Have you been asked to sponsor an event like a trade show? Or maybe the thought has crossed your mind as a way to get good press? Here are a few questions you need to ask before making the decision.
1. When does the event take place? This is painfully obvious, I know. But it never ceases to amaze me how disorganized some small and medium sized business owners can be. Usually it’s due to wearing too many hats or having too many cooks in the kitchen (two terrible-but-true clichés that I can’t really think of a better way to say right at this particular moment).
Before you agree, make sure your calendar is clear. Few things are as troublesome and as embarrassing as double booking. Imagine promising to sponsor, but then you aren’t actually able to make the event. Disastrous.
2. Who is the target audience for the event? Just as with all your print and digital marketing, it’s important that you target the right potential customers. And make no mistake, event sponsorship is a marketing endeavor. So do your homework and find out what kind of people attends the event you’re considering sponsoring. Make sure that market could plausibly be interested in your niche.
3. How many attendees are expected? This is important for a few reasons. First, and most obvious, is you’re going to get more bang for your marketing buck at a larger event. The more eyes present, the more eyes on you. But also you need to know in case you are giving away promotional products. It wouldn’t work well to bring 100 grab bags with your logo on them if there are going to be 2,000 attendees. You’ll run out within the first hour—then what?
4. How will the event be marketed? Knowing how the event will be marketed can help you figure out how much press you’re going to get out of it. It will also let you get a better idea of how well the organizers know what they’re doing.
5. What are the plans for the day of the event? First, you need to know what the schedule is going to look like so you know what you’re getting yourself into. But more importantly, asking about the schedule can help you get an idea of how organized the event planners are. You don’t want to be a part of a discombobulated mess. This could reflect badly on your brand.
6. What’s in it for me? It might sound selfish, but he, it is what it is. You’re looking to put up a chunk of money and you need to know how your brand will benefit. Will you get direct contact with potential clients? Will you get advertisement through the event’s social media accounts and thereby bolster your followers?
7. How can my brand add to the event? Can you honestly add value to the event? Or are you just throwing your name up there and writing a check? Adding value would do more for you. Is it feasible?
8. What sort of reputation does the event have? Again, you’re looking for an event that will lineup with your company’s image. So if the show has gone on for a few years, how to people generally view it? Is it a classy deal, or has it left a bad taste in some people’s mouths? Sponsoring an event with a not-so-great reputation can tarnish your brand, as people will associate your company with the bad event.
9. Who else is sponsoring the event? Will your competitors be there? Then maybe you’re going to want to shy away so as not to get into a “who can throw more money at this” battle. Or maybe not. Maybe you want to make sure your name is right up there alongside theirs. How about companies who you could potentially develop mutually beneficial relationships with? Are the companies high quality? Or is the sponsorship filled with companies you’d rather not be associated with?
10. What are the organizer’s affiliations? Sometimes event organizers have strong ties to political or religious organizations. This may or may not cause an issue for you. For example, right now if the guys from Duck Dynasty were putting on an event and you were asked to sponsor, well, depending on your views you might pull away. The public has strongly polarized opinions of them right now, and your brand would be right there alongside them.
Can you think of anything else you’d need to ask? Tell us in the replies!