How can I get more event sponsors? If you have asked yourself this question (and we know you have) this is the episode you have been waiting for! Our industry-leading #EventIcons this week include Meg Fasy of FazeFWD, Jacque Duhame of Duhame Event Group, Courtney Bosch-Tanguy of MarketingProfs, and Peter Poehle of SponsorMyEvent. We’ll be discussing where you can find sponsors, creative ideas to activate sponsors, how small brands can get big name sponsors, and more! Log in and join us!

 

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Transcript:

Sean:All right. We are live. Welcome to the #EventIcons show. We have got some amazing guests this week. I am super excited. I hand-picked the best of the best. We appreciate you. If you’re here live, awesome. If you’re on the road listening to this, or watching it later, we really appreciate you being a part of this. What’s the #EventIcons show? It’s a weekly show we do on Wednesdays. Myself, Sean Holladay, I’m one of the co-founders of Crowd Mics. Will Curran, who’s the CEO of … wow, I can’t even think of your company right now … Yeah, entertainment … I literally can’t think of it, Will. Where, wow.

 

Jacque:Endless, endless …

 

Sean:Endless Entertainment. Love you, Will. Then, we’ve got Laura Lopez with Social Tables. She’s the Community Manager. We kind of co-host it. Today, I’m the host. Hopefully I won’t forget as much as I already have. We really just interview and give you guys the opportunity to pick the brains of the top people in the event industry. This week it’s going to be focused on sponsorship. We’ve got a couple different perspectives from technology, to direct outreach to sponsors, to management and control. If you’re online, go ahead and use the question feature to throw your questions in. We’d love, if you’re on social media, to go ahead and share it #EventIcons. Enjoy the show, more than anything.

 

We’re going to go ahead and get started. Let’s go from left to right. We’ve got Courtney Bosch-Tanguy. Got it. A little bit about Courtney, she works with MarketingProfs. Courtney has 10 years of experience in the event industry. She’s worked on conferences, trade shows, small corporate networking events for various organizations. She’s currently the Sponsorship and Event Liaison at MarketingProfs, an online resource for marketing professionals. She is the Product Manager for the virtual conferences and manages sponsorship at the company’s flagship event, B2B Marketing Forum. I highly suggest. It’s a really good event. Ann Handley puts out some awesome content. Prior to that, she was the Marketing Communication Manager at Eastman Kodak. Courtney resides in Connecticut, where she’s at today, with her husband and 3 children.

 

I got you 1 up, I’ve got 4. If you can imagine.

 

Courtney:I’ll let you hold that title, 4.

 

Sean:Yeah, a 5 year-old, 3 year-old, and then two 1 year-olds. Crazy house. Then, a fun fact. Courtney spent her summers going to Bermuda as a child. That is really cool. Something she didn’t fully appreciate until now. Now you’re like, “Man.”

 

Courtney:I know.

 

Sean:Welcome to the show, Courtney.

 

Courtney:Thank you.

 

Sean:We appreciate having you on. Our next guest is Meg Fasy of, is it Phase Forward? Is that the best way to say it, there?

 

Meg:It is, Phase Forward.

 

Sean:Awesome. Meg has worked for, or with, some of the biggest brands you know. Her career spans several markets, including hotels, CVB, industries associations, event technology, and strategic partnerships. I saw PSAV on there, which is cool. She’s been both a buyer and a seller. Meg is best known for motivating sales and marketing teams, driving strategy, and connecting people. She started Phase Forward, a sponsorship management company, because she knew she needed to elevate the conversation between organizers and brand partners. A fun fact is Meg is an international, gold medal winning dragon boat paddler.

 

Meg:I should have had my medal ready.

 

Sean:That is so cool. Really. I love it. Thanks for being on the show, Meg.

 

Meg:Thank you.

 

Sean:Peter is up next. I’m just going to call you Peter, and I’ll let you pronounce your name.

 

Peter:[crosstalk 00:03:53] get it right. It’s Poehle, so unpronounceable. Peter Poehle.

 

Sean:Poehle. There we go.

 

Peter:Pretty good.

 

Sean:Peter is the owner of SponsorMyEvent. He’s organized architectural light shows at the age of 20. His first contact with sponsorship. He owned his first company by 25, a web development and video production. That’s awesome. He has a fascination for events and sponsorships which led him to the creation of SponsorMyEvent.com in 2014. Today, sponsorship is a passion, especially if it’s a transition of a passive sponsorship to an interactive sponsorship that uses new event tech. A fun fact is Peter is totally boring, just crazy enough to create startups and to show to a destructive market, and he’s notoriously stubborn. I love it. That was a good intro. Thanks for being on the show, Peter.

 

Then we have got our last guest waiting patiently is Jackie Doo-homm-ee. Is that the best way to pronounce it, Jacque?

 

Jacque:It’s actually Jacque Doo-ham, but close enough.

 

Sean:I tried to go for the subtlety into something.

 

Jacque:I usually get Jacques Doo-homm-ee. I answer to that all the time. It’s Jacque Duhame.

 

Sean:I’ll call you Jacques today. Jacque has more than 25 years in events … this is part of a hand-picked team today … festivals, sponsorships, and marketing. She’s an Arizona State University graduate and a graduate of Scottsdale Leadership class, I don’t know Roman numerals very well, so one of those. Which one?

 

Jacque:18.

 

Sean:18. She’s the past president of Arizona Festivals and Events, she’s a current committee member of AZMPI, and a board member of … is it … I always say it wrong. Is it ILEA?

 

Jacque:Yeah. It’s ILEA, so International Live Events Association. That’s a new name. Thank god they changed it from ISIS.

