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Photo: Billy Farrell Agency

Using Event Sponsorship as a Marketing Tool

The world of live event marketing is as competitive as ever. This is why it’s important for event marketers to always be thinking of new ways to get the word out. One unique way to boost your reach is to use sponsorship as a marketing tool. Working with sponsors represents a huge opportunity for events to offset their bottom line as total North American Sponsorship spending in 2018 was predicted to be $24.2 billion.

The XLIVE Conference this year is taking place November 17 - 20, 2019 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. In preparation, we will be highlighting the various sessions that will be happening throughout the conference. The second XLIVE 2019 session we are going to focus on is “Using Sponsorship as a Marketing Tool” hosted by Ms María Fernanda Fernández Delgado who is the Academic Coordinator of the Entertainment Business Management Program at the Anahuac Cancun University. It will take place on Monday, November 18th from 4:00pm - 4:30pm.

The world of live event marketing is as competitive as ever. This is why it’s important for event marketers to always be thinking of new ways to get the word out. One unique way to boost your reach is to use sponsorship as a marketing tool. Working with sponsors represents a huge opportunity for events to offset their bottom line as total North American Sponsorship spending in 2018 was predicted to be $24.2 billion. However, the benefits can be more than just monetary. When done correctly, the right partnership can also give an event more reach and be a great marketing asset. Conversely, for a sponsor, investing in an event can bring about many new avenues for marketing themselves. From in person connections to the online content generated from the event, there are a multitude of ways that a sponsorship can be leveraged by a brands marketing team. For all parties involved, a sponsorship is a powerful marketing tool when done correctly.

Securing the Right Event Sponsorship

Sponsorship can take many forms but the best are those the create symbiotic relationship for both the event and the company looking to get involved. For major brands, the opportunity to connect with audiences in unique and memorable ways is the main motivator for wanting to spend dollars on a live event. For live event organizers, they not only get paid for their space but also have the chance to elevate the experience of guests while also reaching the brands audience. From lounges to art installations, brand activations help to not only build brand awareness for the sponsor but also get attendees more engaged with the event itself. The main key to this being successful is to concentrate on companies that align with the live events ethos and audience. If this does not happen, then the sponsorship can come off as inauthentic and the brand will not be able to connect with attendees as well. For example, a vegan festival would not want to bring on a beef jerky company as a sponsor (unless it was a faux jerky company but you get the point). However, when things do line up then the sponsorship can be a success for both the brand and the event since both audiences will be more receptive. By hosting a sponsor that aligns with the organization ethos you have the ability to reach parts of that brands audience that may have never heard of your event yet.

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Build Brand Awareness

The biggest goal for either side of a sponsorship is to build brand awareness. This starts from the moment a sponsor is added to the events website or a sponsor announces they will be at an event. The announcement itself represents a great marketing opportunity for all parties involved. Utilizing an announcement video or creative graphic are two high energized ways to start things off. This also allows for the sponsorship to be used as a marketing tool right from the beginning.

Leveraging the Sponsorship Correctly.

While initially the relationship is started so that a sponsor can use the live event itself as a channel to promote their brand to a targeted audience, there is no reason why that brand can’t help to boost the reach of the event as well. This can be done informally through creating a relationship that encourages mutual cross promotion or formally with stipulations written down in the sponsorship agreement. Typically a company will require some sort of social posting on the events platforms but an event could, and should, depending on the brands reach, request that the company posts about the event on their channels. This will probably be done regardless since its a great content opportunity but it couldn’t hurt to have it required to ensure it happens. 

By working together on a marketing plan, everyone involved in the sponsorship can benefit greatly. Making memorable moments like when Irish Spring broke a world record at Firefly Festival is a great way to get the event coverage in local and national media outlets. Utilizing sponsors to create more ancillary experiences at a live event is another way to elevate the in person experience and give an event more material to market. From whatever angle you look at it, when a sponsorship is leveraged correctly it can be a powerful marketing tool. The key is to view it as one and use it accordingly.

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For any live event organizer, sponsorships are extremely beneficial. Not only do the help with an events bottom line, but they can help to enhance the overall experience of the event for attendees. An additional benefit for both the event and the brand is all of the various ways the sponsorship can be used as a marketing tool. The first step is making sure that the partnership aligns well with the vision of the festival and that its attendees can relate to the brand. When their is this synergy this creates not only a better sponsorship, but makes the marketing feel more authentic. Sponsorships represent an important opportunity for both a brand and a live event to build positive brand awareness with targeted audiences. 

Don’t miss the session “Using Sponsorship as a Marketing Tool” hosted by Ms María Fernanda Fernández Delgado who is the Academic Coordinator of the Entertainment Business Management Program at the Anahuac Cancun University  The XLIVE Conference this year is taking place November 17 - 20, 2019 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada get your tickets and more information here.

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