Contributed by Mary Jo DiSalvo
“Why Don’t We Just Call Them?”
Prior to COVID-19, our marketing team was discussing a sponsor that we had been unsuccessful connecting with via email or text. When someone suggested, “Why don’t we just call them?” the laughing could be heard throughout the building. Within two minutes, we had a great conversation with our sponsor. The relationship was back on track.
Since that day, our team proudly wears T-shirts with the words, “Why Don’t We Just Call Them?” to remind us of the importance of using all communication vehicles to keep connected with our key stakeholders. Sometimes, the most obvious answers are the ones we overlook.
Today, with the challenges presented by the pandemic for event marketers and sponsors, we have returned to a healthier mix of communication forms to keep our relationships strong. Here are a few examples of what we do:
- Make phone calls every day to various sponsor contacts.
With many people working remotely, everyone seems happier to hear from us than ever. Each conversation offers us a chance to ask how the pandemic is affecting their business and their loved ones. After asking about them, we do our best to listen well and take notes.
- Write personal notes on branded stationery to key stakeholders. Letting people know we are thinking of them and value their relationship is a great way to stay connected.
- Recognize efforts our sponsors are making on social media vehicles. This includes sharing the marketing promotions as well as activities they are involved in to help the community.
- Share our plans for future events and discuss their possible role in them.
Virtually…Think Outside the Box
As the shape of future events evolves, we are doing our homework. We research what others in our industry are doing, and we ask sponsors how virtual events would be of value to them. Then, we go to work to create innovative, custom packages designed to deliver benefits and measurable results. Here’s what we do:
- Create virtual activities on the date the on-site event would have taken place. If the virtual event matches our sponsors demographic, we talk about branding opportunities and benefits of value to them.
- Design custom sponsor packages based on input from our sponsors. As much as we love cookies, we never use cookie cutters because no two sponsors are the same.
- Follow up with sponsor activation reports that are as big on meaningful metrics as they are rich in compelling images.
Here’s One “FORE” the Future
Because of social distancing and the cancelation of our large-scale events, our team talked about ways to safely get together with key stakeholders and help fund our annual scholarships. The result…a golf outing is now being planned for the fall.
Where did we begin to plan an event unlike anything we had done in the past? We began by calling potential sponsors to see if they had an interest in participating in this type of event at any level. Our conversations gave us an education, enabled us to be more inclusive and keep relationships thriving. The level of respect and trust we give others is the level of respect and trust that returns to us.
The day will come when this pandemic is behind us. Then, we will share more of our event marketing survival stories and invite you to do the same by using all forms of communication. In the meantime, or anytime at all, we’re here for you and happy to help.
“Why Don’t You Just Call Us?”