Event marketing - where's the value?


In the years we’ve been building and growing SponsorMotion, we’ve engaged in countless discussions with potential event sponsors and attendees. And amidst the noise and data, a pattern emerged: oversimplifying a bit, most attendees prioritize networking opportunities (who will be there?), while sponsors are hungry for proven results (how many leads?).

Attendees want to meet people

As an attendee, the question of who will be present at an event often takes precedence over the matter of who will present. More than the fancy keynote speakers or the trailblazing panels, many attendees care about whom they'll bump into during the coffee break or at the evening mixer: opportunities to form connections and foster relationships in the industry are a significant part of the event experience.

And that is why "planned serendipity" is so important - creating visible opportunities for people to meet and for connections to form spontaneously. If you haven't read it, Get Lucky: How to Put Planned Serendipity to Work for You and Your Business is a phenomenal book on this topic.

How about sponsors?

On the other hand, sponsors have a different set of concerns. When a company chooses to sponsor an event, they're investing resources - money, time, and people - and looking for a return on that investment. That question often translates into - "How many leads will we get from this?"

This shouldn't be taken too literally: in the context of events, leads can come in several forms:  individuals who've visited a booth, folks who signed up for demos or to receive news, people with whom a booth rep engaged in conversation or exchanged business cards.

That is why it's critical to go beyond participant demographics and agendas. A few ideas to consider:

  1. In pre-event communication and advertisements, emphasize networking sessions, breakout rooms, and mingling opportunities. It is critical to let potential attendees know that you are creating opportunities beyond the traditional mixer. 
  2. Ask attendees whom they would like to connect with. And then use data and tech to make it happen. Offer them opportunities to leave their LinkedIn profile and create a closed LinkedIn group for them. The opportunities are endless.

To attract sponsors, play the long game:

  1. Strengthen data reporting: Collect regular reports from booths and sponsors on metrics like booth visits, sign-ups, and other lead-generation activities.
  2. Run post-event surveys: Include questions about participant/sponsor interactions in post-event surveys to gather direct and quantitative attendee feedback.
  3. ... and segment data by sponsorship. Measure the impact of each sponsorship you are offering!

Leave a Comment