Major sponsors in our space get hundreds of emails from us each year, all asking for money. Those are all interesting and potentially valuable invitations, but the sheer volume can be overwhelming. Beyond that, sponsors struggle to find the ROI, from picking the swag that draws people to the table to identifying venues most likely to generate leads if not immediate sales. They have to schedule a speaker and/or sales rep, ship stuff, buy stuff, it’s not just “show up”.
Imagine a sponsor portal where they can see every event scheduled/reserved, whether they’ve sponsored this year (and in previous years), and easily see the sponsor plan. Imagine they can post a note to events that says “I’m only doing 10 events this year and have already picked them”, or “we only go to events with registration counts over 500 in the previous year” or “we don’t sponsor the same event two years in a row”. They might say “we require a speaking slot”. They could see registration counts for the history of the event, how many leads we sent them. Maybe even show them how many sponsors signed up at each event so they could opt for events where they might get more time/space as a percentage of sponsors. Maybe they could see floor plans and what spaces were left. Make it as easy as booking an airline seat.
Should we do this? I think it’s based on how we see the future. Are we moving away from reliance on national sponsors, by shifting to a paid model (yuck, but maybe), local sponsors, or just spending less? Or will it always be a hybrid and merits an investment in tools combined with revisiting how we serve sponsors and adjusting expectations?
We still have don’t have the speaker bureau, but this is the companion to that. We should treat both groups well. Both are critical to our success.