Great Data Wins Sponsorships: Where to Find It and How to Use It

Great Data Wins Sponsorships

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Have you ever completed a form that asks you for your Age, Sex, Race, and Income? Kind of feels like it is none of their business, doesn’t it? Being a 25 to 35-year-old white male is a pretty diverse group. It is hard for a prospective sponsor to draw many insights from that information. Do they like beer? Do they like sports? What if this is a religious event? What if they are an international audience? These kinds of categories are just too broad for most events and are classified ineffectively to identify alignments or add insights that sponsors value.

Every sponsor prospect wants to know about your audience. Understanding your audience creates two distinct advantages:

  • You can use the information to better identify prospects that want your audience
  • This data makes a powerful argument that they are in the right place

Why demographics don’t win sponsorships

Today, brands and businesses rely on two data points to understand their target audience: psychographics and behavioral analytics.

Psychographics is focused on collecting and analyzing the characteristics of an audience, the intangible, such as interests, habits, opinions, lifestyle, attitudes, emotions, and preferences. Psychographics are thought to help explain why people buy.

Behavioral analytics is focused on how buyers act and why. These insights are the result of tracking behavior online and includes eCommerce platforms, online gaming, web, and mobile applications and can be very effective in predicting future behaviors.

Let’s contrast and compare our imaginary 25 – 35-year-old male using all three types of information:

MaleLoves Live MusicVisits Music Venues most weekends. Subscribes to Spotify
25 to 35 years oldHealth and Fitness a priorityWorks out 3-4 x per week
WhiteClose to family and values friendshipUses FaceTime to stay in touch
IncomeEnjoys online social networksPosts from Music Venues on Instagram
SingleWants to advance careerActively searching for online continuing education opportunities

While this is a very simple example it is plain to see that each step beyond traditional demographics creates a more helpful picture of our imaginary 25-35-year-old male.

Where to find psychographics and behavioral analytics

Opening a deck and finding information other than some general demographics such as age range, attendance, male to female ratio is very uncommon. However, gathering this information at the point of sale is fairly easy to do.

Here are some resources that you likely have:

  • Event ticketing and registration technology. If you’re not selling tickets or registrations online, you’re missing out on potential sales — and valuable insight about your attendees. “Your event ticketing and registration platform should do more than accept payments,” says Eventbrite Content Strategist Ronnie Higgins. “If your events are on Eventbrite, for instance, you can pinpoint the source of sale and use Google Analytics to analyze traffic to your event page,” Higgins suggests segmenting visitors who bought a ticket from those who didn’t. From there you can learn what type of device they use and their interest categories, for example, if they are Foodies or DIY enthusiasts. These categories are the same ones that brands use to target their display ads, so now you are really speaking their language
  • Facebook Audience Insights. If your property has an email list that you own, you can upload it and it will give you back a profile of the cohort. It will tell you what pages they like if they are in the market for a new car, new running shoes or like to cook. Of course, this is past attendees, but if you are in your nth year of running your event, this is great data.
  • Surveys. Utilize your email list, onsite polling, and post-event questionnaires to collect insights. Providing an incentive such as a drawing for tickets will yield lots of information. Just be sure to keep the length to no more than ten questions and per the advice above ask about interests and lifestyle rather than age and income.
  • Event Applications. If you have an event app it will collect lots of information about your attendees far beyond their name and email address. In addition to registration information, you can glean insights about the popularity of content, create surveys, question and answer engagement from speaker sessions, the popularity of content by download, social engagement, lead tracking utilization, gamification, polls, and quizzes.

Consider how much better your sponsor pitch, phone call or email would be with deeper insights:

“Our Food and Wine Festival has over 30,000 in attendance over two days”“Our Food and Wine Festival features year around engagement of over 200,000 self-described “foodies” through our segmented mailing lists, website, social media, and our annual festival”
“The Fun Run for Charity is in its 12th Year”“Our Fun Run is popular with over 5,000 families with young children at home, who value a healthy lifestyle”
“Women are the largest buying segment in the country”“Our event is primarily composed of professional women of color, who are focused on advancement in their profession and are tech savvy”

The more you know about your audience makeup, values and behaviors the more likely you will be able to create a compelling case to your prospective sponsors. Big companies and therefore big sponsors live in the world of data. They always prefer working with properties that know their audience.

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