If you have an upcoming event that you're going to be a sponsor at, or are thinking about sponsoring one in the near future - the elephant in the room never changed:
Will I get an ROI from this?
Only 4% of marketers are satisfied with the ROI from the events that they sponsor.
From our research, marketers often face the following dilemma: You need to use your marketing budget, otherwise you'll lose it by the end of the quarter, and more importantly, Finance may deduce that you never needed that much budget to begin.
On the other hand, the budget is meant to support your company plays towards seeing a tangible return on core business objectives that you're tracking, most commonly contribution to revenue through MQLs.
iPad giveaways and sign up forms won't cut it.
Sponsoring events is a great move if you can guarantee yourself that ROI, especially if you are able to see documentation from the event organizers around demographics and other statistics of past attendees that support your buyer persona or buyer profile.
But in the same time, is it actually getting you the positive ROI you hope to get?
Most marketers expect to see a 3:1 return/investment ratio, and whether they get it or not, it often takes up to a year for them to deduce that conclusion - that is if they're still tracking that long.
My take on this is that sponsoring events are a great way to get in front of all the people you hope to do business with and be top of mind for all in one place. However, with every other booth offering giveaways, photo booths, corporate swag, and iPad sign up forms, it will take a lot more to stand out.
You need to stand out on the day, and more importantly, after the day. That's when deals are won.
To that extent, episodic content could be an excellent way for you to gain leverage here. In this article I'll show you how we've helped clients make the most of events by using it as an opportunity to create a "show series".
tl;dr: The idea is to come up with a topic that a bunch of decision makers or influencers in attendance will be able to speak to, and film several "episodes" back to back, that you can then drip over the course of a few weeks or months.
Once the episodes are launched, you can also use them to drip them into entertaining and impactful microcontent across video, audio, written, and even image. You can then set up tracking links on each content piece that goes out to track traffic and leads.
How it delivers an ROI:
In addition to using the opportunity to create content in one day that will keep your content machine going for a good few months, it's also sales department-friendly.
The episodic content you create with target buyer profiles will double as a way to build a special relationship with them such that you are top of mind, helping you open doors and warm the relationship a lot easier.
This is great because if you're tracking everything you can attribute key account sales to content.
Ok now let's break it down step by step.
1. Find out who's going
Work with your team and do your homework to understand which companies will be in attendance so that you can figure out whether they'll be sending in a heavy weight, like a CXO, Director or VP. A few places you can identify this is:
- Speakers roster
- Event agenda (look for workshops and other non-talks)
- Others who are exhibiting
- Others who are sponsoring
- Checking for a Facebook event page to see who's "attending"
- Downloading the event app early on to see if it contains additional info
- Manually getting in touch with the event organizer for additional info
2. Come up with an interesting show concept and name
Come up with a show strategy that is centered around the culture of a certain industry or tribe, as opposed to your products and services *Rocky voice: "You're better than that!"*.
It's not about you or them. It's about the greater culture and industry.
This is a show that naturally, will present itself as an opportunity for your guests to share what they hope to build brand affinity in.
It could be as simple as a talk show between two people, or it could be a panel setting.
The key thing is not the format, as much as it is the topic. Finally, make sure you package the show well by picking a memorable name.
Interviewing people on "why they came to the event" and "what they're looking forward to today" has been overdone and serves zero purpose, and is almost a waste of money and camera gear.
Or as one of our clients would say, that horse has already been beaten to f**kin death.
3. Contact your venue
Often times venues may have regulations around filming on their premises. If you have a booth or are a sponsor (or even just an attendee) make sure to do your due diligence to get clearance (if needed).
Secondly, make sure you can secure a dedicated space to film your show.
It doesn't have to be anything sensational, since you would be able to control your frame when filming. Pulling 2 chairs together in a quieter part of the conference can do the trick.
4. Book your guests beforehand
It's entirely possible you may meet and invite people to appear on your show on the day. However, the degree to which you can do this homework ahead of time, the more prepared and relaxed your team will be on the day.
I would suggest reviewing the speaker roster and make sure to plan around the times when your guests would not likely be attending those really important keynotes and talks.
Especially if these are high net-worth accounts and individuals, it's likely they'll be busy on the day. So go early bird on this as much as you can.
Make sure that once the content goes live (both the episode and the microcontent) that you're not circulating it by yourself, and that you have a gentleman's (or lady's) agreement that you will be both distributing this content together as it creates for a win-win situation. Make sure to align with your sales team so they are able to monitor the content as well, and perhaps a few weeks later decide when may be a good time to reach, given the cues and insights they may have shared during the episode.
6. Align with sales
Setup time with your sales team to review how they followed up with the guests that were featured on the show.
Collect feedback on who closed won, who's in the pipeline, who closed lost, and factor this in future shows you create.
If the subsequent content you created helped to attract more qualified traffic from their networks, make sure to attribute that in such a way that you're able to monitor them and understand where those good MQLs come from.
Once you've fully understood the above, you can now read how episodic content can shorten sales cycles for your company when done right.
Do you have an event coming up that you're attending, hosting a booth, or sponsoring at? Chat to us and let us help you brainstorm so you can set up your team to break even, and demonstrate event sponsorship ROI.