We conducted an official survey of 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference sponsors and had 16 responses. We are publicizing the results here because the WBC is not a behind-the-scenes effort but one created for wine bloggers.
In looking at the results, keep in mind a few things. First, these sponsors did not include wineries who participated in the Saturday morning wine country excursions. That event was coordinated by the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance directly and we did not even know which wineries were participating. Second, in dealing with sponsors, we are always trying to balance two things: giving them enough exposure and access to make them happy and not giving them so much that it overwhelms the conference. Remember our number one focus is blogger satisfaction. Third, sponsors have to take some responsibility for their own success. We provide a Sponsor Packet to all sponsors but know not all sponsors even read this.
We asked the question “How do you perceive the value of your sponsorship package?” Of the 16 respondents, 12 answered “fair value – my money’s worth”, two thought it was “excellent value – more than my money’s worth”, and two responded “not good value – less than my money’s worth”. Gauging satisfaction in another way, we asked “Knowing what you know now, would you have signed up to sponsor the 2010 WBC?” 14 replied “yes” and two (likely the same two) replied no.
We also asked a number of other questions, including:
- What was important to you in your sponsorship package? Two biggest answers: 14 responded “pouring wine for attendees” while 15 responded “conversing with attendees”.
- Why did you sponsor the conference? 14 responded “I am hoping to connect with bloggers who will remember my product or company name for possible future posts”, four responded “I mostly want to support wine bloggers because it is good for our industry”, and no one replied “I was hoping for immediate online exposure from attending bloggers”.
- Would you be interested to sponsor the 2011 conference in Charlottesville? Out of eight replies, six people said yes and two said no because of the distance from their winery.
We also received 10 suggestions for how we can improve the sponsors’ experiences. (Well, nine. One person wrote “Keep up the Live Wine Blogging!”
In summary, we organizers of the Wine Bloggers Conference are very satisfied. Our sponsors are, for the most part, happy. They do not think they are getting a steal for their money and we’re glad for that. They do think they are getting fair value and they clearly understand their role is to communicate with bloggers and get to know them, a process that will pay long-term (not always immediate) benefits.
Our tip to bloggers? Remember the sponsors at each conference you attended. Write about their wines if you come across them at a later time. Contact the wineries and other companies, tell them who you are, and ask questions! The sponsors will love you for it.