Speaking at one of VEI’s recent focus groups, eventprofs discussed pain points and solutions on the topic of sponsorship at digital events.
Here are 8 key takeaways from what they said...
1. It can be challenging to convince sponsors on virtual booths, said Nelita Groppa, event project manager of DXM Event Management and Consulting. Groppa found that between March and May 2020, exhibitors expected to pay less. After May, the event platforms being used offered clear visibility of the delegate journey and data has become key to the sponsorship sell.
2. It can be difficult to get delegates to click on a booth, added Groppa, and what often works better are small discussion groups and networking led by a sponsor.
3. It is hard to convince sponsors to conceptualize their ad buy as a ‘need’ rather than a ‘want’, said Matthew Cibellis, former director of programming, Education Week. He speculated that the traditional trade show format wasn’t necessarily working well for sponsors before lockdown. He suggested that sponsorship packages involve sponsors in the event to help them demonstrate thought leadership through speaker opportunities or roundtables. He also said there is a need to educate sponsors on how to have meaningful interaction on a digital platform.
4. Sponsorship dollars will be paid for data and leads going forward, said business events professional, Tammy Port.
5. Smaller, more niche events may be the answer, suggested Anthony Smith, co-founder of 3D-VR Live. More regular events with lots of breakouts are a good way to generate revenue. He added that 2020 was all about technology, 2021 is about the experience.
6. Using smaller events as amplification in the run-up to larger events is a good data generation exercise, added Sophie Ahmed, CEO and co-founder of VEI.
7. Libby Woolcock, head of events and marketing at Laithwaites Wine, said the brand has had to reimagine its wine festival. She suggested organizers should flip the conversation back to exhibitors to ask what is working for them online already.
8. There is a year-round opportunity now for sponsors, added Groppa. With the right planning and the right platform, the product can be a community with a cumulative subscription rather than a one-off event.