The Bottom-Line Benefits
Sponsors sponsor our programs
based on perceived benefits, and
the most typical benefit we provide
is exposure to a specific target audience. Companies will spend tens of
thousands to millions of dollars to
buy exposure (aka advertising) on
TV, radio, in print and online. As
speakers, we can’t deliver the same
size audience that other advertising
media offer, but we are in the
unique position of being able to put
sponsors in front of people with
whom they (or we) can directly
interact for more than a 30-second
TV spot offers and with greater
depth than an online banner ad
or print message provides.
Aldonna Ambler, CSP, CMC,
emphasizes the importance of “
positive exposures,” reminding us that
they include any and every instance
a person sees information about the
sponsor, such as viewing a logo banner at the front of the room or visiting a Web site. “If you want to
attract a sponsor, maximize the
number of exposures. Companies
determine how much each exposure
is worth and calculate the value of
sponsorship, and ergo your fee.”
Think of multiple exposures in
multiple formats. A potential sponsor wants to know who and how
many are going to be in your audience, and how you (and your client)
will provide awareness, visibility
and exposure beyond the obligatory
mention and logo placement in promotion materials, Web site, e-mails,
onsite signage and handouts.
Consider and discuss these added
exposure opportunities with your
client before you approach a
prospective sponsor to make sure
the client is willing to participate:
• A live link to a sponsor’s Web
site is included in all electronic
media used to promote the
meeting before, during and after
the date, such as e-mails, Web
sites and e-zines. The power of
this is that sponsors can generate
many hits to their Web sites.
• A booth for literature and/or
product demonstration, either in
an exhibit hall or in a high-
traffic section, such as in the
• Live participation and/or recognition can range from a simple
invitation from the platform for
a representative from the sponsor’s company to stand or wave
his/her hand, to giving the rep a
specific amount of time with the
microphone to introduce you
and/or the company’s services.
This provides a terrific opportunity to thank the sponsor for
making the program possible,
but make sure you and the sponsor have rehearsed and timed
anything the sponsor is going to
say from the platform. You want
the sponsor to be a help, not a
hindrance, to your program.
• An opportunity to network with
participants. Plan times before
and after the program and during breaks so the sponsor can
interact with the audience.
• Distribute company literature
and promotional items (e.g.,
pens and cups).
YOUR REALITY Probably, except
for one big obstacle—
Can Equal Sponsorship I didn’t know anyone who
worked for this company.
So I called my oncologist’s office and asked for the
name of the pharmaceutical company’s local rep.
Then I called the rep, who told me to call a general
information number. I called the number and was
directed to the right department.
In August 1999, I was diagnosed with colon cancer.
I felt very strongly about
speaking to people with
cancer, especially colon cancer, but I didn’t feel right
about charging them to attend. That’s when sponsorship
came to my mind—what company would want exposure
to an audience made up of people with colon cancer?
I had a brochure from a colon cancer group on my desk,
and I noticed that a pharmaceutical company paid for
the printing of the brochure. A few days later, I received a
direct mail piece promoting a colon cancer seminar. It
was sponsored by the same pharmaceutical company.
Had I found my potential sponsor?
Patience and persistence paid off. Nine months later
I was doing a 12-city tour, speaking to people
I could help, on a topic I was passionate about, entirely
sponsored by the pharmaceutical company.