Surviving the events sponsorship arena in Singapore
With the advent of B2B events in Asia, companies are seeking higher return-on-investment by hosting events themselves. In essence, internal event let the host dictate what to sell, who to sell to and how to sell. Primarily, audiences stem from existing clientèle and potential ones for various good reasons, emphasizing on the last 3Ps in the science of Marketing (Process, Physical environment and People) and the quest to let their users advocate the host's thought leadership instead. Investment on unique infrastructure as demanded by the hosts, ability to tweak details and the logistical environment can and are usually answered at least by the last P.
These events allow the host to be the only solutions provider and rationality governs that only interested buyers will show up. Networking opportunities are abundant as well since societal animals like us want to balance our opportunity costs, we always mingle. Everybody wins.
Or is it?
Sponsorships have transcended brand awareness and over-the-line marketing vis-à-vis a targeted yet niche selling pitch. Regardless on the design of the event, sponsors almost always have just one agenda on their mind, ROI.
However, this depends on who’s asking. Marketers have different KPIs to Sales and the fact that we now have companies separating these two portfolios and also creating the sexy new ‘business developmenters’, everyone needs to be satisfied, did I mention marketers?
Marketers look at the scale of the event, how many people passes through their gates and how many name cards they get to collect.
Sales look at sieving through the myriad of people to eventually be able to engage with potential clients and create a new relationship from scratch.
Business developmenters look at talking to just about everybody.
There are massive amounts of useful post-event data to be collected and analysed after which to be acted upon by different departments and therein lies the many hidden challenges.
With the attendees coming from just a single vertical though from various industries, and even with invited guests, the likelihood of efficient networking boils down to acquaintanceship and past colleagues through to slightly after lunch.
When internal events being open almost exclusive to billion dollar companies, companies hosting third party ones would still stand a chance to tap into this emerging industry that is slowly being accepted as mainstream and being focused will be the first key to success. Second is a good team which subscribes to the company’s vision and purpose, third is their ability to identify who the event sells to and lastly being effective at engaging with them.
Some companies choose to focus on sellers, some on buyers, some on product-specific themes and many on marketers. Massive efforts are then spend prior to the event while almost little on after the event, my point looks past feedback forms and photos and interviews, it serves to highlight the importance of collecting data from as many sources as possible, even venue staff, then analysing them with the management from three angles, sponsors, attendees and internal staff.
With a new industry comes new challenges, and with new challenges come new business modus operandi. With that many businesses now eyeing a piece of the Asia pie and vice versa, I’m sure every event’s organizer will find themselves an arsenal of tools from my contribution.
Erwin Cheong, Business Development Manager, Avantgarde Minds