Dave Lutz, CMP
Sponsorships that are welcomed, anticipated, and appreciated by attendees can yield a
premium price. Consumers and
conference attendees can see
right through offerings with
a hidden sales pitch. Moving
forward, the more you can align
your sponsorship inventory and
strategy with the six attendee-mattering categories, the
greater success you will have in
your sponsorship program.
ON THE WEB
According to sponsorship
expert Kim Skildum-Reid, the
best approach for a sponsor to
take is: “We know you love this
event — we love it, too! And we’ve
thought of a few ways to make it
even better for you.” Download
Skildum-Reid’s white paper on
“Last Generation Sponsorship” at
Think back to an event that you attended. Quick: Do you remem- ber any of the sponsors? Why?
Did you get something unexpected,
participate in something memorable,
or were you entertained? Why not offer
more of these types of experiences that
matter to your attendees and ensure
a triple win — for your sponsors, your
organization, and your attendees?
Big consumer events, like the Super
Bowl, the Olympics, and spring break,
are incredibly successful at mattering
to their participants. Borrowing a page
from the B2C sponsorship playbook,
here are six attendee outcomes or emotions they strive to achieve:
ENTERTAIN, EDUCATE, ENGAGE, AND/
OR PROVIDE JOY Everyone likes to be
entertained and to have thought-pro-voking moments, so offer sponsorships
that bring fun, interactive learning, and
entertainment. Super Bowl Boulevard
is a great example. This year it included
a Toboggan Run — right in the heart of
New York City. I mean, who doesn’t want
to fly down a six-story slide in the middle
of Times Square? Sponsors of conference keynote speakers and education
tracks will be valued when they are tied
into a great attendee experience.
U TILI T Y What do your attendees
need? Are they hungry? Do they need
Wi-Fi or a charge for their mobile
phone or other device? Your sponsorships should meet and exceed their
on-site needs. Australian Gold was
a hit on the sunny beaches of spring
break because the company offered
S URPRI SE Create sponsorships around
something unexpected, something
exciting. Gillette made a splash at
spring-break destinations by sponsoring beachfront lounges and in-room
samples of their products. Similarly, the
Society for Human Resource Management provides “Random Opportunities
of Conference Kindness” to its attendees.
HEL P Create sponsorships that help
your attendees on a personal or professional level. The Army National Guard
sponsors an obstacle course on the
beach during spring break with the goal
of helping students with career options
while attracting new recruits.
CO NNE XI T Y Create community and
connections through your sponsorships. Meeting new people and connecting on a personal level can be tiring
even for outgoing personality types.
Create sponsorship opportunities that
help people meet someone new in a fun
environment. Olympic pin trading is
something everyone can medal in, and
most sponsors distribute their own
pins. The trading tents create great
opportunities for connecting with fellow enthusiasts.
VI P Create a sense of feeling special.
Sponsors can offer preferred seating, special gifts, or access to the keynote speaker
for a limited number of your attendees.
Olympic sponsors do this well with
hosted trips to the games, private parties,
and VIP seating and transportation. .
Dave Lutz, CMP, is managing director of Velvet
Sponsorship: From Meh to
Whether your attendees feel marginalized or that they matter
has a lot to do with their interaction with sponsors.