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Case study

Governor's Summits are high margin events

How MediaOne of Utah partners with the state for economic, energy and health summits

Alisa Cromer
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Sold out conferences high margins on huge revenues. Try this at home?
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Market: Salt Lake City, Utah
Media: MediaOne of Utah, including Deseret News and Utah Business

Initiative: Governor's summits

Key executives: Dan Hartman, VP of event business development; Brent Low, President and CEO Deseret News, The Salt Lake Tribune JOA

Summary: Governor's summits, co-sponsored by the governor's office are also referred to by MediaOne of Utah as "capital city events." These are high end, day long conferences that may only have a few hundred attendees with sponsorships averaging $10,000 and up. LMI estimates these events are one of the simplest and highest margin to produce.

Background: When MediaOne approached the Governors office about helping produce their economic summit, it was only attracting about 35 attendees.

MediaOne felt they could beef up speakers, promotions and sponsorships. The event now boasts 1,500 attendees, a sold out crowd for it's latest, April 13, 2014 event. Here's how the Utah Govenor's Economic Summit was put together:

Format: The content for the event is supplied aby the Governor's office. The first event opened with an address by the Director of Economic Development and the Chief Economist for the Chamber of Commerce, followed by Key Note speaker Clay Christiansen, Harvard professor and author of Innovators Dilemma.

Next, attendees could choose between break-out sessions on "Bottom Line Economics," featuring a top executive of Mariott Resorts or "Operation Impact: Leading from the Heart," lessons from an aerospace executive.

The Governor is the key note speaker for the luncheon.

In the afternoon another break-out session allows choices between other key topics: Air Quality; The National Ability Center: It's talent that matters, Smarten up your investment in business talent or Utah's booming IT sector.

Business strategy:  While the top names are supplied by the Governor's staff,  with help from the media partner, the media company sells sponsorships and tickets, and keeps the profits fro the event.

Sponsorships range from $2,500 to $30,000 (see the attached sponsorship package for the full-court press). Top sponsors included a bank, aeronautics company, and healthcare company, who received better tables for lunch, seats with names and logos at the podium, a chance to introduce speakers and a full page in the newspaper.

Each lower level of sponsorship reduces the "shoulder rubbing" exposure day of the event, and incorporated less signage and advertising.

Sponsor's package includes a check-list chart of add-ons for another $5000, $10,000, or $20,000:


Adding up the sponsorships, LocalMediaInsider estimates the group sold about $150,000 in sponsorship revenues. A nifty profit considering the ticket price pays for lunch.

“The governor gets a place to say how wonderful he or she is, and produce the content," Hartman said.

Today, the group has added on two more conferences, the Governor’s Energy Summit and the Governor’s Health Summit.

Thanks to Dan Hartman and Brent Low of Deseret News/Salt Lake Tribune JOA for sharing their expertise. The events staff is available to partner with other media on events, see their listing in MediaExecsTech for details and contact information.

See also more Deseret Events:  Business recognition events at Utah Business See more events in the events channel here.

Brent Low

Brent Low, President/CEO, MediaOne Utah

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