One way to drive sales, spread brand awareness, differentiate your organization from competitors, and enhance your company’s image is by sponsoring trade shows. But sponsorship comes at a price—and usually a pretty hefty one, too. That’s why it’s so important to assess which sponsorship opportunities provide the biggest bang for your buck and fit best with your company’s goals and objectives.
Although determining a precise return on investment (ROI) from event sponsorship may prove difficult, there are numerous ways to gauge success and maximize efforts. Here’s how:
- Determine objectives: Create goals in advance so you have a benchmark for success. For example, are you sponsoring to generate leads? Or, maybe you’re hoping to see how many attendees gained a favourable impression of your company or brand as a result of the sponsorship. A survey sent post-show can help determine not only how many people saw your brand, but their lasting impression. You can encourage attendees to contribute to your research by entering them into prize draws for participation—power banks or Bluetooth® speakers make nice incentives.
- Negotiate: If there’s something missing from your sponsorship benefits, you may wish to negotiate. Let the show’s promoter know you’re interested but not sold on the terms. Discuss your needs and wants while being considerate of the event organizer—and perhaps even offer to give something back, such as a giveaway or grab bag, to trade show attendees.
- Be choosy: Even if you have the budget, it’s probably best not to sponsor every event. Doing so can dilute your brand. Rather, choose one or two events annually that closely match your company’s goals, objectives and image.
- Don’t delay: If you’re looking for a premier spot, don’t delay. Sponsorship opportunities can be highly competitive and not heavily promoted, but rather offered quietly to likely partners. Secure your spot as soon as you know which opportunities you feel are an excellent fit.
- Promote, promote, promote: Sponsorships are a significant resource commitment. Make sure you take full advantage of every marketing channel and promote your involvement frequently. Let your target audiences know about the upcoming show and any special perks available to them as your customers. Send out email blasts, mail invitations and post to social media. Encourage friends and followers to spread the news, too, by offering prizes for those who engage with and share your post on their pages. Giveaways, like cleaning cloths and smart-phone wallets, are both well-liked and easy to mail.
Remember, trade-show sponsorships provide the opportunity to drive sales, spread brand awareness, stand out from competitors and enhance your company’s image. Getting the most value out of this opportunity is up to you.