For December, we've decided to combine our primary monthly article with our typical rundown of Forward View news as we focus on event sponsorship. On November 9th, Forward View was pleased to co-sponsor World Usability Day New England (WUDNE) at the University of Connecticut. WUDNE was the regional World Usability Day event for the northeastern U.S., but World Usability Day represents a global movement. According to the World Usability Day organization,
On the second Thursday of November, organizers create a single day of events occurring around the world that brings together communities of professional, industrial, educational, citizen, and government groups for our common objective: to ensure that the services and products important to life are easier to access and simpler to use. It is about celebration and education – celebrating the strides we have made in creating usable products and educating the masses about how usability impacts our daily lives. It is about making our world work better. It is about reaching out to the common citizen and spreading the message: We don’t have to put up with products and services that don’t work well and that human error is a misnomer.
This year's World Usability Day theme was Inclusion through User Experience and centered on technology designed to benefit people with disabilities.
This was our first experience with event sponsorship, but it couldn't have been more successful. When approached by a client, Assistive Technology for Education, about supporting WUDNE, we immediately agreed. Forward View has completed numerous projects for assistive technology firms, and we understand the importance of accessible website design. Thus, WUDNE fit our niche very well. Not surprisingly, our first contribution was to develop the WUDNE website. That website was developed in about 48 hours, representing our fastest turnaround time for a project of similar complexity. Forward View also managed the site's e-commerce system, assisted with social media accounts, and reviewed the event's financial situation. We provided regular financial updates to organizers before analyzing total income received through the website, too. In short, Forward View utilized the full breadth of our expertise to support WUDNE.
Forward View highly recommends event sponsorship for small businesses because, as we often say, traditional advertising is increasingly ineffectual. HubSpot states that Americans are inundated with around 5,000 marketing messages each day. (A small business ad will almost never be as effective as an ad produced by a giant corporation, so don't fool yourself: Your advertising message is highly unlikely to be remembered when 4,999 others are forgotten. We do, however, create digital marketing strategies that focus on innovative delivery platforms.) Small businesses need to cut through the clutter and reach potential customers in fresh and authentic ways. Event sponsorship, if managed properly, can raise awareness of your company while generating positive press. Let's review a few keys to successful sponsorship:
Choose an event carefully. If you own a gym, you probably don't want to sponsor a pie-eating competition. Ironic sponsorships might seem clever initially, but tread very carefully. Becoming a local joke will kill your brand. Instead, only sponsor a relevant event that you passionately support. We also discourage sponsoring anything political unless you know your customers won't mind... or you're a glutton for punishment.
Focus on supporting the event, not bragging about sponsorship. This is where authenticity is critical. If you're viewed as giving token support for a PR stunt, you would be better off not sponsoring anything. Ensure that you'll be able to fulfill your complete commitment and don't brag about your undoubtedly generous contributions.
Recognize that sponsorship is a soft-sell type of marketing. We view sponsorship opportunities as the real-life equivalents of organic and content marketing. You don't want to be viewed as trying to twist sponsorship into a pushy sales effort. To be honest, our sponsorship of WUDNE has led to $0 of revenue thus far, and that's okay! We have a higher purpose than maximum profitability.
In summary, we were proud to support WUDNE, and we thank Diana Petschauer for the opportunity to sponsor a phenomenal event. Diana and the University of Connecticut team (pictured above) deserve all of the credit for the success of WUDNE. They're the rockstars we're blessed to know, and we look forward to sponsoring the next WUDNE event!
We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy Hanukkah!