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Event Marketing, Event Planning & Management
20 May 2024 

Beyond Discounts: 7 Innovative Strategies To Build Event Sponsor Incentives 

Bizzabo Blog Staff
Bizzabo Blog Staff
Beyond Discounts: 7 Innovative Strategies To Build Event Sponsor Incentives 

In both good and bad economic times, the most strategic events teams are always trying to land new sponsors to increase event exposure and bolster their budgets. 

When teams strategize event sponsor incentives, offering discounts is one of the first ideas they consider. However, creative approaches to event sponsorship — like unique brand exposure opportunities, exclusive networking events, and co-creation projects — can make it easier to attract new sponsors, strengthening relationships and ensuring more fruitful, long-term partnerships.

By thinking beyond the traditional event sponsor incentive of discounts, businesses can attract a diverse range of sponsors and forge mutually beneficial collaborations that drive growth, increase brand visibility, and make it that much easier to land sponsors for future events.

With that in mind, let’s examine seven event sponsorship ideas you can use to attract more companies to sponsor your next event.

1. Unique Brand Exposure Opportunities

Giving event sponsors a way to elevate their brand visibility through innovative strategies beyond traditional exposure methods is one conference sponsorship idea to try out. Here are some potential approaches:

  • Consider providing sponsors with exposure through virtual reality experiences. These immersive experiences offer opportunities for sponsor branding and enable attendees to engage with branded content in dynamic, unforgettable ways. 
  • Offer customized product placements, allowing sponsors to seamlessly integrate their products and services with event programming and content to maximize exposure and relevance. 
  • Place sponsor branding on interactive social media challenges or campaigns to encourage audience participation while amplifying sponsor messaging and fostering community engagement and brand advocacy. 

These incentive ideas enable sponsors to captivate audiences, generate buzz, and leave a lasting impression. 

2. Exclusive Networking Events or Experiences

Providing exclusive networking opportunities — like VIP dinners, private workshops, and behind-the-scenes tours — can help sponsors develop meaningful connections with prospects while increasing brand visibility. Here are a few ideas: 

  • VIP dinners and meet-and-greets with industry leaders offer sponsors a platform to engage with key stakeholders, exchange insights, and forge valuable partnerships. 
  • Private workshops or seminars tailored to sponsors’ interests can provide valuable knowledge-sharing opportunities and targeted networking experiences. 
  • Behind-the-scenes tours or unique experiences can offer sponsors unique insights and memorable experiences to share with their networks. It’s another way to show your appreciation for sponsors while creating lasting impressions.

3. Co-creation Projects

In terms of event sponsorship, one major challenge is finding a partner that shares your goals and vision. Overcome this obstacle by offering to co-develop new products or services with sponsors, innovating together while showcasing the sponsors’ expertise and credibility.

You can also launch joint marketing campaigns to leverage each other’s audiences, expanding reach and enabling both your organization and your sponsors to drive brand awareness among the other’s audience. Consider scheduling co-branded events and webinars, too, which provide platforms for shared expertise, networking, and lead generation. 

By aligning visions and resources, sponsors and organizers alike can create compelling initiatives that resonate with audiences and meet your shared goals.

4. Thought Leadership Opportunities

Positioning sponsors as thought leaders within the industry enhances their visibility and credibility, benefiting both you and the sponsor. Here are a few ideas: 

  • Offer guest blogging or podcasting opportunities to would-be sponsors, enabling them to share insights and expertise with a wider audience. 
  • Provide panel discussions or speaking slots at industry conferences to elevate the sponsors’ profiles while enabling them to share their ideas.
  • Host sponsor-led workshops or training sessions to help sponsors showcase their knowledge and product capabilities and attract potential customers and partners. It’s an easy way to enrich event programming while helping sponsors position themselves on the forefront of the industry.

Of course, the best way to find the right incentive, as always, is to ask your sponsors what would get them to sign on the dotted line and then create a flexible, personalized sponsorship package that works for them. 

5. Philanthropic Partnerships

Joining forces with sponsors on charitable initiatives can amplify brand impact while you and the sponsor do your part to make the world a better place.

Co-sponsoring fundraising or volunteer initiatives demonstrates generosity and is a great way to give back to the community and engage with local groups. You could convince an on-the-fence organization to become a sponsor by matching donations to causes they care about, showing your commitment to social responsibility.

Further, creating cause-related marketing campaigns highlighting the sponsor’s philanthropic efforts raises awareness and inspires action, strengthening brand reputation and customer loyalty.

6. Access to Exclusive Data and Insights

Providing access to valuable data and insights can help sponsors make informed decisions and optimize strategies — perhaps convincing them to come on board. Check out these ideas:

  • Share anonymized customer data or market research findings, which offer sponsors valuable insights into target demographics and consumer preferences. 
  • Offer access to proprietary analytics or consumer behavior insights to help them identify trends, refine targeting, and enhance campaign effectiveness. 
  • Co-create whitepapers or industry reports to showcase thought leadership while positioning you and the sponsor as thought leaders in your field.

Be sure to ask your sponsors what data would be most meaningful to achieving their goals and then create a plan for securely sharing that information with them if they agree to sponsor. Or, consider leveraging Bizzabo’s Klik SmartBadge™ and Touchpoints to seamlessly ensure your sponsors have immediate access to the right analytics at every event.  

7. Long-term Agreements

Instead of viewing sponsorship as a one-off transaction, prioritize lasting partnerships and mutual growth opportunities.

By checking in with sponsors regularly, you can better understand their evolving needs and goals, ensuring alignment and satisfaction throughout the partnership. Even better, offering loyalty rewards and incentives can encourage continued partnership — much like how you might get a free sandwich at your neighborhood deli after buying 10. 

Finally, explore opportunities for extended co-branding and co-marketing agreements. This is another simple way to improve brand visibility for both parties and demonstrate your commitment to continuing the relationship well after the next event is over.

Get Started: Build a High-impact Event Sponsorship Strategy

In a climate where many events teams struggle to land sponsors, offering discount packages is no longer enough. By diversifying incentives beyond discounts, your organization can deliver more value, make your event stand out, and attract and retain event sponsors.

By thinking creatively and tailoring incentives to the unique interests and goals of would-be sponsors, you can encourage more companies to sign on to your next event. 

Check out our free guide, The strategic event sponsorship handbook, to learn more about how to build an effective, ROI-delivering event sponsorship strategy that ensures long-term partnerships with more organizations.

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