What Is the Difference Between Sponsorship & Event Marketing?

by Kyla Chele Cambrooke; Updated September 26, 2017
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The last time you attended an event, whether large or small, you probably noticed products and services from companies throughout the venue. A variety of corporations display banners or advertisements with logos, products or services to arouse customers' interest. This is a way for companies that serve the community to participate in special events and causes. In addition, many companies sometimes invite consumers to experience and interact directly with products to gain new customers or build brand awareness.

About Sponsorship

Sponsorship opportunities are available to address any type of corporate strategy regardless of the marketing budget. For example, if a company does not locate the appropriate opportunity to associate its name or brand to an event or cause, the company can create its own opportunity to satisfy its goal such as a company hosting a golf event to a company raising money to help rebuild a library. Additionally, a company may also invite other companies to participate in the event or cause.

Sponsor Levels

An organization decides on the various levels of sponsorship, and the event organizer negotiates with a company’s marketing department about the level of sponsorship. This also includes the items or benefits a company receives for sponsoring an event. Sponsor levels vary and do not always involve an exchange of money. For example, some events decide to have a Bronze, Silver and Gold level, while other events elect to have a Red, Yellow and Green level of sponsorship. Each level of sponsorship benefits a company in different ways. For instance, a company electing to become a junior sponsor for an event could receive an opportunity to give attendees brochures, promotional items and display a vertical size advertisement in the event’s journal for $2,500, while a company electing to become the premier sponsor receives the chance to handout brochures, gets four tickets for a table at the event dinner, a full-page advertisement in the event's journal and has the opportunity to provide attendees with promotional items for $6,000.

Elements of Sponsorship

Sponsorships have an array of elements. Companies have the ability to offer giveaways or promotional items such as t-shirts, pens and tote bags. The event organizer also has the ability to give the sponsoring company entertainment incentives such as box seats at a sports event or tickets in the front row for a concert. In addition, companies that sponsor an event have an opportunity to advertise a display advertisement, display a logo or have its name mentioned in a radio commercial. Another element includes having a contest such a company offering free tickets to the PGA, MTV Awards or a free trip. Another sponsorship element could include the company staff gaining access to the attendees by giving a discount on a magazine’s subscription or sending a monthly newsletter. Additionally, a large element for an event is the ability for the attendees to meet a celebrity.

About Event Marketing

Event marketing involves a themed activity, exhibit or display to promote a product, service or organization. The purpose of event marketing is to motivate consumers and create advocates of the brand. Some people refer to event marketing as live marketing or experiential marketing. Whether you refer to event marketing as live marketing or experiential marketing, the consumer gets to interact with a product and experience the product up close. For example, a company launching a new tablet may host a kick-off event that allows potential and current customers to participate in the event by trying the new tablet. Attendees also have the ability to offer reviews to the company immediately after their experience with the product. In addition, attendees of the event can partake in games and activities during the event.

Event Interaction

Potential consumers and current consumers of a brand get to engage directly with new products, services or developments a brand offers. The company gets to interact and teach customers about the product. Attendees get to try the product before purchasing the product and share the experience with their friends such as social networking or word of mouth.

Event Marketing Examples

Event marketing happens more than people may think. For example, the T-Mobil @Home Freedomfest marketed in New York City, Denver and Chicago was an unexpected event in a location that had heavy traffic, where consumers enjoyed in live entertainment, free food and games. Some attendees dressed as Uncle Sam and participated in obstacles to win prizes. Another type of event marketing involved Ray Ban sunglasses and transporting celebrity and VIPs during the Sundance event. Riders in the shuttle played truth-or-dare and received a pair of sunglasses.

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