Beyond a List of Logos:
Take your Online Event Sponsorship to the Next Level
Online events are here to stay and it will be a long time before onsite events will have fully recovered from Covid-imposed restrictions. IATA estimated in July that air travel will not return to normal until 2024 and Bill Gates predicts a reduction of business travel of 50% post-Covid. Instead of looking at online as a temporary hurdle, organisers should play the long game and use this forced digitalisation as an opportunity to offer more value and futureproof their revenue streams.
Yet, many online events appear to be struggling to offer enough value to sponsors. Much of the focus is on brand recognition and moving an onsite expo experience to an online environment. There are many examples of skeuomorphism that give an eerie feeling of emptiness. Others use pictures or silhouettes of people that only serve as a depressing reminder of what the event is not. The expo more often than not struggles to be more than a list of logos that you need to click on to find information that you could have found on the company’s website as well. Also, online expos or marketplaces are often detached from the rest of the event and fail to attract significant traffic.
Instead of trying to hold a physical event online, we should use this new medium for its own strengths:
- A traditional onsite event is limited in time and location. An online event is not. Online content can have a much longer lifespan if it is recorded and made available as on-demand content on the event platform.
- Online events are much more attainable and therefore have the potential to gather a larger audience. Attendees and sponsors do not need to travel, and sponsors do not need to build physical stands and ship collateral. This reduces the total cost of participation considerably.
- The reality of onsite events is that you have limited space available so what is scheduled in a conference room needs to appeal to the broadest possible audience. Online events do not have this limitation and are an opportunity to go more in-depth or embrace niche topics that may appeal to certain audience segments only. This offers many opportunities to sell new types of products to sponsors.
- Online events generate a treasure trove of data that helps you measure what works and what doesn’t and some of this data can be monetised.
Clearly logo placement alone just doesn’t cut it. Organisers need to think hard about how they are going to meet the needs of their sponsors if they want to maintain support.
Fortunately, there are better ways to provide your sponsors with the value they seek. It is important for organisers to look at this from the perspective of the sponsor and realise that everything they do will need to be supported by providing sponsor the ability to generate leads.
Successful online event sponsorships packages will need to include the following building blocks:
- GDPR-compliant lead generation
- Thought leadership – sponsored yet credible
- Effective face-to-face interaction
- Actionable brand awareness
- Data and insights: your potential Achilles heel