With Cam Petty
If you’ve been in the rental business for any amount of time, you have probably been asked to sponsor a friend or client event for free. Although upfront these propositions don’t seem at all lucrative and maybe have more costs than they’re worth, our team disagrees. There can be great benefits to sponsorship and we want to tell you more about how we handle these types of requests and what you can do to make it worth your while!
There are a couple of factors that go into deciding if an event or potential new client is worth sponsoring because if we could, we’d sponsor every time someone reached out and asked but we are a business and that’s not how businesses succeed. Therefore, we ask ourselves a few specific questions to decide if it is a good decision, starting with where is the event going to be held and at what time. Because if your team is already booked for the day requested or the venue/event site isn’t within your company’s region that is an easy no. Additionally, the product or services being requested may already be booked for the requested day.
In addition to the logistical questions that can make the decision, you can ask yourself if the client or event fits into your marketing plan. Is sponsoring this event going to provide you with new contacts for collaboration? What about new potential clients? Most sponsored events could lead to generating new business but if not, that’s a big thing to consider.
Lastly, and something our team likes to ask is, “who is your photographer?” We decided this is something to be mindful of after learning the hard way. *storytime* We once worked with a client to sponsor an event and it was so fun. The venue and design both complimented our company style and brand. We were so excited to see the pictures from the event and when we did, they were not what we expected. This was especially detrimental to this sponsorship because we hoped to get plenty of new marketing material from the images and upon seeing them realized they were not images we wanted to use. Lesson learned.
For starters, sponsorship always helps get your name out there and helps promote your business! It allows potential clients to see your products and experience them first-hand. They can see the size of different products, the color how they fit in certain spaces or how they pair with other products, etc. Sponsorship also allows you the opportunity to network and make new contacts.
At previous events we have sponsored, the conversation is always fun. As you network and explain what you do, people might ask or say, “I’d love to see some of your products!” The shazam, we can point over to the lounge at the event or the florals around the venue and say, “that’s our product, that’s what we do!”
Often times sponsorship can lead to great marketing material. Not only do you usually get to have a little more say so in the design since you’re providing the service discounted or for free, but you also vetted if the photographer was someone you know you’d receive quality content from. This is something you should have conversations about prior to agreeing to the sponsorship. Make an agreement with the event host/planner about what kind of access you would have to the content and when you would receive it by. Note: if it’s digital content, you should ask for it to be shared within 1-2 weeks after the event. If it’s not, that content can take longer to process but you should still outline a date and follow-up for those images.
Photos aren’t the only thing you should ask for, but anything relating to content that shows your product. Ask if you can be tagged on social media for anything they post about the event. This again is additional marketing for your products and services to a different audience than what you typically have.
Lastly, ask for a seat at the table. As we shared earlier that a benefit of sponsorship is making new contacts… that only works if you are there to meet them! Ask for a free ticket to the event for you or your team to go and network so you can make connections with new potential clients!
Within sponsorship, you are always doing something for free. Whether it’s your products, your time, your resources, you’re providing some service for a discounted price. It’s okay if that is something your business can’t support! However, there are ways to sponsor where you can offset some of the expenses you can’t reasonably cover.
This is where negotiation comes in. If a client is asking you to sponsor an event with a lounge. Sure you don’t mind allowing them to use your product but you don’t feel great about eating the labor and delivery costs, ask them if there is any room in their budget to cover those. You don’t want to tell yourself no before asking the client because they just might say yes.
Whatever agreements you and the client come to about the event, this includes collecting the content, invitation, offset costs, etc., you should draft and finalize a legal agreement. It doesn’t have to be scary but it does need to be serious. Note exactly what services you are providing and at what discounted price, as well as what you expect in return.
Hopefully, this episode shows you how sponsorship can be beneficial for your company and not something to naturally turn down. Look at the benefits compared to the potential financial loss and use your best judgment to see if you want to act on it.
If you have any more questions about this topic, please reach out to us via Instagram @therender.co or through our website here.
TJ White | Content Manager
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