How Industry Partnerships Are Driving Our Growth

Originally appeared in the January issue of ERA.

Immersed in a fast-changing marketing environment we are accustomed to finding creative ways to reach our target audiences. We always strive to balance creative strategy with ROI to ensure our investments are aligned with our business goals. It is this method of thinking that appeals to our clients—and the reason why many remain long-term partners. We regularly ask ourselves, are we doing enough to stay engaged, relevant, and competitive?

We realized quickly we needed to do more than pay lip service to our industry relationship. As a result, we have seen firsthand how getting directly involved in industry events like D2C and The Great Ideas Summit has impacted business year after year. It is why we keep coming back and doing more, but there is much more to its benefits than that.

Building Credibility & Reaffirming It?
Our business-to-business environment brings few opportunities to engage our audience outside client meetings. Because of this, we've made it a priority to get involved and remain actively engaged in the DR community. Visibility in our core peer group is tremendously important; sponsoring ERA events demonstrates a level of trust and investment we have in the long-term growth of direct response as a vital and evolving industry. It informs and educates us in ways that further our knowledge and help expand our reach.

Brand Awareness & Recognition
While achieving prominent logo and brand placement is a valuable benefit to event sponsorships, it also ensures we have a seat at the table when industry leaders are sharing valuable insight. We leverage this exposure to deepen our relationships with peers and connect with future partners.

Paving the Way for New Partnerships
Networking takes place online as much as it does offline, but the two work best when paired together. Social dialogue is a solid networking tool and participating in the conversation as a sponsor can result in taking one offline with a potential new client or partner you may have otherwise not met. People seem more comfortable to approach you as a sponsor, as well. At D2C and The Great Ideas Summit, we often get approached with, "Hey! You're the guys on the lanyards!"—a simple, yet effective, ice breaker and valuable opportunity for brand positioning.

Giving Back to a Vital Community
When looking at the larger umbrella of marketing, direct response is a community of its own. For this reason, it is important for us to put resources back into the industry as much as we draw from them. What's more, being provided additional badges with sponsorship motivates us to extend the invitation to junior staff and others to experience events like The Great Ideas Summit first-hand, continuing our efforts to attract a new generation of direct response thought leaders.

Access to Information
Sponsors are given access to mailing lists, distribution channels, and media opportunities to use as a business resource. The most critical information you'll receive, however, is the list of attendees. Used wisely, you can plan pre-event outreach and engagement, ensuring your time is well spent on-site. Further, sponsorship can lead to opportunities outside the event itself, like being invited to sit on a committee. Committee participation gives year-round access to what's going on in direct response and first look at the most anticipated shows in our industry. What's more, it puts you in settings where you can connect on a higher level with other marketers, vendors, and peers.

- Anat Freed, Media Director, Kingstar Media