How to decide what public sector events to sponsor
Our sponsoring events blog just had a valuable update. Check out what Matt Stanley, Director of public sector media owner THINK Digital Partners has to say!
For those of you that don’t know THINK Digital Partners produces digital and conference content for the public sector on a variety of tech based issues from Digital Transformation to AI and more recently Digital Identity.
It’s always great to get comments on our write ups. Matt sent us some really valuable insights to enrich last week’s blog. Great opportunity to freshen things up and give even more value to suppliers looking to make event sponsoring a success. Thanks Matt. Keep them coming!
There are many benefits to sponsoring an event, it can be a great way to get your name out there, reach your target audience and drum up some leads. But, with many different events lobbying for your attention and more importantly your money, how do you know what events you should sponsor?
Is it a new event?
First things first, do your research on the event. Has it been run before? If so, who sponsored it then and are they returning? If the sponsorship changes from year to year, then maybe the sponsors for whatever reason weren’t satisfied with what was delivered or maybe the focus of the content has changed. You could reach out to previous sponsors via social media and ask them about their experience.
What Matt says:
“If the event is not new you should ask for a previous delegate list which shows job titles and departments, so you can see if the audience is appropriate and matches your targets. Also, carefully consider the agenda to see how much of the content is relevant to your service offerings. Ask how many delegates are expected on the day and how many other sponsors will be participating – you do not want to be one of 10 sponsors at an event with only 100 people or less as you do not want to end up fighting for conversations”
Who will be in the room?
Conference attendee lists are very important so you know who your potential audience is on the day. The organiser should have the details of the government departments and job titles of the delegates. Effectively with that list, you have access to a database of engaged, market qualified leads that will hopefully, with the right amount of nurturing become clients.
What Matt says:
“Ask the event organiser, who do you expect to be in the room on the day and what various ways can we engage with them. It’s not just about stands and speaking; are there workshops, collateral seat drops, round tables, conference guides, goodie bags and digital communications. Also with delegate lists, make sure you know what use you can make of the list after the conference. With GDPR now in full effect you can’t just upload the delegate data into your own database and start messaging.”
What will you get for your money?
Before you even consider signing on the dotted line, you need the organiser to clearly lay out what you are getting. Whether that’s a stand, a speaking slot or whatever supplementary marketing support they can offer. Make sure they have a plan in place both pre – and post-event for generating leads and promoting your sponsorship.
What Matt says:
“This is the real setter of expectations. Always ask, “what’s the back-up plan?” So, if the delegate numbers don’t meet the conference expectations, or the delegate audience just does not want to engage with sponsors (which can happen with the public sector), how will the media owner help you obtain your ROI for the conference? When negotiating on price always ask for added value, there will always be something extra that can be added to get your signature on the dotted line.”
When is it?
Look at when and where the event is being held. Do a little research and make sure there isn’t a rival event on the same day that could tempt delegates away. There is no point spending all that money on sponsoring an event that might not be that well attended.
Think about what you are trying to achieve and manage your expectations!
There are many reasons to sponsor an event whether it be branding, awareness, feedback on your product or generating leads. However, it is important that you manage your expectations. It is unlikely that you will be able to achieve all those things in one day. Consider what your goals and expectations are and evaluate them against the packages on offer. If you are looking to strengthen your reputation as a thought leader or expert in your field, then a speaking package might be the one for you. If you are looking for feedback on a new product then a stand might be the best way to achieve this.
What Matt says:
“This is spot on. As part of your research you should consider who from your target audience is on the speaker list. As public sector professionals like to support their peers, so there should be similar level delegates in attendance. We have found that the more public sector speakers involved on the agenda, the easier it is to recruit public sector delegates.
Also see if the event has the support of independent industry bodies, as this will add weight to the agenda and will also offer a wider picture on the topic being covered.”
Sponsoring an event is a gamble, and you may or may not see ROI on your money, time and effort. But it is a great way to get your name out there and meet potential buyers and create a strong network of engaged people. Just make sure you ask the right questions and do the research up-front to avoid being disappointed later!
About THINK Digital Partners
THINK Digital Partners produce content and communications either digitally or via industry leading events and conferences. They specialise in technology, AI and digital based content in both the private and public sector. Check out some of their upcoming events here.