 

Sean:Yeah. We just talked about it last week, but somebody on the chat kept calling in saying, “You’re pronouncing it wrong.” She’s the third generation native of Phoenix and Scottsdale, which I’m also in Arizona so I love that fact. Then a fun fact is Jacque helped drive supplies in a large truck, on a moment’s notice, to Fort Smith to assist Hurricane Katrina. That is super cool. How big of a truck are we talking? Are we talking …

 

Jacque:It was a big box truck, and it also had a big grill on the back of it. By the time all the crews lined up there was 19 trucks, most of which were huge semis with kitchens and refrigerators and stuff like that. I didn’t get to go into Katrina, because I, one, I wasn’t vaccinated because you had to get vaccinated very quickly, and also they started holding up trucks. They only sent their real staff in there.

 

Sean:Wow, that is cool, though, and I appreciate you giving back. That’s really awesome.

 

Just another random thing that came to mind … let me see if Will, he probably sent something … is that because we had to change, why you guys had difficulty coming in today into the show, is Will had to change the domain. Those that are trying to get on right now, actually are at the wrong domain. He’s trying to get out and tell the world to go to the right GoToWebinar. The license had expired this morning and switched the user account number. We probably will not have anybody on today, but this will be recorded and posted back out. Which is okay, which is good. We’ll make sure to share it and get it with everybody.

 

The first question, and Meg we’ll start with you in the middle, what got you into the event industry? Where did you start in this industry?

 

Meg:I started in the hotel business. I was with Hyatt Hotels for almost 10 years, worked in D.C., LA, San Francisco. Continued with the hotels for a little bit longer, and then went into the CVB world and took a jump over to Las Vegas and worked at Mandalay Bay and opened up the convention center in the hotel. Went into event technology from there. You recognized PSAV. You might recognize [IBON 00:08:07], which was an older internet company. Then I worked for MPI as staff. I was Vice President of Sales, so industry. Along the way, I was always a buyer and seller of sponsorship and that’s the tie between all of those organizations. Most recently I was Vice President of Sales at Bellagio, and just started my own company, sponsorship management, Phase Forward, just a couple months ago.

 

Sean:And moved from Vegas, Right?

 

Meg:I moved. I moved back to Philadelphia from Vegas. You know the DNC is only a couple blocks away going on right now, so that’s exciting. It’s a good time to be in the city.

 

Sean:That is awesome. I appreciate it. Courtney, what got you in. I know you mentioned 10 years in your profile, but what brought you into the even industry?

 

Courtney:Well I started, actually, one of my early jobs was as a trade show coordinator for a publishing company. I came in account managing, client relations for sponsors, and then rolled into different event-related roles from there. Working for different companies and either managing the event itself and our event presence if we were a sponsor or managing the sponsorship piece within different organizations. It’s kind of stuck with me from one of my early jobs up until now.

 

Sean:You did both, so actually like a [pintin 00:09:38] you are doing the actual coordination and this goes here, this goes there. Then you started to move more on corporate side finding the best marketing tool, because events are one of the best marketing tools you have to really dive in and start to do the outreach. That’s awesome.

 

We’re going to go to Jacque. Peter, you’re going to be last. You know, ladies first.

 

Peter:Absolutely. I totally agree with you.

 

Sean:Yeah. What got you into the industry?

 

Jacque:I was very fortunate when I was just out of high school and college, I started working for the City of Scottsdale Parks and Rec. We had to do some outdoor festival stuff. It was really above my level where I was at the time, but I had a great boss who saw that I liked to organize these kind of stuff. I started doing some events with the city. At that point in time, they didn’t have degree programs in events and festivals and that. I’m dating myself right now. What ended up happening was that was the part that I really, really liked and I stuck with it. I did it for non-profits. I’ve done anything from black-ties and fundraisers all the way up driving the talent around to stage managing.

 

Also, no matter what I do, whatever career even if it was sales for rental, I also negotiated all the deals for the partnerships and the sponsorship, which is what I really enjoy. I recently, also, started a sponsorship marketing agency, so I’ve got both sides where I’m selling and also trying to find my way in this new place. Even though I have many, many years of experience, it’s one of those things. You’re always starting over with sponsorships. You always have to be cutting-edge, always have to be writing the new proposals and making sure that you’re not just doing the same-old, same-old. I’m very excited to be here, and I’m also very excited that I finally get to do the one part of the events, other than the coordination, that I really like.

 

Sean:Now you guys can add being on the #EventIcons show to your next profile. I was on the show. That’s awesome, I appreciate the insight. It gives some ideas of where we can go with the discussion. Peter, we’re kind of on the same cloth. We’re torn from the same cloth. Tell me your several startups.

 

Peter:Well, yeah, just startups. I think I have been entrepreneur since the age of probably 15 or so when I was assigned the first designs or whatever I did, business cards, when I was in school back then. Then when I was 20, I started to do architectural light shows, which was something which was actually tremendous. Something that most people don’t do at this time. It was also, by the way, the first contact I’ve ever had with sponsorship, because all of a sudden we realized that we needed money to make the shows happen. I tried to shop around, find some sponsors. Never had heard anything how to make a sponsorship pitch, or whatever, but I think I did it quite well because I managed to get the money that we needed to make these shows a success really.

 

Then it was a little bit on and off. I became an entrepreneur, was 25. Created my first company, as you mentioned. I became from sponsorship seeker to sponsorship giver, so I was sponsoring certain things. I must honestly say the success of this was absolutely not there. I was sponsoring and didn’t bring any return. Probably, as a sponsor, I made everything wrong which you could do wrong.

 

Finally, in 2011, 2012, I created this project which was basically match-making platform for speed dating for business events. That was the project where we got, with my co-founder, we got really in touch with event organizers who are looking for sponsors. We discovered, really, this problem for event organizers how to find the right sponsors, and for sponsors how to find the right event organizers. Which led then, of course, to become a real passion and the creation of SponsorMyEvent.com, which is a marketplace that brings together event organizers and sponsors. Today I’m doing, of course, running SponsorMyEvent.com. At the same time, also consulting the even organizers who are signing up on SponsorMyEvent, consulting with sponsors to make their sponsorship, hopefully, awesome. That’s what I do.

 

Sean:I love it. That’s great background on everyone. The next question is, we’re talking about sponsors, where do we find them? Where’s the best place, besides SponsorMyEvent.com, what’s the best place to go and find …

 

Peter:You name it.

