Your Attendee Avatar

In Module 2 of the course Strategic Sponsorships in 60 Days, I strongly encouraged you to conduct personal interviews, send a survey, or do a focus group and ask your attendees demographic and psychographic questions. The kind of questions that will help you understand your attendees better …. like where they shop, socialize, and even what kinds of cars they drive. Then you can look for companies who are trying to solve their problems and/or make their lives better.

When you heard that assignment, did the hair stand up on the back of your neck? Were you wondering how you could possibly ask your attendees sensitive questions without making them uncomfortable, or worse yet, offending them?

I completely understand your worries. It can be difficult to ask personal questions because people are naturally uncomfortable giving out sensitive information, especially to an organization or person that they do not know very well! But what if I told you it IS possible to ask sensitive questions in a way that is comfortable and effective?

Hard to believe? Well, I’m going to share exactly how to do this so you can get new sponsors and more value from your existing ones!

Let’s back up for just a minute and talk about why understanding your event attendees is KEY to your sponsorship success.

Why is this so important?

Companies are using sponsorships to connect with their target market. If you can demonstrate that your attendees match their target market, then the opportunity to engage and build relationships with your attendees will be highly valuable to them.

Companies understand they can’t be all things to all people, so they have a niche and a marketing plan outlining how they will reach their target market. Some companies do this extraordinarily well and actually have a customer profile called an avatar. As a sponsorship seeker, having an event attendee avatar will open up a whole new world of potential sponsors for your event.

Just so we’re all on the same page, let’s get some definitions out of the way.

An Event Attendee Avatar (EAA) represents your ideal event attendee. This ONE single person loves your organization and the work you do, and also, they are the potential customer who wants and needs your sponsor’s product or services. Why is this only one person? Because it helps you become laser-focused on what your event attendee needs and wants.

Demographics -  Knowing the demographics of your attendees, such as their average age, race, male or female, where they live, employment status, and so forth, is important.

  • Do your attendees own a home? That’s important to know if you’re looking for a sponsor in the insurance industry.

  • Do they have children? That’s key if you’re going to approach a toy company.

  • Are they health conscious? The answer to that simple question can be the basis for approaching a sponsor in the health food industry.

Psychographics - You also need to know the psychographics of your attendees, such as information about their lifestyle and internal motivations.

  • What values do they hold?

  • What attitudes do they have?

  • What are their interests?

  • What’s their lifestyle? (you know, like how do they spend their money? What are their dining habits? What brands do they buy?)

  • What are their biggest pains and frustrations?

  • What keeps them up at night?

When you know your event attendee really well, then you can seek out companies that are meeting their needs, trying to solve their problems and making their lives better.

It all starts with mindset

Do you believe you would be asking nosey questions and positioning it as a favor? Or could you be inviting them to participate in a process that will help you serve them and your organization more effectively?

Here’s the thing … creating a very specific avatar on your event attendees will dramatically improve your sponsorship results.

Be clear about your purpose

What is your ultimate objective? Why is this important? How will it benefit them? Perhaps your survey would be for these purposes:

  • To increase attendance at your annual event

  • To attract like-minded individuals who will become loyal donors. (The more we know about them and what they think about our organization, the better we’ll understand what it takes to gain the attention of others like them!)

  • To create a more engaging event experience for them

  • To attract appropriate sponsors who will invest in your event

  • To make smarter decisions about how you communicate and interact with your donors and create content that really resonates with them

  • To tell more effective stories about your work in annual reports, speeches and appeals

  • To make better decisions about your strategic direction

Ultimately, their feedback will help you understand them better and therefore serve them better!

What’s in it for them?

Think about the advantages of participating in a survey or a focus group. Here are just a few:

  • They get to be an “insider.” People usually like being heard, and interviewing them gives them a chance to tell you about their world, their challenges, and what they think about your organization and your event.

  • Their feedback will make a meaningful difference. When you reach out to them, be clear that your goal is to get their feedback and that it’s highly valued by your team.

  • Being asked for advice will make them feel special. As you involve them in interviews like this, they become even more loyal to your organization.  

The end result

If you can demonstrate that your event attendees match their target market AND you will provide custom benefits to help them connect and engage with your attendees, companies will commit to sponsorships in a big way.