events and sponsorship roi

An easy way to decide on investing in an Event, List or Sponsorship

Stijn Hendrikse
Jun 11, 2020

How do you decide to invest in buying this list, or attending this "unique" luncheon or webinar?

When you receive a sponsorship, luncheon, or speaking opportunity, there is usually a little bit of “fear of missing out” effect. While we consciously know these opportunities usually don’t yield great results, we also have a hard time saying no to an opportunity where we could potentially meet that one great prospect, or learn something unique about our audience.

It’s hard to delete that email.

The sender usually peaks your interest by describing a great cast of potential customers you will "likely" meet, or famous names of companies and individuals who have either attended in the past, or "expressed interest" to attend this time around. You know it's a shady value proposition. It's hard to just hit "delete" though.

When you are offered to buy a list of prospects (or better...suspects) the examples are always to good to be true....and usually they are. But sometimes they are not.

So what do we do?

We typically:

  • Leave it in our inbox and come back to it later
  • Forward it to someone in our team for them to make this unpopular decision
  • Say yes
  • Tell a peer or friend about this opportunity, and hope that their reaction will help us decide.

None of the above is a good strategy. It’s time to decide. Here is how I try to make these decisions. While it takes a bit more time to evaluate the opportunity, it still takes less time vs. sitting on it or making the wrong call.

Questions to ask to evaluate a sponsorship opportunity, or a commitment of your (team’s) time:

  1. Is this a match with our Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) ? Is the audience for this event matching the niche we want to nail?
  2. What's the cost?
    1. Make sure to value your time correctly, including preparation, travel and follow up. In many cases, it can at least be half-day of your time for a simple breakfast meeting, easily going to multiple days for events that need preparation.
    2. Your time as a leader is probably worth $5000+ per day. Depending on how you delegate this, it could be less.
  3. Can your participation drive:
    1. Awareness: Will you be allowed to speak (starting with being able to introduce yourself) or have a more visible presence? Will people remember our name?
    2. Consideration: Are you able to showcase your company as a "Trusted Guide" for this audience? (i.e. share some content, do education, answer questions)
    3. Conversion: Can you close some business with an existing relation/opportunity in the pipeline?
  4. Does the event, and the organizer, align with the image/brand that your company wants to project and be affiliated with?
  5. If you have an active role, can your team execute a high-quality event (preparation time, understand what's needed, team capacity, etc.)

Assuming a cost per quality MQL (say $1000), #2 and #3 can tell you if this is worth pursuing. Will you get the 3+ MQLs to make this worth your while? How likely is it that you’ll close some business here?

The above is solely a decision from a Marketing investment perspective. There can of course be other reasons to join an event, like for personal education purposes, your personal networking or just to enjoy yourself. If those are valid reasons, now at least you know why you either say yes, or leave this email in your inbox to give it more thought.

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