I’ve been really impressed by some of the changes that associations are adopting for their sponsors – in terms of better inventory. And I’m beginning to see more genuine interest in helping sponsors achieve their goals. That’s great.
So, here are three activities that can take it to the next level.
#1 Interview your sponsors on an annual basis about their goals and objectives within the market and how the association might help them. And an element of the program they liked, disliked, would add or change to their current program.
This is absolutely a big deal. And, what I don’t want is for people just to assume the renewal is a go and move through the steps of sending over the same old contract to a sponsor and the act of interviewing your sponsors would keep that from happening. Or even if it does happen, some of them are going to say, “Oh, you know what? I liked it the way it was, let’s do it again.” But conducting an interview allows the opportunity to stay in-tune with them, and I think it’s a no-brainer.
#2 I would develop a sponsorship program task force or partner alliance where they get together once or twice a year with the association. Every time I hear about an association that does this, they have raved about the benefits.
All the players are in the room and the association facilitates a discussion about what’s taking place in the market and what’s on the horizon. Man, they love it, and the benefit is that all the sponsors get together and they get to talk about the industry. I guarantee it’s good for the sponsor, and the association gets great intelligence from the interaction.
#3 And, collect the hard data! I’m beginning to see some good reports about how the sponsorship was activated – including the number of attendees who were at the events who saw your logo; the number of opens and clicks by ads that were placed; the number of staff members at those events; and the companies that participated in the meeting that you sponsored. This kind of reporting is critical because it does two things: it summarizes the activity and becomes a resource to sell the sponsorship internally. You need to be able to articulate this information to those folks who want to know if that sponsorship was worth it.
So those are the three things I think are important to take your sponsorship program to the next level – a thoughtful sponsor interviews – not a Survey Monkey. The conversation is helpful because you hear first-hand: their goals, the challenges, and what they are trying to do in the market. Very helpful intel. The second is to develop business partner alliance, which affords ongoing programming with these folks about the industry. And then third, develop a report on activation. Best of luck to you. Shoot me a message if you’d like to talk further: firstname.lastname@example.org.