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The 7 Dirty Secrets of Why Event Sponsorships Fail 

Jun 28,2019

So, you’ve signed up to be an event sponsor…Great!! All you need to do now is show up and the prospects and money will just roll in…right?

WRONG!! A big mistake many business owners make when they sponsor a booth at an event is a lack of engagement. They write a check, turn over their logo, throw up a booth, show up with a banner and then they check out…waiting (and hoping) for the people and money to flow.

The problem, however, is that it doesn’t work like that in the real world. Of course, the hard part of getting people to the event has been solved for them…but now they must go a step further, drawing them in…and keeping them engaged at their booth. 

Here are the 7 Dirty Secrets of Why Event Sponsorships Fail…and how to correct them to make YOUR event sponsorship a success! 

  1. Buying a Sponsorship Off a Menu

When you are looking for a sponsorship opportunity at an event, you will most likely find a standardized price-set or menu for you to choose from. This is usually in the form of something like a bronze, silver, or gold package. Each menu item grows progressively larger in price with added benefits for each level. 

When you commit your business to be an event sponsor, it is an important investment for you and your company, and it is something that should come with a little TLC from the event host, not a one size fits all menu. 

If you simply pay for a preset package with limited options that most organizers offer, it probably won’t bring you the desired sponsorship results. So, when you are looking for an event to spend your hard-earned sponsorship dollars on, be sure to communicate with the event host about YOUR needs, not their packages. Make sure the host is willing to tailor a proposal and package that fits your specific needs and expectations, that way you can maximize your investment to help you meet your ROI objectives. 

  1. Limited Communication with the Event Host

Limited or no communication with the organizers of the event is another way to fail when sponsoring a booth at an event. 

When you are preparing for an event sponsorship opportunity, it is important to know what support and communication from the event host will consist of. If you don’t know how that is supposed to look, then ASK! 

You need to be prepared to answer questions such as: 

  • Is there an on-site tent, booth or event hub with employees that will be able to help you if issues arise on the days of the event? 
  • Were you provided with phone numbers to pertinent event staff if you have questions? 
  • Do you have an event staff team member specifically assigned to you for questions and concerns? 
  • What can you expect as a realistic timeframe for help, if, and when, a question or a problem arises?

When you work with an organizer of an event, it is important to ensure that you are getting the best bang for your buck, and you are getting top-level service and support that will help you have a successful event. It’s an inconvenience to have issues pop up while you are setting up or in the middle of an event, so make sure you have a way to get in touch with someone who can assist you! 

If you don’t have a number, be proactive and ask for it. If you don’t get contact info, you only have yourself to blame when those issues arise. 

  1. Not Having a Strategy

Most event sponsors feel that if they invest money for a booth at an event, then show up, it will immediately increase their traffic, make their brand more recognizable, boost their customer base, and will jump their sales to that next level. However, while this is a great goal, the reality is usually very different.

Event sponsorship is a marathon, it isn’t a sprint. It opens the doors for your future sales, and it is usually not an immediate boost in ROI. Remember, it’s a great starting point for you to develop those long-term relationships and where you to build consumer trust and brand awareness. 

This is where having a strategy comes in. It’s important for you to evaluate the objectives you hope to accomplish, and how your investment will lead you to accomplish that ROI goal. 

You need to identify the message you are going to deliver, and which of the available channels of communication you will utilize in order to win the attention of your target audience. Remember, effective communication paired with a can’t miss offer, and finally wrapped in a nice handout will not only give you the market presence you are hoping for, but it will open the channels of your sales pipeline for future deals. 

  1. No Plan for Your Booth Layout

This seems like a no brainer, but if you fail to plan the design and layout of your booth, you are just shooting in the dark. 

A big part of making your event successful is how attendees see your booth. By not focusing on your booth and making sure that the layout is exciting, engaging, and professional, you are telling attendees that you aren’t a “grown-up” company, and therefore probably not worth their time. 

Because we host many events a year, we have seen it all, and a sponsor booth that doesn’t “POP” can drive event participants to another vendor’s booth instead of seeing what you have to offer. 

Therefore, it is imperative to dedicate effort and focus in the ascetics and layout of your booth! 

You can find many companies across the nation that are willing to help you customize and design your booth if you are willing to pay for it. 

However, you can simply do the same yourself. By properly experiencing your own space before the event, planning for the space, and at the very least have banners or posters – you MUST have visuals – you will be able to capture the attention of the participants. 

