Cassie Brown, CEO of TCG Events, which specializes in planning and executing corporate events that drive business for their clients through the company’s proprietary EventSmarter approach, offers the following advice to make your sponsorship packages stand out from a crowded market based on her company’s success:
1) Customize each sponsorship to the company being solicited. Do your homework - what are the hot initiatives at a company? Tailor opportunities to sponsors needs – be strategic and create packages that are suited to each sponsor, create opportunities that are of value to the individual corporations.
Some companies may be looking for brand awareness where some companies may be looking for opportunities to test their products. Find out what they want/need then create your proposal. Don't assume you know what they want.
Be specific about their benefits – Tell them exactly what they will be getting in return for their sponsorship. What benefit are you providing them that no one else is/can? A logo on a screen and a table at the event isn't enough.
2) Deliver what you promised, before and during the event. Don't over promise attendee counts. Be honest. Have more names on the list than you have opportunities.
Not everyone says yes. Often time there are lots of logistics and fulfillment pieces that have to be arranged for sponsors.
Dedicate someone to manage those relationships and pull together their logistics in a timely and friendly manner. Sponsorship is a business transaction not a donation.
3) Track your data. Companies want a ROI. Do pre-event and post-event surveys asking specific questions about sponsors. Know the demographics and psychographics of attendees and why that would be important to a company. Ask the sponsor how they determine success and figure out how to measure that.
4) Don't just dump them after an event. Solicit feedback, thank them, court them so they want to play again next year. Remember, the devil’s in the details: generic, form letter thank you notes are a terrible idea. Don't misspell company or individual names in the letters.
Many companies have tricky names – LendingTree is often misspelled as two words even though it is one. Or Sheetz has a "z" instead of an "s."
5) And finally, don’t get stopped before you’ve started: Don't screw up the logo. Ask for branding guidelines. Many companies have specific rules for logos. One very common one is the logo must be on a white background.
If the logo is going on a black bag or red PowerPoint slide that can be a problem.
About the Author: With an event management background spanning two decades, Cassie Brown assumed the role of President & CEO of TCG Events in 2011.
Under her direction or direct project management, Cassie’s work has earned the company awards in event, decor, invitation, and program categories.
An active participant in the International Special Events Society, Cassie has served on the Board of Directors and as President of the Charlotte, NC chapter. She is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, universities and association meetings.
She was an adjunct professor at Johnson & Wales University and has taught courses in event management at Central Piedmont Community College.