Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Law Firm Marketers: Watch the Details on Sponsored Events

The pace of sponsored events is always daunting and it is easy to just let X or Y association event committee handle the details and only pay attention to the specific sponsorship benefits you've been promised. But not paying attention to how the event is organized and managed may reflect poorly on your brand if the activity is a flop. Consider taking the time to look at these additional details:
  • What is the makeup of the event organizing committee? Are there too many people on the committee with personal agenda's? Are there just too many people on the committee? Turmoil within the organizing committee always signals a bad result. With too many people pushing for their own agenda who will stand up for the event?
  • Look for realistic expectations within the agenda and budget. Do they anticipate how difficult it is to secure sponsors? Can they point at any statistics to support their attendee projections? Can committee members "wear the attendees shoes" and understand how to keep the experience out of the "pain" zone?
  • Are there too many people with the same skill-set on the committee. Too many left or right brain types will only focus on what they know well. If you have a committee filled with "numbers" people they will overlook entertainment value and marketing. Too many marketing types and cost or logistical details will be taken for granted. Try for a committee with an equal and thorough balance of talent so that no discipline takes a "power" seat.
  • Listen for whom the committee is trying to please. If the committee says, "we" (us), more than they say, "them" (attendees), the committee may be too interested in their goals than the goals of their attendees. I have always found that a singular focus on the attendee experience produces all the results I need for my firm.
  • Pay attention to "back-door" politics. Some committee members may try to sway an event to their vision by leveraging opinions outside of the committee meetings. Often people volunteer for committees simply because they're control, position, and power oriented. While useful in some situations these sorts of people could be deadly to the quality of an event.
Finally, it is important to know when to walk away. When all of the danger signals are going off left and right the worst thing you can do is stick it out while saying to yourself, "I won't sponsor this event again." The time to stop is now! Walking away is not easy, but if you are going to be the champion of your brand then you must make decisions like a champion.