 

Sean:Courtney, give us some insight on where do you start? You’ve got your inbound leads just like anything else, right? We all love an inbound, “Hey, I need help with this,” but when you’re going to target somebody, where’s the best place to start?

 

Courtney:I think for us, a lot of times we look at our existing clients and subscribers, folks that are already doing business with us in other ways. With MarketingProfs we have a platform where we do have clients that are advertising with us through other means and it’s a nice segue to say, “Well, hey, you should be in our marketing forum, or B2B marketing forum.” Another thing we do is we sometimes look at competitive events that are in our industry and see who’s sponsoring those events that are quite similar to ours. We’re offering similar content, if not better, and try to get those folks to see the value in spending their dollars with us, as well.

 

Sean:Do you do much outreach? Do you go to people and say, “Hey, we think you strategically line up with us,” or is it a lot more like you said, looking at what’s already there?

 

Courtney:We do. Our sales team is pretty aggressive in that regard, whether it’s outreach that they’re doing through their own lead opportunities or just going to other events and having conversations with people. We do, as you said, we have an inbound strategy as well where folks will get inquiries that are generated and we farm those out to the sales team. Certainly, there is some aggressive outreach that has to happen. With our event, we’ve been around for 10 years now, so we have this challenge of how do we reinvent ourselves and get sponsors to see the value in being here and getting new people in. We have a lot of repeat sponsors, which is fantastic, but we always want to up the ante and get new folks in. Really, making our event differentiated so those sponsors will want to be there, so that it’s an easy sell hopefully for our team.

 

Sean:Okay. Jacque, any insights? Best places to find sponsors?

 

Jacque:Obviously, if you’re working with organizations that have some stakeholders or boards, you can always ask them because it’s easier to have a warm lead than a cold lead. That’s always good. What you don’t want to get into is having too many people selling sponsorships if you are working with boards and stuff like that, it gets way too hinky and everybody is selling something different. You don’t want to go down that road. That’s why I make it that they have to bring those people to me, if they have a lead. I do ask, “Who do you know in your sphere of influence that might be interested in working with us?”

 

On the flip side of that, sometimes it’s just a cold, go in town, looking in my market. Like Courtney said, seeing who’s sponsoring what, or thinking, “You know, I’m very aware of this company. I don’t know if they sponsor.” Getting into their web site and getting in some research. Finding out what their hot buttons are, finding out who the contact is, and picking up the phone and asking for their time. See if you can pitch this. Sometimes it’s a waste of my time, sometimes it’s not. At the very least, you get some new people thinking about how to use those marketing dollars, how to use those advertising dollars, in a different way than what the status quo is for them.

 

Obviously, you have to educate them quite a bit when you are dealing with people that really don’t sponsor. Naturally, it’s the big companies because they sometimes have a tendency to see it as a donation or a charitable contribution, which it’s not. It’s purely an activation of a marketing product. There is a little bit of building those relationships and making sure that they’re comfortable with you. Right now I’m dealing with some first-time events, so that’s even harder because I’m dealing with first-time events, and also new sponsors. Obviously, we have in our backyard the GoDaddies, the new Discount Tires, and those big properties here, but they don’t sponsor everything. You have to get creative and find out what would be a good link for this and why.

 

A perfect example of this is I’m actually producing my own festival. I don’t want to go into too many details, but I needed a sweet tea. It just so happened that somebody mentioned to me, “You know, China Mist just came out with a brand new sweet tea.” That opened the door, just because someone gave me a little tip that told me that sweet tea is only in the restaurants. It’s not consumer-based yet, so not sold in retail. That was like, “Wow, okay.” That was a huge tip for me, and I got to sit down actually have a meeting with them.

 

Sean:It sounds like it’s got to start from the core organizing, right? From the planner themselves to draw out who do you know already? Where can we get the ball started? I participated more on somebody trying to buy our time, “Oh, would you sponsor, will you sponsor, will you sponsor,” and I’m like, “Who else is sponsoring? Who else is on the list? Who am I going to be next to in the booth?” If there’s nobody there, it’s like, “Eh, I’m going to be the only guy? Eh, doesn’t sound like there’s a lot of traffic.” When it’s like, “Oh, well, we’re going to have this company there, too,” it’s like, “Okay.” Get some traction. From what I’m hearing, it sounds like it’s got to start from the core organization to say who in your Rolodex can we call that would be interested to be in front of this audience? We, like MPI, we got to MPI like, “How can we participate? What can we do?” We want to be there and, obviously, we’re a nice inbound lead, but it starts with the core of where it starts.

 

Courtney mentioned go to competitors events, right? If you have a sponsor there, I know you’re a candidate to sponsor here. We’re doing a lot of the same stuff. That’s some good insight. Peter, I know, I’m holding off for you because this is your passion, is where can you find sponsorship. Meg, what are some ways, some places, where we can look?

 

Meg:I work more in the corporate and association world, the events. In corporate, a lot with technology companies. What you find is that they have a core number of sponsors. Looking at competitive events makes sense for me, because they want to sponsor in other areas. I look at competitive events. Two other places I look is geographically. As I mentioned earlier, I used to work for MPI, where were you by the way when I was looking for sponsors? One of the things that we did, if you’ve been to the MPI conference in the summer, it was years ago we were going to Atlanta and we to Purina and started a puppy cuddling sponsorship at the conference. That was all due to the fact that we started with the conference was going to Atlanta and we were looking for home-base type of sponsors. That has gone on now for, I think we’re going on 7, 8 years, where Purina continues to sponsor it, even though it’s not in Atlanta anymore. Geographically works for me as well.

 

Then there’s also, again I’m B2B world, but looking at what B2C is doing, as well, always gives me some great ideas.

 

Sean:Good. That’ll lead great into the next question of what’s the most creative thing that you’ve done? We’ve gotten creative. We will sponsor audience interaction or water cooler conversation, you can do it a ton of different ways. Peter, obviously this is your bread and butter. Tell us a little bit about how people can find event sponsorship.

