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Event Manger Blog webinar takeaways – tips for effective sponsorship

Couple of weeks ago Julius Solaris, editor of Event Manager Blog, hosted a webinar together with Eventbrite, titled “Sponsorship is broken – how to fix it”. Only this year I started working with sponsors so this topic was of great interest for me to hopefully get some insights into sponsorship and how I can improve my value proposition.

Julius had a similar post on his blog already, Event Sponsorship is Broken. Can We Fix it?, discussing the topic and where he gave a more detailed overview on why “the party is over” for the traditional sponsorship model such as offering sponsor a table and a banner for their spend or selling gold, silver or bronze packages. Not only these models don’t work for sponsors anymore, but sponsors also spend less money than before. Now it’s time to rethink how we attract sponsors to our events!

I know the events industry very well by now and I saw sponsors pulling out and not doing one or other marketing activity because they don’t have the ROI anymore for being present at an event with too many other sponsors. On the positive side I see that sponsors are ready to try new things and I see the trend towards spreading the marketing budget across multiple marketing activities to test and see what works best. They start with small budget and if they are happy with the results they will renew.

But, as Julius mentioned, planners can’t renew sponsor’s interest if they still propose a model which is 120 years old and sell the lie of exposure, mentions and logo placement.

Julius suggested that online marketing and social media brought new awareness to brands investing in marketing and sponsorship. With the advent of social media brands are able to measure and see consumer journey online, which is incomparable to the insights from the promise of exposure.

Indeed, I see a massive opportunity to engage with sponsors in the digital space and the positive thing about doing digital marketing activities with sponsors is that they can see immediate results and metrics online, such as likes, shares and engagement in the comment sections and this is also very transparent!

No sponsors means no events – so how do we get sponsors? Here are few suggestions from Julius’s webinar. I highly recommend also listing to the full recording.

Show authority

Content content content! Julius said that the strongest weapon planners have is content. Brands can do events themselves, but it will be always regarded as biased. So content shouldn’t be compromised and can be delivered by the right speakers.

I’ve experienced this shift myself as I partnered with tourism organisations and venues to host #EventPlannersTalk LIVE events. Together we developed the topic, speakers and selected most suitable venue. Connecting attendees around the topic is a win-win for everyone: the organiser, the sponsor and attendees!

#EventPlannersTalk LIVE event July 2016

Ditch your collateral: “the best proposal is no proposal”

It’s easy to create a one-fit-all proposal and send to everyone and expect magic, BUT, the new attitude is to meet and discuss with the sponsor how to create a win-win solution. It’s important to work in a personalised and customised way and act as an account managers to help and achieve sponsor’s’ objectives.

Starting out I had a fix price but as my events grow and each sponsor has their specific requirements, I realised that I can’t have “one price fits all anymore” so it’s good to have an open discussion first instead. I must have a starting price to deliver the event, but if sponsors want premium food or venue I can’t offer the same price as I offered to others. I believe that customisation and personalisation is what will help make the events win-win for both organiser and sponsor but will also make the event stand out!


Like hosted buyer programmes, for example, meetings and connections don’t happen by themselves, organisers should facilitate connections. Guaranteed meetings demonstrate tangible KPIs to sponsors and technology can help and facilitate these meetings.

I strongly believe that you need to get people in the room with similar interests who want to do business. As we discussed at the latest #EventPlannersTalk LIVE event about the changing landscape of corporate networking, connections don’t happen naturally, and you will have both extroverts and introverts in the audience. So how do you unlock opportunities for everyone attending? By offering different formats, like speed dating, pre-scheduled appointment and informal socialising you’ll have something for everyone in the room. In addition, it’s always important to have the right balance between those who are looking and those offering. We must deliver ROI for sponsors and get people with buying power in the room.

Make your own – “do it yourself packages” & À la carte menu

Allow sponsors to pick what they like instead of packages by offering them an à la carte menu as flexible as possible.

I think this one is a very interesting idea! Instead of offering the whole package, I’ll give my sponsors options and prices for each activity so they can pick and choose, and add anything anytime in the future. This keeps great flexibility for both sides!

To conclude, yes there is a massive shift in the way we organisers should work with sponsors. Instead of offering exposure, mentions and logo placement, we must offer engagement and tangible results, which technology can help measure. So, in Julius’s words “put your event first, put attendees first, put value first”.

What are your challenges? Frustrations? Tips? Best practices? Finding and working with sponsors?

The start-up nation – Interview with Maayan Levy, Founder of Zoliro

Some of you may know already that I grew up in Israel and after finishing my high school went to Switzerland to study hotel management. That was over 10 years ago and many things have changed since in Israel and I am positively surprised that Israel is raising its profile in the international start-up scene.

