What to do when three companies want to sponsor the same component at the association’s annual conference? This question was posted on an ASAE listserv with an idea about auctioning off the lanyard sponsorship to the highest bidder.
The value of lanyard sponsorships at conferences is unique to each company. When I managed an association’s sponsorship program, there was a company that always wanted (and received) the lanyard sponsorship. An executive from another sponsor whispered to me at the conference, “why does that company always get stuck sponsoring the lanyards?”
For the dilemma with three companies that each wants to sponsor the lanyards, I suggest:
- Develop a list of valuable sponsorable components, such as the lanyards; having a video loop in the video screens in the convention center; sponsoring the shuttle buses with a company video on each buses’ TV screen; sponsoring a coffee break with napkins imprinted with the company’s logo; sponsoring a wellness or fitness activity. (Don’t publish or disseminate this list.)
- Have a conversation with each of the three companies about its business objectives and marketing goals. What do they want to accomplish at the conference? Do they want to reach a segment of the conference attendees? Ask follow-up questions.
- Align each company’s objectives/goals with a sponsorable component. (Maybe the lanyards won’t fulfill the objectives/goals of any of the companies!) This also avoids the winner/losers with the auction scenario; each company can be a winner.
The next, bigger step is to offer year-long sponsorships/partnerships. Some companies are finding less value in stand-along conference sponsorships. There can be greater sponsor value in year-long sponsorships — and more sponsor revenue for the association.