SGP Technology Group recently sponsored a regional business event organised by Entrepreneurs Forum. The Newcastle based event saw 400 of the region’s top entrepreneurs, CEO’s and CIO’s debate everything from growth strategy to the potential Brexit. The sponsorship brought a clear opportunity for SGP technology group to raise its profile and generate so interest in what the group is and does, but how to you make sure your business gets the maximum return on its investment when it decides to sponsor an event?
There are some events, like charity events, where the overt commerciality of a business sponsoring it needs to be looked at carefully. Benefit dinners, charity auctions, any good cause can bring a good level of Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”) to your company but keep in mind that the actual event is not the place to do business and any networking or business activities should be done before or after the event. CSR should be seen as a major return in its own right.
My observation about the failure to get a return on the investment is based around two core questions:
What is the motivation to sponsor the event and what is the outcome you want?
Failure to plan for pre-event / post-event activities.
If you’re going to invest into any kind of event sponsorship, then not doing the required heavy-lifting ahead of the event or the chasing up after makes the sponsorship potentially worthless. You need to do pre-awareness work on social media and directly to any prospective new clients well in advance. They need to know your sponsoring and what’s on offer.
On the day of the event you need to have enough staff to manage the prospective load of people wanting to talk to you, but you also need people who can circulate the crowd, introduce themselves to strangers and direct traffic towards the right people from your company. It’s not a common skill but priceless when it works correctly.
In the aftermath of the event all the benefits can be lost if you just fail to follow up with people you have spoken to. Even if the lead is barely warm then it’s still worth a phone call. Where interest was higher then an invite to the office makes more sense. Your CRM system should capture everything from the show and it should be graded, prioritised and acted upon, this is what you “bought” when you agreed to sponsor.
Before you sponsor event, ask yourself these questions:
Why am I sponsoring and what do I want back for the investment?
Is the audience for the event the right one for my company?
Do I have the staff that can work in the right way to maximise the opportunity?
Does the sponsorship amount represent value for money?
Can the business afford both the time and the distraction of the event?
If the answer to the majority is yes then it sounds like something the business would benefit from. More no’s than yes’s then its maybe not the right option. Either way invest into a decision making process that stops you from sponsoring when you shouldn’t or limits the danger of not getting a return for your time and money
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