 

Peter:Well, the first obvious answer would be, of course, at SponsorMyEvent.com, but that would be a little bit too easy, for sure. There are many different ways where you can find sponsors. First of all, I would simply say it depends on the size and the kind of the event that you’re organizing.

 

If you’re organizing, for example, a small local event, your first choice would be to shop around in your environment to see, in your city and your town where you’re living, what kind of sponsors would be suitable. The first thing that you should do before you start even looking around for sponsors, is clearly to profile what kind of people are going to attend your event so that you have a clear view what kind of people are going to come and what kind of sponsors would be great match. It doesn’t make any sense just to bring a luxury shop if you have an event which is bringing in people who are definitely not clients of this luxury shop. It’s waste of time, something, to reach out to these people. If you are organizing a small or local event, just go to all the shop owners, store owners, company owners that you know around. Try to get introductions to people if you don’t know them yourself. Do, really, a whole blood, sweat, and tears tour and reach out to them.

 

If you have an event which is bigger, then definitely also leverage all the contacts that you have. Use LinkedIn, use the social networks, to get contacts. Ask people for introductions to bigger companies. I’m pretty sure if you are doing a good job on this, you are going to have introductions, you are going to have open doors to speak to the right people in the bigger companies. Again, you need to have your profiling them, because otherwise it doesn’t make any sense to contact the wrong people. Then also, what I would recommend, collect your email addresses and use tools to make group campaigns. Just sent them out emails. Try to get them on board. You need to send probably a lot of emails out just to have a little bit of return. It’s definitely worth doing it.

 

Anyway, the most important thing is you need to have a correct sponsorship pitch, because if you don’t have a sponsorship pitch that kills, then definitely you will not have any answers on it. That’s the first thing that you really need to work very hard on it, because if you don’t have that then every effort that you are going to take is completely worthless.

 

Sean:It’s so funny, because you think sometimes these drip campaigns and these outreaches, it’s like, “Ah, am I just bothering people?” So often, shows like this where I’ll ask, “What are going to?” “Oh, the PCMA this,” or, “The MPI that,” and I’m like, “I didn’t even know that event was going on. I didn’t even know that existed.” That’s huge, right? That’s our target audience, so it’s like, “What?” It’s always about visibility and how much can you get out and make sure that people know. Before we were published, we published in Ann Handley’s MarketingProfs … What’s the name of the specific blog?

 

Courtney:If it was our blog, it’s called Marketing Opinions. Actually, it was previously called The Daily Fix, I think, or it may have been on Ann’s blog, which is Annarchy.

 

Sean:It was on Ann’s blog. So she, Ann, posts this thing for us about Crowd Mics, which was this really simple marketing campaign. She picked it up and thought it was cool. She posts it and we got a ton of hits, a ton of leads, a ton of visibility. People were like, “What? Crowd Mics? That’s cool.” It’s the same thing with sponsorship, right? You feel like you’re blasting people, “Aw, man.” You don’t know. This could be the ideal, perfect, if you’re profiling them right like Peter said, this could be exactly where they want to spend their dollars.

 

Transitioning to the next question, which I kind of want to hear, hopefully, some interesting stuff. What’s the most creative idea, or weird thing that you’ve had to do to get a sponsor across? Jacque, you’ve been in the industry for long enough. Is there some interesting thing that you had to do? Bring in cows or something?

 

Jacque:Cow? Oh, no, that would be cool, though? Wouldn’t it? Most of mine are pretty straight-forward. I mean, obviously, you always have to get them to activate, to do something interesting, because you don’t want them just writing a check and throwing a logo on your site, or whatever. That’s not a sponsorship. A sponsor should be involved, and statistically whatever the sponsorship is, it’s usually 2 to 1 that they’re going to spend that much more to be in it and activate into the event. That’s what you want. You want them to have some type of presence. You want them to have a game, or anything like that, that you can put together.

 

I do have some really good ideas that I’ve been tracking. I have a great mentor from Colorado, Bruce Early, and he’s got some great stories. They actually had Kaiser Permanente go to Denver Comic-Con. You’re wondering, “Why would an insurance company want to be with a Comic-Con?” Basically, those young people don’t really use their insurance so they’re great clients, or whatever. They wanted to tackle them, but how do you get an uptight insurance company involved in a Comic-Con when everybody is dressed up looking for fun stuff to do?

 

They very creatively, and Bruce can tell the story better, they created the Star Trek … and I’m not Sci-Fi person … the Star Trek med bay, the doctor’s thing or whatever. They had the uniforms, they got the scanners, they got everything, and they lined up to get in and be scanned in the Star Trek thing. Kaiser Permanente spent almost double what the sponsorship was, but then they asked questions to get the information that they wanted, that were truly Star Trek questions. I’m not a Star Trek person, but basically, that’s how they got people to buy in and give them their information, which I thought was really great.

 

I just saw another one. Sometimes you get these people that want to be involved, but you don’t have any place to put them. There’s really no asset or benefit for them, for whatever reason. I personally don’t just sell the stage, I don’t just sell that. I sell a sponsorship and then I give them an asset or a benefit. Sometimes you’re like, well, this person isn’t going to work this particular what we’re doing, or whatever asset that we have. Someone came up with a really great idea for a conference one time where somebody wanted to be involved, and he wanted to interact with the attendees. They gave them the … are you ready for this? The official hugging sponsor. Their people actually stood as people came in and hugged the people as they came in. Now, first off, they’re instantly interacting. They’re welcoming people, so they have a role, and they’re getting this great relationship built right off the bat. That’s exactly what that sponsor wanted. There’s some really creative ways to do stuff like that.

 

I’ve done some other kind of creative stuff that got a little bit more on the technical side. When I worked for Russo and Steele, and that kind of stuff, we had some sponsors that came in and we tried to do stuff so that we crossed them over into our different shows and that. Not as sexy or fun as the Kaiser Permanente or the hugger sponsorships.

