Selling the power of events to sponsors and exhibitors
If you are selling an event to a sponsor or exhibitor you must first ensure that your prospect fully understands the power of events as a marketing and business development tool – compared to other opportunities such as television, magazines, radio, direct mail etc – before selling them on how your specific event can address their needs.
If you don’t sell the category first, you leave yourself open to the objection later on in the sales process that your prospect doesn’t see the value in events at all, let alone your opportunity.
Here are seven reasons why events are a powerful marketing and business development tool.
Events provide the time and opportunity for an audience to associate a brand with an event and assimilate (take on board) the desired brand messages.
In the same way that conferences give delegates multiple opportunities over the course of three days to associate a key sponsor with an industry sector, spending a day at a prestigious tennis tournament provides time for the audience to associate the tradition and prestige of the event with the sponsor (Ralph Lauren and Wimbledon).
2. Passion and interest
Events provide the opportunity to engage an audience in a mindset (leisure or business mode) where the audience has a high degree of passion and interest invested in the event.
People attend conferences and exhibitions to discover the latest products and ideas, therefore brands or products being launched at the time of an event make good potential sponsors. Similarly audiences at sports and music events will associate the sponsor of the event with their passion and positive experience (assuming the sponsor plays a constructive role adding value to their experience).
Events connect brands with people and people with people.
Sponsoring an art exhibition provides the opportunity to put a new wine in the hands of your audience, whilst conferences and exhibitions provide powerful opportunities for exhibitors and sponsors to build face to face relationships with their clients and prospects; a crucial part of the sales process for many organisations. Unfortunately few take this opportunity preferring to hide behind their laptop on their exhibition stand!
Events enable brands to engage audiences through the five senses
The opportunity to experience a brand through the five senses (see, touch, hear, taste and smell) is a key advantage of events over other marketing communication vehicles. It allows the audience to experience the brand in a deeper way.
For example, when a motor manufacturer sponsors a contemporary art show it enables the audience to physically experience the vehicles (see and touch the latest models, hear the engine and speakers and smell the leather seats) and to associate the brand with the contemporary and stylish values of the show. Consider brands that lend themselves to the five senses as potential event sponsors.
5. Desired context
Events allow brands to be experienced in their desired context
If you want your champagne to be seen as prestigious, classic and French, having your champagne ‘experienced’ at a French impressionist exhibition at a prestigious art gallery will be more beneficial than having it sampled at a bottle shop. Consider what context your event provides and what brands desire that context.
Events provide the opportunity to build a long term campaign
Whereas events start and finish, the needs of companies and brands are ongoing. The mistake people make is to sell their event rather than the ongoing opportunity to engage the audience who attend the event (which is what a sponsor really wants). Present a marketing campaign or marketing platform; a timetable of engagement, before, during and after the event that creates real value for the sponsor.
Events provide proof
Rather than a company tell people that they are community minded, by sponsoring a community event it allows people to experience the company being community minded, which is important as experience overrides testimony which in turn overrides claim.