Not meeting conference revenue goals is a scenario that stands firm for almost every professional association across the globe.
Whether due to missing delegate attendance targets or falling short on sponsorship projections, associations may often operate at a loss for at least a brief period of time. To ease a painful subject, revenue losses are a matter of when, not a matter of if.
Coming to terms with experiencing conference revenue shortfalls at some stage of the association life cycle is the stepping stone to recovery. Be it an unavoidable phase, there are ways to mitigate lost income and contain the impact of these shortfalls.
Trimming conference costs, such as food & beverages, staff and marketing campaigns is often a standard practice, but the ‘permanent’ solution for true recovery goes beyond that.
Take a good, hard look at your invoicing cycle
Unoptimised internal processes can also cause significant conference revenue loss. One indicative example of such detrimental processes is having long processing billing cycles, which can lead to human errors, delays in invoicing or even debt.
While revenue shortfalls can be very challenging, it is important to make sure that you can do everything in your power to mitigate losses by quickening the billing cycle.
Take a better, harder look at the type of value you bring to sponsors
Sponsors are willing to invest money on assets that will improve their business by maximising exposure to their target audience. As long as you can make sure your conference will provide a return on their investment, the only barrier you are potentially facing is their budget.
Logo placements, complimentary passes and speaking opportunities are a few of the most common assets to offer. But, if the sponsorship revenue numbers plummet, it might be time to rethink whether those assets fit your sponsors’ target audience.
Taking more time to identify the buyer personas of your sponsors’ target market allows you to identify more valuable assets to offer and hence the risk of a potential conference revenue shortfall is lesser.
Maximising sponsorship revenue eventually comes down to finding the sweet spot between the actual cost of each asset and the perceived value of it. Giving them a list of assets to choose from, allows for greater personalization and hence, bigger sponsorship deals and long-lasting relationships.
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