 

Sean:That is cool. That is good, that’s a good story. You never know about those unless someone shares, and I appreciate you sharing it. Courtney, what’s the craziest package or sponsorship you came up with?

 

Courtney:Oh goodness. I think, like Jacque said, ours are pretty straight-forward and standard. I’m seeing a lot more now that people just want the opportunity to interact with the attendees. They really want to have that time to showcase themselves in a non-salesy way, to we’ve been trying to promote some thought leadership ideas where sponsors can host roundtables in our exhibit hall during breakfast or lunch. They have a topic that they’re an expert in and they literally sit there and chat with people about their marketing pain points. Same thing with another concept we have called office hours with the experts. So, much like office hours with your professor, you get to come and chat with a sponsor that, again, knows what you’re dealing with and can help you out in some sort of way. I think those are popular for us right now, where sponsors are taking ownership of their sponsorship and wanting to say, “Hey, I’m not just a logo on the site. I actually can offer a benefit to you.”

 

Some of the fun stuff, we offer the opportunity to sponsor a fun run that we do. It’s a morning run with attendees, all the runners that want to get up early and take a run around the Boston area. Yeah, not me either. We also have a photo tour, which this year we have a social media company that’s sponsoring that, so I’m actually very curious to see what they’re going to come up with as part of that sponsorship. Last year our sponsor that sponsored the photo tour brought everyone coffee and doughnut holes and stuff, and went on the tour with them. They’re a video company and it was perfect for them with the whole photographic concept.

 

I think creative stuff like that is always fun, but again, really adding value in some way is ultimately what it comes down to for the sponsor.

 

Sean:I think it’s got to be a combination that it can’t disrupt the whole meeting, like, “Now we’ve got a sponsor this.” It’s got to be along the lines. You typically see an event app sponsor or a registration sponsor or a breakfast sponsor, that still have the flow of the event but letting them get a little more visibility. If it’s done right, it’s not just a logo. “Look. Come to breakfast,” and it’s this logo. It’s like, “Welcome to breakfast,” where you’re getting served with somebody. Guy’s got a tux on and you’re just in your street clothes and they’re making it feel like it’s 5-star restaurant. That type of stuff, that’s interesting.

 

Meg, any thoughts?

 

Meg:I think the puppy cuddling was pretty good.

 

Courtney:That’s great.

 

Sean:That [crosstalk 00:31:42] pretty good. I’ve heard of that before.

 

Meg:The other creative thing that we’re doing a lot is putting sponsors together to create a bigger experience. I think probably one of the most successful we did, again, was with MPI. Caesar’s International Entertainment was looking to do something along with Encore A/V and Hilton Hotels. Hilton is a partner of Caesar’s, so we put them all together. They created The Big Deal, which is a poker tournament, fun, funny money poker tournament that raised money for the MPI Foundation. They got great exposure, it became a fun night and it’s been going on for 8 years. I think putting the sponsorships … so The Big Deal is at a Hilton every year, and Encore does the A/V, and Caesar’s take care of the gaming part of it. It’s a really fun, creative way to put some sponsors together that want that bigger exposure. Maybe you don’t have the opportunity to give every person that wants a big bang that opportunity, you can put them together. Yeah, that was fun.

 

Then we did a social media once where I had a technology hub, we called it The Hive, and we had little squishy fun bees. We made a social media game that extended past the event where people who took pictures with the bees in different places around the world could send their pictures in and be part of a drawing. That was a great hit, just something to extend your presence a little further.

 

Sean:I think you’re exactly right. Your best next sale is your current customers, right? It’s going deeper. It’s saying, “Hey, Encore, you guys are a partner with Hilton across all their locations, what if we bring Hilton in,” and have them create at some of these expo halls, which in a way is a sponsorship, but some of these … I remember at Delta at Oracle OpenWorld, they had a full mini cockpit to show you what first class felt like. It was amazing. You sit down, they’re giving you the food. You lay down, you’re like, “I’ll never fly first class, but this is cool.” It’s about building experiences.

 

Peter, I know you come from both. You used to buy sponsorships and sell it. What crazy activation have you done?

 

Peter:Activation that we have done, I would say I have seen a lot of things and I have proposed a lot of things. One thing that really left me impressed was at a smaller event, actually. It was a brewery who wanted to sponsor this event, also. They decided to make a competition. So far, nothing stunning. Doing a competition, running a competition is nothing really revolutionary. People had to type in their email address in order to get into the competition. They decided to not only put a computer in there, but we are going to do something that is related to our job: brewing beer.

 

They had beer cans. They took a lot of beer cans, they assembled them, put them on a plate and put contacts on top of the beer cans so that they transformed beer cans into a computer keyboard. The people who wanted to enter this competition and enter their email address, they had to type their email address on the beer cans, which is of course something which is super fun because everybody wants to first see what the heck are these beer cans doing there, then second, everybody wanted to try to type on this beer can keyboard, of course. Many, really, a lot of people were entering their email addresses trying to do it. It was funny. People were taking pictures of it, sharing it. That’s, for me, definitely something where I say it’s a very good example of how you can transform the idea of having a competition into something really new and really compelling.

 

Recently, I was speaking with an event organizer and saying they were looking for some fresh ideas. I proposed them what they could do also. Why not hijacking their own event. I remember that quite often it happened that someone didn’t want to pay the very high sponsorship fees, so they were sending in someone into the event who was completely disguised with a logo for example. They were hijacking, running around where just got led out from the security. Still, they got all the visibility and the sponsors who were paying a lot for it, they didn’t get any visibility. I proposed to a sponsor that they can hijack your event. There is going to be some fun, if they have a person who is managing well to do this. Acting quite well, just running around, making a little bit of mess, and then making a big time of them being led out by the security. That would give you a lot of attention, also. It was an idea. I’m not sure if they’re going to do it now, they’re going to the event. The even is going to take place in December, only.

 

At least something that is a little more disruptive. This will give a lot of attention. I think there are many things, if you are just creative enough, I think always can find something which is related to the event and which is fun also but people like. Making people laugh at me, that’s definitely also is a key to get the attention of the people.

