One of the aspects of my job that gives me most satisfaction is working with our key sponsors, including the Mayflower Theatre, in designing and organising packages that I know are going to WOW our clients and staff (sponsorship isn’t just about the external market, and has a huge part to play in staff engagement and corporate social responsibility). Also, despite what others may think(!), it’s not just that I get to attend the event–always a massive bonus when increasingly I spend more and more of my time in the office dealing with a multitude of marketing/business critical issues–but I meet some of our amazing clients, and get a proper feel for their business.

As you can imagine there’s no shortage of sponsorship opportunities, and for anybody considering where they should invest their marketing spend, here are a few pointers to bear in mind:

  1. Make sure there’s a synergy with your brand. This isn’t just about making sure that people will like what’s on offer but know your audience, i.e. their interests, what they care about and who perhaps they’re trying to meet.
  2. Make sure you like how the event(s) are staged. I’m not suggesting that events are poorly run, but there’s a lot to worry about on the day, and the last thing you want to concern yourself with is the quality of the event.
  3. Be clear what you will get for your investment. Most sponsors have an agreement which both parties need to sign; but it’s important that you understand what is/not included, the cost of any add ons and what happens when things go awry, i.e. the event is cancelled.
  4. When you think of the return on investment, it’s a cliché but you get out of the event what you put into it.
  5. Make sure you brush up on your listening and communications skills. There is a temptation to want to see as many people as possible but you need to make sure that you give each guest the right amount of time (if you don’t then there’s a risk they will be put off coming next time in seeing the event as some sort of speed networking jamboree).

In the final analysis, sponsorship budgets will always be under pressure but if you can try to measure the outcomes (social media offers some great opportunities to raise your brand’s profile), then I remain convinced that sponsorship will continue to be a worthwhile and long term investment.