Home' micenet eMag : micenet June 2018 Contents MCI THOUGHT | STEPHAN WURZINGER
t’s been a topic that has monopolised a lot
of my conversations – sponsorship! As I
(figuratively) put pen to paper on this topic,
I am reminded of the Mel Gibson movie
What Women Want, where the inner-
workings of the female psyche seem to
confuse and somewhat elude our lead
character. Fortunately for us, event
sponsorship does not need to be so evasive
nor complicated to understand.
Sponsorship is as important as ever. A
large majority of our clients rely on industry
contributions to make up more than 50 per
cent of their congress revenues. As such,
association leaders are constantly exploring
ways to balance the demands of their
community while also succumbing to the
needs of critical industry partners.
But what we are finding more often than
not, is that we are ‘stuck’ in the traditional
means of engagement, with the ever so
creative mineral-tiered-packages of Platinum,
Diamond, Gold, etc. We’ve been doing it this
way for so long that it’s sometimes hard to
remember that it doesn’t have to remain fixed
in this model.
Just as the women of this world are driven
by different motivations, sponsors too have
their own ambitions that propel their desire to
participate in any congress. Ultimately
however, it is the buyer-seller paradigm that
underpins a sponsor’s commitment. This is
not new information – this is taking it back to
basics and simply understanding that
industry obviously have a product or service
MCI’s Stephan Wurzinger says plenty has changed in the meetings game,
with sponsorship one of the biggest.
they need to sell, and your delegates are their primary audience. It is just a matter of how you
align their motivation with your own to create that winning partnership.
Collectively I think we have become masters at finding branding opportunities. From pens to
banners and even the stair-tread trend all help sponsors with exposure. However, our
experience with the likes of the Asia Pacific Glaucoma Congress (APGC) remind me that while
exposure is positive, it is actually a means-to-an-end, and not the end itself. Exposure is simply
a method of message reinforcement – and what good is reinforcement if you have been given
little opportunity to establish a message in the first place. To really appeal to industry, we need
to provide an opportunity to engage.
Engagement is key but takes many forms. We have found that sponsorship revenue typically
follows the Pareto Principle where 80 per cent of income will come from just 20 per cent of your
sponsors. It is these key partners that are looking for avenues which allow them to educate their
audience, introduce new concepts, or even workshop solutions with their end users/buyers.
Whether this takes the form of roundtable discussions, didactic seminars, or hands-on
workshops, experience tells us that implementing tactics such as these can boost your
sponsorship revenues by approximately 12 per cent. Therefore, the shape of each sponsors’
engagement offering should be a key question for your team to address when procuring
While this may seem all about your industry partners, it pays to also keep in mind that this
can be used to the advantage of your association! Our work with APGC is seeing us implement
engagement tactics such as wet-labs, pre-congress workshops, and a morning symposium
program; allowing us to fulfil sponsors’ ambitions whilst also gaining commitment to (and
funding!) the evolution of the congress.
Similarly, with another major medical association congress in the Asia Pacific, we have seen a
major pharma company invest up to an additional $40,000+ to participate in a digital market
space – which essentially appeals to their desire to engage.
To any ambitious corporation, knowing that you have the capacity to communicate digitally
with 1150+ qualified users/buyers has unrivalled appeal. This desire for digital communication
provides us with an opportunity to re-purpose and monetise congress content, and
subsequently create additional revenue streams. This approach allows your association to not
only increase sponsors’ contributions but also extend the life of the congress.
Essentially you can follow a simple formula that offers you a world of insight into what your
sponsors want: Engagement + Exposure + Evidence. As for women, that formula might be a
little more complex (and dare I say, very case-dependant!). m
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