We recommend that you bring things such as backdrops, banners, posters, branded tablecloths, and audio and visual aids, such as televisions, computer monitors, and sound equipment in order to ensure you don’t walk the path of sponsorship failure. 

  1. No Employee Plan for Presentation

So now your booth is laid out to perfection, and it’s time to focus on your team. Specifically, you must focus your team’s training on areas such as:  how to run the booth, how well they understand your product, how their appearance looks, and most importantly, how they interact with customers. 

It is imperative for you to ensure that your event booth team has a solid understanding of your expectations regarding their performance, which will minimize your chance of failing as a sponsor.  

Here are a few things we recommend. Professional dress, or at the very least in a manner consistent with the event…a suit and tie probably isn’t ideal at a surfing event. They need to leave their phones on silent, and preferably keep them out of sight. There also should be a No Smoking / E-Cig / Vaping would think this is a no brainer...however, this is becoming more and more of an issue with the widespread use of E-Cigarettes and Vaping Modules. 

In addition to dressing properly, no smoking or vaping, and not being on their phones the entire time, your booth staff needs to know how to talk to people. 

No one wants to show up to your booth and be ignored by someone who is too busy with their social media apps, getting their nicotine fix, or worst of all, by someone who has no idea what they are talking about or what they are doing. 

If you want to ensure your success, make sure your staff is presentable and are educated and knowledgeable about what they are offering your prospective customers. 

  1. Lack of Product Offering 

Ok, you’ve purchased your booth space, you have your layout planned to perfection, and your employees look and sound amazing! 

You have no way to fail, right?

Wrong. If you don’t show up with a “knock their socks off” offer, you are setting yourself up for failure! 

Having an aesthetically pleasing booth and well-trained employees is what draws people to you, that’s what starts the conversation. However, it’s what you are offering attendees – the no-brainer opportunity – that keeps them there, and gets them to convert, and even commit, right there at the event. 

The question you need to ask yourself and your sales team is: “What type of offer can you create at your booth to make it an absolute no-brainer for the attendees?

One of the most successful offers at a booth we have seen is a free Website Crawl, which is basically a free website SEO critique.

This type of “knock your socks off” offer is so valuable that the sponsor was able to get attendees to register immediately at the event for their time slot. It was a no-brainer! 

SO…What type of offer can you promote that would have attendees signing up as soon as they arrive at your booth?

Remember though…make sure your event promoter is ok with whatever your product or service offer is!

  1. No Handouts

You would think that having SOMETHING to hand out would be a no brainer, however, this is often an area that is overlooked. 

Not having memorable merch is one of the most common reasons a sponsorship falls short of expectations. 

Think about it, how effective would your sponsorship be if you had several hundred people wearing your logo, using your branded pen, or drinking out of your branded coffee cup, still months after your event? What would that mean for your future conversations and relevancy? 

Even though you might not see an immediate return, handing out merch is a fantastic way to stay in the mind of a potential client. It makes it easier when you do those follow-up calls, because your brand is already at the front of their subconscious. 

Over the years, we have seen loads of merch and swag that has been handed out at our events; everything from water bottles, to lanyards, to pens, to branded charging blocks…each of these items are useful, and fairly inexpensive, and they do the trick of keeping the company in the subconscious thoughts of attendees. Curing Kids Cancer, for example, handed out branded, pre-charged charging blocks at Mecum Auto Auction in Kissimmee, Florida and it was a lifesaver at the event! Not to mention its one of the pieces of merch that we still use today.


Event sponsorship is a great way to boost your company’s revenue. It draws the visibility of your marketing and sales teams need and is a great way to increase consumer awareness. If you have a great product offering, have trained event staff, have a great layout and a presentation strategy, have set up lines of communication with the event host, have selected a sponsorship plan that meets your needs, and have killer merch to give out, you are well on your way to guaranteeing higher audience engagement and bringing a positive result for your business over the long haul. You’ve invested the money, time, and effort, now make sure you don’t get caught by the 7 Dirty Secrets of Why Event Sponsorships fail! Be prepared, follow the plan, and you will see the ROI that will make your sponsorship worth every penny! 

By the way…

The Great Inflatable Race is always looking for amazing people to work with. Establishing a real connection with the communities we interact with is incredibly important to us. If you are an amazing company who believes networking is highly important and if you want to go the extra mile and collaborate with an equally amazing team, we would love to partner with you!

Want to be a part of our next event? Maybe even become a national sponsor? WE WANT YOU. Our Partnerships and Sales team are eager to hear from you!

Head to our sponsorship page on our website at to learn more information or send us a message at and our team will get back to you soon.


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