 

Sean:I agree. I agree. One of my good friends is Shonduras, who is a big famous guy on Snapchat. It’s interesting, the campaigns and, in a way, sponsorship that these brands will come to him and say, even Google came to him and said, “Let’s do something cool. Let’s do something crazy.” It was Google Maps, where he did this mapped-out thing and got to these gas stations and there was someone there that filled him up with gas for free and then he went to the next place, and ended up in Vegas. It’s the same kind of concept. You have to be creative. You have to think of a different way to engage and get people brought in.

 

Before I go the next question, I want to take one from the audience. We did have somebody, Chantal Thompson, jump on. The questions is: I’m considering a digital component to my job fair where people can use an app to apply with their digital profile instead of physical resumes. Do you think this would be exciting to a potential sponsor?

 

Instead of handing, at each booth, my resume, I had to use some sort of app form of, “Here’s my resume,” and you flick it to them, or whatever. Could you see a potential sponsor saying, “Yeah, I’ll get behind that.” Any thoughts? I direct this to everybody. Let’s share initial thoughts or feedback on that.

 

Meg:I think I need to know more information before I can say that. I think it depends on who the attendees are, who the potential sponsors are, what the purposes are. It’s kind of a hard one to answer without a little bit more info.

 

Sean:Yeah. I think the overall idea is how often do you sell sponsorship for an app, where the sponsor comes in and says, “We’re going to sponsor this app that has all the agendas and everything.” Do you sell that, Courtney, do you guys use an app in the B2Bs? Is that something you would sell to a sponsor?

 

Courtney:Potentially, yeah. We do, actually. We use DoubleDutch, props to DoubleDutch, for our event app. We’ve had sponsors for the app in the past. It’s a tough sponsorship, though, because you’re trying to … again, in this digital world, I think now that’s why it’s probably not as enticing. You really have to do some creative things to get people’s attention. We do have pretty high app engagement, we put pretty much everything related to our event in the app, so the agenda, any sort of concurrent sessions that are going on, networking events, breaks, you can sign up for things. We have our sponsors listed, our attendees listed. Our app is really the place to be, so there is quite a bit of engagement there. I think, as Meg said, for the question that came in, if there’s some context there. If there’s a good reason to have that there, as a sponsorship, then it could certainly be viable. We definitely have seen our sponsors do some interesting things within the app, aside from just sponsoring the entire thing, as well.

 

We’ve also had, actually, a WiFi sponsorship, which I find kind of interesting because I think as a sponsor they liked the fact that people are typing in their company name every single time they log in, so it’s over and over again, the repetition of that. If you get creative with it, it could certainly work.

 

Jacque:I have to agree with Meg. I need a little bit more information as to what the strategy would be of that. What instantly came to mind is, “Okay, who would want that data?” What do they want to capture from that? The first thing that popped into my head would be a recruiting company. They would, obviously, want to get in front of these corporations that are hiring. Then, of course, they would also like to be with these people that they could place if they don’t get this other job. I don’t know how that app would work, but that would be the way to get yourself and use that to leverage, and then also to capture whatever information that they opt into capturing. I would think, then, that would be a partnership that makes sense on both sides, to me, and it would make sense to put the money there.

 

Sean:I think Peter made a good point earlier, before, not to interrupt, but Peter he made a point that a banner, right? If you just put up a banner. It’s not trackable. It’s just paying, literally, for visibility. I think now, sponsors from your insights, this show of the last 45 minutes, it’s that there has to be value behind it. It’s more than just a brand recognition, it is an activation. It is an actual experience in some way. I think Jacque said, if it provides a value to some sponsor to get that resume and it can keep the data for later, then of course they will, right? Meg has an MPI event, and that’s a huge audience for me, it’s our alliance there. Not saying you’re off your top, Peter, but it made sense that it’s not just a banner anymore. We’re not just putting … TV commercials to me are useless. Nobody watches commercials. I’d rather engage with an influencer, right? Use somebody to push your brand into their … even if it’s just 100 thousand followers. Those people will watch and listen, rather than the 5 million people that every time a commercial comes on, that’s the first thing I do is change the channel or go somewhere else.

 

Peter:The funny thing is that the human brain is surprisingly efficient when it comes to filtering out information that you don’t want to see. It will make it into the subconscious, of course, so that’s possible. It might be also that you’re going to recognize a brand after it, even if you don’t know it willingly or if you don’t want to see it willingly. Still, just hanging a banner, it doesn’t work anymore. You need to have something which is really interacting with the people.

 

That’s why, also, that Chantal’s question, and by the way, hello Chantal. She is a very good client of ours, and so happy that she signed up, also, for this webinar. I think it’s a good idea to have something which is more interactive, but it definitely depends … and there I agree with all of you … we really need to have a little bit more information how you want to set up these things? If you do it in the right way, then this can bring a lot of interactions. If it’s something which is too pushy, also, at the same time, collecting information, then people will reject it and it will go right away in the wrong direction because people will consider it as being nosy and that’s something which is the worst case, also. Very good idea, but you have to be very careful by setting it up and by planning it. If you do it well … like for example the beer can keyboard, that’s a perfect example which was not nosy, people wanted to participate … then it works very well.

 

Sean:I completely agree. When you said the beer can thing, I immediately thought of the toy stores that have the massive keyboard that you jump on to play the music. It’s so engaging. You’re just like, “I want.” Of course you want to do it. You’re like, “I want to go do that,” and it draws you in. I think it’s more about how do you draw people in, rather than my brand … brand, brand, brand, brand … it’s come enjoy this experience and if at the end of it, you walk away and say, “Oh, this is the greatest brand ever,” great. Just typing in, it’s so funny that people want to be the WiFi sponsor, typing in whatever sponsor, that’s great, but I’d rather it be something and you walk outside and cuddle puppies, and its awesome. It’s something that you will always remember.

 

So, kind of transitioning into the next … Go ahead, Meg.

