21 Oct Get more out of your sponsor relations with event tech
When speaking about event tech you most likely talk about mobile event apps, event websites or registration tools. Management of your sponsor relations and the content that they show and bring to an event rarely comes to mind.
After reading this post you will understand how event tech can help you getting the most out of these valuable relations.
In many industries companies organize events in which they involve a variety of partners. The reasons for doing this are manifold: showing the ecosystem of the company, getting the event (co-)funded, broaden the invitation and registration list, enrich the visitor journey…
The issue with sponsor management
In all these cases your partners become pillars under your event. As soon as you have more than, let’s say, 15 of these partners – each with their booth, break-out session, communication pack etc. – managing the preparations of your event could benefit from the support of specific apps. The risk to get lost in email exchanges with each of them about all aspects of their preparations is high and can lead to errors, damaging your image and the partner relationship going forward.
Looking for a solution
Earlier this year I had the pleasure to deploy, in close collaboration with LEF marketing & events, 2 relatively new systems to manage the 400+ sponsors for a series of events of one of LEF m&e’s clients across EMEA. We were given the objective to deliver a system and way of working to support sponsors /exhibitors with their preparations online and to facilitate content reviews for all public-facing content that they would propose for the events (logos, booth graphics, presentations, collateral, content for a mobile app).
After scanning the market, we decided to go for the Exhibitor module that is part of the Expoplatform platform to build an Online Sponsor Manual. We selected one of the very few solutions on the market for event related content reviews, Firebird, and configured that as well for our purpose.
Features of these systems include the possibility for sponsors to order booth equipment and get invoiced, upload all requested content and view consolidated feedback on it, deadline and content review alerts.
Lessons learned from the project
Looking back now, 8 months after starting the project, we have a stable and well performing platform built on the 2 chosen and configured solutions. What are the lessons learned?
- Start by writing up a scenario of the end result. What should be the experience of the sponsor/exhibitor? What will be yours when manipulating the back-office and reports? How does that “translate” into features?
- Be pessimistic on timing. We were optimistic and had to start with unfinished configurations, which had some negative impact. Take ample time for selections including demos by the vendor and POCs. Once the selection is made, take 1-2 months for configuration depending on the adaptations that you require.
- Prepare content as soon as possible in the project. Content that you can present in well-defined chapters, reflecting the steps that the sponsor should take to prepare. Watch out to not define too many steps. Include a deadline calendar to present a concise overview of the preparations.
- Communicate regularly per email and draw the sponsors to chapters of the manual that are approaching a deadline, so you accompany them through their preparations.
- Have a clear process in place for content reviews. In this case our team did 1st line reviews, the client 2nd line. This requires training and practice. Agree on delays to perform the reviews to avoid that sponsors wait too long for feedback.
- Be strict on deadlines. Obviously sponsors have to be treated respectfully but if you are too flexible with them on deadlines you undermine your own system in place and the quality that it helps you deliver.
With this first experience behind us we can conclude that preparation of the events and related exhibitions with the sponsors was less time consuming for the organizing team and more service oriented for the sponsors while giving better quality results to all.
Using event tech in sponsor relations helps to get more out of these relations by improving the joint preparations and the overall experience of partnership.