The Congress: “And now a word from our sponsors”

How to create a winning sponsorship proposal.

Every event involves a variety of actors that have to interact with each other in order to guarantee its success: the client, the sponsor, the event planner and the suppliers.

The sponsor could be a person, an institution or company that is supporting the event. Alternatively, as in the following examples, it might be its main actor. In these examples, the main actor is a pharmaceutical company:

  • Advisory Board: Pharmaceutical companies invite a dozen specialists from the clinical pathology or research area being considered, as a new medicinal product is about to be launched on the market.
  • Investigator Meeting: Pharmaceutical companies periodically need to bring together specialists who carry out research on new drugs and new applications.
  • Kick–Off: Meetings for the launch of new products or services. These meetings involve the transfer of not only technological but also psychological and emotional competence.

What a conference can do for the industry

A congress has a different structure from the events mentioned above. Over three or four days there are several sessions or symposia: lunch symposia, poster sessions, a welcome reception, a presidential dinner, etc. The keys to success for this kind of congress are the scientific program and sponsorship.
As you can imagine, a congress involves high costs and funding remains one of the major challenges when organizing annual conferences or similar events. A congress will derive its income principally from registration fees, in addition to sponsors and exhibitors.

The marketing activities and strategies developed by the event planner are therefore crucial to guaranteeing the event’s success and the satisfaction of all its stakeholders, and the involvement of sponsors and exhibitors is a key element in the success of most meetings.
The first step is to have a strategic approach and to negotiate exhibition and sponsorship packages with new and fresh ideas for stakeholders, in order to help them achieve their marketing objectives and goals.

A congress is the best way of saying, “And now a word from our sponsors”. In other words, the congress is a place where the sponsor will enjoy exclusive, customized treatment, and from their point of view, the event constitutes a place where they can:

  • Increase their brand visibility (and an ideal venue to launch products)
  • Broaden their network(s)
  • Influence the audience during their sessions
  • Disseminate the results/data from research they have conducted

The Sponsorship brochure

With this in mind, one useful toolkit to get hold of is a comprehensive Congress Exhibition and Sponsorship brochure, which includes the following information:

A clear description of the sponsors benefits. The list of items required for sponsorship (e.g. conference app, presidential dinner, welcome reception, coffee/tea breaks, delegate bags, lanyards, exhibition spaces, etc.). Make sure you are careful to maintain, in relation to any commercial involvement, the credibility of academic/scientific program content and avoid any conflict of interest with commercial partners (Compliance and Pharma Codex).

Meanwhile, during negotiations with sponsors you will need to manage and organize the other aspects of the congress, as follows:

Venue

Organize all physical aspects relating to the congress (halls, exhibition area, AV service, IT service, etc) and check if the venue has an exclusivity agreement with AV, catering or building supplier.O

Suppliers

Negotiate terms and conditions with sub-contractors such as booth set-up, lighting and electrical services, waste removal and cleaning services, and shell scheme providers.

Catering

Negotiate terms and conditions with the catering company.

After you have completed the majority of contractual negotiations with sponsors, you will have to prepare and send sponsors and exhibitors the Exhibitors and Sponsor Manual. This manual will act as a bible for them, guiding them through the following steps before the congress, including:

  • Shipping information
  • Deadlines
  • Compliance and order forms
  • Booth configuration
  • The venue’s internal regulations
  • Build up and dismantling rules
  • Rules around loading and unloading
  • Exhibition and congress secretariat opening hours
  • Other services.

Congress exhibition and sponsorship are vital to raise funds for your upcoming congress. Follow the information mentioned above, develop effective strategies, and revitalize the existing ones in order to guarantee your congress success.

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