As a partner, there are few activities more valuable than getting involved in the community. But what kinds of events can you participate in that aren’t directly hosted by Microsoft itself? And what are the direct benefits to your business?
In this episode of P2PNow, we answer all these questions and more. From SharePoint Saturdays to Microsoft 365 Community Days, we break down how to get involved and the different opportunities that exist when participating with the community. Watch the session below or read on for a full transcript!
Christian: Today’s topic is one that is near and dear to my heart — focusing on how partners participate in Microsoft community events.
Sam: Are you talking about regional events hosted by Microsoft or by other partners?
Christian: No, I’m separating the larger marquee events like Build or Ignite with those smaller events that are typically hosted by user groups and other members of the community.
Over the last decade, I have helped organize and host dozens of events, such as SharePoint Saturdays, Microsoft 365 Community Days, and various Azure and Blockchain events.
Almost all of these efforts came from the community. Microsoft and other partners may have helped sponsor and fund the events, but the community made them happen.
Sam: As far as partner participation, isn’t it similar to sponsoring a Microsoft event? For example, there’s a formal call for sponsors, with a brochure of some kind outlining various marketing and promotional opportunities.
Christian: Sometime, yes. For many of my events, we tried to have sponsorship materials clearly outlined. But where community events differ with the marquee events is in their flexibility.
There’s usually more room for you to get creative, and work with the organizers to shape a sponsorship into something that might better fit with your marketing goals and campaign activities.
Sam: Well, that’s interesting. So when you sign up to sponsor a regional event, let’s say a Microsoft 365 Community Day event in Dallas, Texas.
You can sign up for a booth, which may be outlined in the sponsorship packet. But what else can you do?
Christian: First, I would talk with the organizers about other sponsorship opportunities, such as hosting the speaker dinner, or sponsoring speaker t-shirts. Second, I would be transparent about any of your marketing campaign alignment goals. For example, if we were releasing a new product or launching a new service, I might ask about speaking during lunch in a sponsor session.
Or funding an additional email blast to their targeted list. With the event scheduled on Saturday, I might even consider renting out meeting space nearby on the day before, and offering a half day technical training or executive luncheon, piggy backing off of the event to promote a side event.
Sam: That’s a great idea. The event team is already doing a ton of marketing around the event, which you can leverage to create a focused event the day prior, or the day following.
Christian: One other suggestion — to join forces with any partners who may also be attending. For example, at AvePoint we always try to be aware of other partners participating in an event so that we could find interesting joint marketing opps.
Sam: I love that. Share the cost, and also potentially share in the leads.
Christian: Exactly. To recap, the goal is to look beyond the defined sponsorship opportunities, and do something that helps you rise above the noise of the crowd.
Sam: Excellent advice. And as always, it begins by joining the AvePoint partner program, and then working with your partner manager to build out your success plan.
If you have not already done so, be sure to join AvePoint’s Partner Program by going to www.avepoint.com/partners.