 

Meg:I was just going to say, I think it’s interesting that mobile app sponsorship has gone through quite an evolution. When mobile apps first started coming out, everybody wanted to buy a banner because you could click through and you could measure the clickthroughs as opposed to print advertising. That was a big wow, right? Then, it was push notifications, and everyone is pushing notifications out everywhere. Then everyone is saying, “Wait, wait, wait.” Peter’s point, no one wants to be spoken to, no one wants to be pushed to, and not it’s all about engagement, right? Getting people engaged and having them do something fun and interesting. It’s just fun to watch, in a very short amount of time, what the evolution of mobile sponsorship has become.

 

Peter:I think also, if I might jump in on it, we could also keep an eye on everything which is augmented reality. Everybody, I don’t need even to mention that there is one game which is super famous for the moment with some monsters in it. Everybody knows it. Even if you are definitely not interested in such a game, I would still keep it in mind because that gives a good example how also in the future a certain game-ification of event sponsorship can take place. Everybody is running around with a smart phone, all these other devices. Having augmented reality integrated into the sponsorship so that you have something like a scavenger hunt made half virtual at an event. That’s something which is very compelling as well. I would see something like this, also, as one of the future sponsorships which are going to come. Definitely keep this in mind, also, and follow the evolution. It’s not yet at the point where it could be implemented so easily, but for bigger investors, definitely, it will be.

 

Jacque:I was really impressed. I have to say, I was very impressed. The Phoenix Zoo, here in town, apparently is a hotbed for the Pokemon. They got very smart. They started on social media talking about that. Then they opened up earlier for the summer, because it’s hot here and whatever, so that we would come and play Pokemon. Smart. Not a sponsorship-related, but from a marketing point of view, I was like, “They got it. They figured it out.” I thought that was very sharp of them.

 

Peter:Well, Nintendo is smart, because they’re now starting to talk about, “Okay, we’re going to let you sponsor gyms,” or sponsor lures, or whatever, and that is obviously a huge part that will move in. I think another really brilliant … we worked with an even this year, Dig South which is in Charleston, South Carolina, and they were allowing their sponsors to purchase the geofilters in Snapchat. They would help them build it, and then they would give them the parameters of the location and then that would be the geofilter, right? You’d slide through in your Snapchat and you take a picture, and that geofilter would be sponsored, or branded, right? There’s a lot of different ways, I think, augmented reality is going to be huge. Obviously, we have beacons that help give ROI specific to sponsorship involvement.

 

I think the over-arching topic today, that I really took out of this, is build experiences, right? Make sure those brands are telling a story. If they want to tell their story in their way, then that’s fine. The experience of, as Jacque was explaining, where … what was the brand? … Kaiser where they brought in and did this whole Star Trek hospital thing for the Star Trek people getting a picture inside of that thing was massive, that’s huge. It was just a little tiny touchpoint for them. The virality on social media was huge. I think it’s about not selling so much this whole classic sponsorship, “We want your money and we’ll give you some exposure.” It’s, “We want you to provide value to us, and we’re going to provide this value to you.” Right? Here’s how we can work together. You might get somebody who’s like, “Oh, we just want to set up a booth and we’re going to hand out this.” It’s like, “You’re not a fit. That’s not going to work for us. We’re actually looking for something a lot more intriguing and interesting to our audience.” I think you’ve really got to navigate that part of it.

 

Peter:I truly believe that every sponsor should strive to extend the event, also, beyond the event itself. Provide a valuable content beyond the event itself, other than being on a landing page on lead page for example, just simply to provide something where the event attendee can simply say this is something which gives me this added value, and that’s so easily done. Take in sports, even, for example. A fitness studio chain could sponsor this even by saying we’re paying to set up a page with dedicated training sessions, for example, for free that you can download. Something like this would work for a marathon, all these things. There are many ideas where you can extend, really, the event and not only just getting the visibility but providing this added value through the extension of the event.

 

Sean:That’s just there. They’ve got to sell that engagement, right? They’ve got to do it right.

 

Last two questions, we’re running out of time. This hour flies by, it’s my favorite hour. Everybody be thinking and I’ll pick on somebody, but what are some tips for planners in 2016. It’s going to be one question, and then do you have any favorite tools or resources. Meg, what’s one tip for planners in 2016. Kind of generic, it doesn’t have to just be sponsorships. Just in general.

 

Meg:Yeah, I think it’s really important for planners to really look at their sponsorship and create a strategic plan. I think, to Peter’s point earlier, it’s important for them to stop looking at sponsorship from a tactical standpoint and looking at it more consultative. Really getting to know their sponsors, what their sponsor’s objectives and goals are, and really trying to match it. Also, treat your sponsors like true advisors and partners. There’s so much information you can get from them, if you have those open conversations. Also, I’m big on the surprise and delight factor with sponsorship. We’ve done sponsorship where on setup day we brought down an ice cream cart for everyone. Thank your sponsors. It’s a lot of money, normally, and it’s a lot of effort, and you want them to be happy because at the end of the day, everything … what you do, what event planners do, what sponsorship does, or brand partners do … is to drive value for an attendee. That’s my tip.

 

Sean:I love it. Peter?

 

Peter:I would say keep, definitely, an eye on evolution of technology. It’s not only event tech, but in general technology like augmented reality. It’s not very easy to keep up with all the new developments, but it’s super important, also, to understand what is driving the young generation today. Those trends which are set today by millennials is going to be something which is going to be mainstream also, very soon for all the people as well. If you know what’s going on, then you can orient your sponsorship list on the site, but also for the even organizer’s site, toward these directions and come up with really outstanding and disruptive ideas which will make your sponsorship definitely world class.

 

Sean:Love it. Technology. Jacque?

