I’ve heard vendors and sponsors repeat this line many times about event organizers: “Once they get our money, the organizer doesn’t care about us anymore.”
Sponsors say they are often treated like second-class citizens — just a paid decoration at an event. This makes me so sad to hear because this is so unnecessary! It doesn’t cost anything to be nice and make event attendees, including your sponsors, feel welcome. It makes all the difference if you want to create long-term, mutually-beneficial relationships.
You know all the vendors talk to each other and compare notes. Doesn’t it make more sense to treat them well? Plus, they can become good-will ambassadors for your event!
Here’s some ideas about how to treat your exhibitors and sponsors with the respect they deserve:
- Keep a regular communications going with them during the lead up to the event. I send a once-a-month email with an update on who the keynotes are going to be, where the parties are taking place, our latest marketing efforts, and how we’re helping to promote THEM.
- For the sponsors that are good marketers — we offer them a free pass to give away through a contest for their prospects and customers. In return, they provide us a list of contestants that we send an email “thanking the sponsor” and pointing out to the contestants that even if they didn’t win the free conference pass, they can still get a big discount.
- On site, I personally meet with every sponsor to thank them for being incredible sponsors and to tell them how much I appreciate THEM.
- We have a VIP Party exclusively for the sponsors and speakers. We pick out a cool spot and they love being treated like VIPs. It really doesn’t cost much for this one-hour party the night before the event starts. Plus it’s a great way to set the tone and energy for your event!
- During the event, my staff and I are constantly in the sponsor area talking to them and making sure they are getting whatever they need. Often at other events, I see organizers actually avoiding the exhibitors/sponsors and just praying they are happy. If my sponsors are having a problem or a concern I want to know. Trust me, the “ostrich customer service” approach doesn’t work.
So that’s it. It’s really not that complicated or expensive to show some love and keep your vendors happy. Treat them like you would treat a friend you invited to your house for a party. This proactive approach to vendors will pay huge dividends and make you life-long business relationships.
P.S. Do not take sponsors for granted, ever!
Niche Media has created super niched-out events specifically for magazine publishers for over 12 years. We’ve helped pave the way for the era of boutique events that connect specific audiences and provide great educational, friendly and super-fun environments! Plus, Carl Landau – Niche Media’s Grand Poobah – just a niche event all about creating and marketing targeted events – NicheEventFest.com Check it out!
Image from freedigitalphotos.net