this kind of attendee benefit comes from conference app sponsorships.
For most attendees, downloading the official event app has become a pre-show ritual. The app is full of useful information about the speakers, the schedule and the sponsors for the days ahead. Having this information before the event lets your attendees research companies they aren’t familiar with. That makes their time in the exhibit area more efficient and their conversations more productive.
Win #2: Sponsors benefit from continuing conversations after the show
Building relationships with your attendees that continue after the event is your sponsors’ main goal. Adding a sponsorship opportunity to your online conference library is one way to help your sponsors meet this goal.
The online conference library is a great choice for these sponsors because attendees typically visit the online conference library after the event is finished. As attendees review the information they learned at the event or browse through your conference’s other materials, they offer sponsors their prime target: highly engaged members of your industry.
Win #3: Your association benefits from the income that a sponsorship provides
No surprise, this is the “win” that affects our customers most directly. If a customer doesn’t have experience with finding a sponsor for their event, it isn’t always obvious how impactful these opportunities can be. One of the biggest “game changers” can be when a customer finds a partner that is interested in sponsoring their conference’s flash drive.
Flash drives are enticing to sponsors because they offer great brand awareness along with the ability for an attendee to learn more about the company. These two qualities provide value that a sponsor is willing to pay for. And since flash drives typically have a low price per unit, a sponsor can end up paying for most, if not all, of the cost of the drives.
When done right, we’ve found that sponsorships can be beneficial to your attendees, your sponsors and your association. The important thing is to ensure the sponsored messages focus on education instead of promotion and offer real value to both your attendees and sponsors. When your conference sponsorship opportunities match both of those criteria, you have an effective way to reduce the cost of your conference materials.