 

Jacque:I agree with the technology, and we haven’t even gotten into the Z Generation that’s coming, that will do everything on their phones. No laptops, or anything, so that’s just crazy. I definitely think that when it comes to sponsors, much like Meg said, you really need to make sure that you’re engaging them. A lot of time, sponsors want to talk to other sponsors and they’ll make their own really great activations together. Sometimes it’s a matter of getting them at the same table, as long as they’re not competitors. Even competitors can sometimes work together. Also, if you get somebody that’s not quite interested for this year, or whatever, invite them to your event. Have a VIP experience for them even though they’re not a sponsor, so they can engage in this event so that they will be on the line for next year. They can see where somebody else did something really creative with their sponsorship. They can see the event first-hand. It’s really different to be part of an event when you’re actually at it, and experiencing it, than seeing it on a proposal or on a deck.

 

Sean:I love that. I love that. Courtney? Any insights? [crosstalk 00:53:41].

 

Courtney:Yeah, I think for planners, really, being creative and flexible. I think we come up with a sponsor prospectus that has all this great stuff on paper, that is part of a sponsorship package, but we’re willing to work with a sponsor that’s willing to work with us on something customized. I think you really, as a an event planner, need to be willing to do that, because not everything is cookie cutter. You want to stand out from the crowd, and you might have a sponsor that wants to go above and beyond what’s put out there. As an event planner, you can’t be so rigid that you wouldn’t be willing to allow them to do that. Working together, having this collaborative approach, I think is the way to go.

 

Jacque:I want to piggyback on that. The days of silver, bronze, gold are gone. As a matter of fact, when I sit down with my client the first thing I ask them to do is pull all pricing and packages off their web site because I do want to customize all that stuff. The same package from one sponsorship is not going to be the same, they’re not going to want the same things. Basically, if you put those packages up with a price tag on them, they’re always going to go for the one that’s the least expensive. Where I could be up-selling if I created an activation or a benefit or a asset for them that would make more sense for them, but I need to know that.

 

From a planner’s point of view, since I am an event planner, you need to know what your real estate is. Look around your events, not just staging and fencing and VIP stuff, or whatever, there’s so many different ways. Take your sponsorship sales person out there, because they will find creative things like, “Let’s put a corral of puppies right here where there’s this dead space and sell that off.” We’ll get very creative like that, but we have to walk the event with you. We need to see those logistics, and we need to see where the real estate is that we can sell. Trust me, we’ll sell it.

 

Sean:Absolutely. We had a local event in Arizona that was totally random, I can’t even remember what it was. Definitely a smaller type organization, but they had this parking, free valet parking as part of the experience. After, you came back out and got your car and there was little … I can’t even remember what it was, a sticker or something … in your car. Not only did I get free parking and they took care of it, and I felt like this star, but I also … this little, tiny, touchpoint. It’s those creative thoughts and things that you’ve got to always do.

 

All right. Last one is a resource for planners. Maybe somewhere you always go to read your news, we have anywhere from a full-face scuba mask someone wanted to share with the audience down to we use Slack for all of our communication. What’s one tool, resource, that you could share with everybody? Peter, what’s a resource that you’re hot on right now?

 

Peter:Well, definitely one resource I believe that today having an internet site, a web site, for even planners or event organizers for their event is something which is absolutely necessary, even more than it was 5 or 6 years ago. There is one software that I would recommend. It’s called Wix, which is a web site generator where you can build your web sites. You have a free mode, you have a paid mode, your own domain or not domain, so it’s very comfortable to use. I don’t think that there is any more any excuse for any event planner or event organizer who doesn’t come up with an internet site for his internet site that he can use really for leveraging all the communication around.

 

Second tool, sorry, I’m going for a second tool as well. Second great tool is also if you want to capture contacts, just use something like LeadPages for example, where you can very easily generate some lead pages, some landing pages where you can provide forms where people can sign up for things. Just interact, also, prior to your event with your audience and give them the possibility to sign for things and to interact simply with you. Wix and LeadPages, for example, these are two great tools that I would use to build up the foundation for a whole communication strategy on the internet.

 

Sean:I love it. Meg? What’s your tool or resource?

 

Meg:I work with a company called Opus Agency, and they have an amazing customer activation portal. The customer can go in and see all their due dates, they can upload all of their logos and anything they need that is part of the activation, and it’s a really easy, very customer friendly tool. Opus Agency.

 

Sean:I love it. Courtney.

 

Courtney:Mine aren’t super exciting, but go-tos are Dropbox and Evernote have saved my life on more than one occasion. The flexibility of those tools and the ability to collaborate are key, so anything that allows you to do that is important.

 

Sean:Look at this classic grind. Love them, those are good ones. Jacque? What’s a resource you can share?

 

Courtney:I love what Courtney says. I also use OneNote and [Goof 00:58:46], physically an electronic binder, so that’s awesome and great to share. There’s also some really organizations. Sometimes they’re way above some of the scope of what we’re doing, but IEG is a great sponsorship organization, MPI, and they have some resources there, but there’s also International Festival Events Association, IFEA, and they do webinars on sponsorships. Those are some really great resources. I’m not the most high-tech person in the whole world, but I engage as best as I can with people that do know. Having those little millennials at your event, blogging, taking pictures, or whatever, and hashtagging, is one of the best things you can do. If it’s at 10, 15 bucks an hour, I’d do it in a hearbeat, because it’s worth it.

 

Sean:Okay. I agree. With that, we’re going to wrap up the show. That has been the hour. We’ll respect your time. I really appreciate you coming on. We’re here every Wednesday. Next week we’ve got some great guests, as well. One of them actually being the co-founder of LinkedIn, which will be kind of interesting, as things have bubbled up recently and a lot going on, that he now … he left a while ago, but … he left and has started in the event industry, has started a company. We’ll have him on next week. Really great show, appreciate you guys. You are #EventIcons to us, keep helping the industry and keep getting better. We appreciate it and we’ll catch you next week.

 

Courtney:Thank you.

 

Meg:Thank you.

 

Jacque:

Thank you.

Will Curran

Author Will Curran

Information junkie, energetic, and work-a-holic are just some of the words we can use to describe Will Curran. Aside from spending 20 out of 24 hours a day working as the Chief Event Einstein of Endless Events, you can catch Will ordering a chai latte or watching The Flash with his cats. He is also well known for his love of all things pretzels.

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