There were two main local sponsors at last week’s Ignite Seattle 5 event at the Capitol Hill Arts Center.
The first was Ontela, a local mobile-imaging startup. A really nice representative named Janette Fong got there early and was handing out drink tickets with the Ontela logo on them. I’d never heard of Ontela, but they have what looks to be a great product in a good niche, with high-powered backing. Strangely enough, they don’t have a consumer product, which makes me wonder why they sponsored something like Ignite — I can’t just jump on their website and try something out. My carrier (AT&T) has to roll out a product on Ontela’s platform, and even then it might be invisible to me in terms of branding. Maybe they just want to support the local startup scene, which is cool.
The second was Biznik, which I first ran into a few months ago. Their tagline is “Business Networking That Doesn’t Suck”, and the Ignite crowd seemed tailor-made for their pitch. But there wasn’t one (a pitch, I mean). I didn’t see any Biznikers hanging around out front, and it wasn’t until the end of Ignite when Brady put up the slide thanking the sponsors that I even realized that Biznik was there.
Now, there was a huge crowd, and much like startups in China, the Biznik rep only needed to reach 1% of the crowd to have a good ROI. But the whole thing got me to wondering about sponsorships — strategically (in Ontela’s example), as well as tactically (in Biznik’s example).
Promoting the sponsorship on the web would seem to be natural, but none of the three organizations mentioned say anything about the sponsorships on their websites. In the case of Ignite, that’s probably unacceptable to not throw a shout out to sponsors somewhere. They have references to both Ontela and Biznik, but they’re buried and the posts were in reference to Ignite 2 or 3 or something back in August 2007.
For Ontela and Biznik, not mentioning the event probably speaks to a strategic gap in their marketing. They could use a 360° scorecard or something 🙂
What do you think? Are strategy and tactics both essential for making the most out of local tech event sponsorships? Is one more important than the other?