Over the past few years I heard about Israeli start-ups making it to the international scene and event start-ups in particular. You might have heard of Evolero, a registration and ticking platform which I use for #EventPlannersTalk events, Wix, a website building platform which got international publicity thanks to their Super Bowl 2016 commercial and this year’s Advertising Week Europe hosted a panel of Israeli advertising professionals to discuss the local advertising scene.

I recently discovered Zoliro, founded by Maayan Levy and launched to the international market. Curious to know about the raising event start-up scene in Israel, I interviewed Maayan about Zoliro and what makes Israel a start-up nation.

What is Zoliro?

Zoliro activates sponsorship success for event professionals by connecting attendees with targeted offers from event sponsors through a smart, engaging and effective mobile experience.

Zoliro is a significant tool event professionals use to entice and retain sponsors with a digital event bag that increases sponsor visibility, drives higher positive attendee engagement and generates many more qualified leads.

Our mission is to make event marketing an effective, result-driven, attendee-focused experience, bringing together the best of both physical and digital marketing.

How did you come up with the idea to create the platform?

We had the experience of organizing events for an association we are a part of. Our events always gathered great audiences which was very attractive for a lot of different brands. Despite that, we’ve always found that managing sponsors’ expectations and getting them to take part and come back for the next event was the biggest challenge.

The research we conducted taught us that many event organizers share the same pain.

Our team of founders come from a technological background, and we knew there must be a better way to demonstrate the value to sponsors. We took more than a year to work closely with other event organisers and their sponsors to come up with Zoliro as is it now.

It took us months and dozens of events to make Zoliro the effective, successful tool that it is today. With a visibility rate of +90%, positive engagement of +70% and in most cases more than +20% of event attendees become qualified leads for each sponsor, we’re very proud of the value it provides sponsors and event organisers.

Maayan Levy CEO zoliro

What were the challenges setting up the business?

Starting a business is never easy, it’s an amazing journey and I must admit that my partners and our early investors made it a little easier. The most amazing thing about it is bringing a product to life – from an early idea to a mature, working product (that looks nothing like the early idea that it was). I assume most entrepreneurs will share this feeling.

For us, though, the main challenge was the fact that Israel’s event scene is not a large enough market for a business like ours. Our first events were in Israel, and it was very important and enlightening to see attendees use Zoliro with our own eyes and meet with our event partners and their sponsors face to face.

When we felt it was mature enough we started reaching out to the North American and European markets – our target markets – and that has been a real challenge. Getting familiar with new markets, understanding the opportunities, competition and state of mind, takes time. It also takes a lot of patience, being open-minded, humble and always in learning mode.

What, in your opinion makes Israel a start-up nation?

Our team is the classic example of an Israeli start up team. 3 Alumni of an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) elite technology unit with real passion for creating new products and all have strong tech capabilities. It’s a huge advantage when it comes to product development and a lot of Israeli start-ups make their first steps with a strong product. We later added talented marketing and sales people to support the team of founders with other relevant expertise.

There is also the aspect of problem solving. When you get your professional education and experience in a place like the army, tasks simply can’t fail. There is a problem that requires a solution, most of the time quickly, with limited resources and it must still work. You learn that you can deal with huge challenges, teach yourself almost anything, but also that failing is OK as long as it’s another step in the road to success.

On top of all this there is a vibrant startup scene here and a strong community, formal and mostly informal, that supports and pushes companies to success.

What do you think about the current event scene in Israel? How fast is it growing?

The events scene in Israel is rather small and local, but very vibrant and advanced.

To begin with, Israeli events are very open to new ideas, attractions and technologies and we see that in private events such as weddings as well as in bigger conferences and shows.

There is also the rapidly growing smaller events scenes. Hundreds of groups that organise small weekly or monthly events that attract dozens of participants to each meeting.

In that sense, the Israeli market was, and still is, a very good beta site, as organisers are very approachable and open to testing innovative approaches to reaching their goals. There also seem to be a strong correlation between the results in Israel and the overall results we see oversees in our target markets.

Where (in which markets) do you see growth opportunities?

Geographically speaking, we currently operate in Europe and the United States and plan to keep our focus there for the time being. We do see a big (and growing) opportunity in other markets such as the Asian market, more specifically China and India, and are working on our first partnerships that will allow us to present Zoliro to event partners there as well.

Brazil also represents an interesting opportunity, being one of the fastest growing markets in the events space and we make sure to keep an eye on opportunities that exist there on an ongoing basis.

In addition, until now our focus was mainly on conferences, trade shows and other B2B events. We see great value for Zoliro in consumer and entertainment events such as sports and music events and even sales and shopping events in shopping centers, and are taking our first steps with first partners in those directions as well.