Limit your event goals at brand awareness only
Now, I’m not saying this is a bad goal to have for an event. Just go a little bit further before deciding to sponsor an event only with brand awareness in mind.
Ask yourself: how much brand awareness could you possibly gain for having your brand all over this particular event? How many people are coming? How many will remember your logo, or your USP just because they saw it on the event website or on the banners and conference materials?
If you don’t have a measurement tool in place for that, try to guesstimate it the best you can. Then see how much brand awareness you can reach by investing the money for the sponsorship package in, let’s say, a well targeted digital campaign. My bet is that most of the times, there a lot more ways to reach the same goals of brand awareness with less money than sponsoring an event.
That being said, if you do decide to be a sponsor and you want a good ROI out of it, be there with more goals than brand awareness. Which leads me to the next common mistake.
Not using the event to gather and/or nurture qualified leads
Maybe it’s just me, but when it comes to sponsoring an event, gathering leads it’s the first thing of interest to me. You are not making the mistake I mentioned in the previous episode, you have already established that decision makers or influencers are going to be there. If that’s the case, why stop at brand awareness?
Use the opportunity to expand your e-mail marketing list with people interested to know more about your company and your products. Organize activities of gathering business cards or contact data and make sure participants understand their addresses are going to end up in your e-mail list. This way, not only you are compliant with privacy regulations, but you are also making sure that only the interested ones will be included.
Take a few minutes before the event and study the participants list, then do your best to find specific individuals of interest, during the event.
Interact with them and spark their interest about what you have to offer. If you succeed, take their business cards and make notes about what you have discussed with any each of them and any promises you might have make to them. No matter if it’s sending a quote, an informative material or just the phone number or your fitness instructor. Write down what you promised and what you discussed together with your impressions from said interactions. After the event gather together all this info and use it to grow your list of leads. When you will act upon it and make the sale, this activity alone will lead to a much more clear view about what your ROI in sponsoring that event really was.
Delegate the wrong people to represent you at the event (or not enough or none)
- They get the answers they want, but understand little from them because your expert is too technical to properly explain things to not-really-technical people who would be actually using your products. Also, your expert is a bit pissed off by being taken out from what they love to do and keeps forgetting to write down the names of the ones they spoke to or ask for their business cards. Same results as before.
- They meet your junior colleague who was sent to the event because everyone else was busy that day. They receive non-specific, rehearsed answers for most of their questions and none for the rest. They leave none the wiser, with a brochure where they can read exactly what is written on your website with a vague feeling of having lost their time there.
- Your presentation was a smashing success and now everyone wants to talk to you. They come find you all in the same time, only to find out you are constantly busy talking with someone else, because you are only one person and the event caters 200 people. Half of them are interested to find out if your product can solve their problem, but you leave the event exhausted with 10 business cards because you didn’t have time to talk to anyone else. Now, isn’t’ this this a shame and a lost opportunity to make that sponsorship package bring you real ROI?
- Nothing happens in this scenario because the company representative is nowhere to be found. Sure, it’s rare that a company sponsors an event and not send anyone, but what I’ve seen a lot are company representatives that are present only with their bodies there. Their minds and hands are busy to finish a document they have to deliver ASAP or making phone calls at a time when they should be interacting with people and gather useful leads. Best case? The event ends up meeting only the brand awareness goal and we covered that already.
- Your promotional materials are nice and shiny and your expo corner (or presentation table) is looking great. Visitors are drawn in by your colorful messages and earth shattering promises that you display proudly all over the website and on the event premises. They are trying to find more about what you can do for them so they are asking specific questions about your product. Then one of these scenarios happen:
In none of these scenarios you can actually calculate your ROI and see how efficiently you spend that portion of your marketing budget. If you started with this article, you can read here Episode I.
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