Posted by Mallory Green on April 22nd, 2014
Event sponsorship and trade show appearances require companies to use a portion of their marketing budget. In many cases, it is hard for marketing managers to justify that spending any amount of money to attend and sponsor events is worth it. But, with the right strategies in place, event sponsorships can be beneficial to any brand.
A few important factors to consider when deciding which event/trade show you should attend or sponsor:
- Define your target audience. This group can be more than just the types of people you are currently selling to. It could be a target segment you should be engaging with or even a segment with whom you want to better communicate.
- Think about the objectives you are setting out to accomplish. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Are you looking to engage with customers face-to-face to speak about a product? Are you looking to gain credibility through a large-scale knowledge transfer such as a seminar?
- Find events that have the same goals as you and bring in the right audience for your brand.
- Research the event thoroughly. Are you a small fish in a big pond – meaning, are there several brands in attendance that provide the same product and service as you do? On the flipside, are you the only brand at an event that offers a particular product or service? Does this mean you either won’t be noticed or you’re not actually surrounded with potential clients? Will attending or not attending an event cost more than it’s worth, or more importantly, will it have a negative impact on your brand?
- There are a variety of ways your brand can be represented at trade shows, which allows you to be as flexible with your budget as you want to be. The most utilized options are:
- Sponsoring an event can provide your brand with a lot of exposure and there are usually multiple levels of sponsorship. This is a chance for your logo to be placed on-site, digitally and in any direct marketing material. Or, maybe you can offer a premium to be put in guest or thank you bags. The opportunity for exposure differs with each event. Make this a part of your initial research.
- Trade show booths give your brand a chance for face-to-face interaction with highly qualified leads that could lead to successful relationships. You can directly sell your product or service without the hassle of the internet or telephone. Exhibiting at trade shows can be the most costly option depending on the size booth you build as well as the extra costs from transportation, set up and sales collateral. Be sure to choose to exhibit at shows that really fit into your marketing objectives to get the best return on investment.
- A speaking engagement might be the better choice at some events, especially in situations where you can be perceived as an expert and thought leader. Often times, the price of speaking at a trade show is by far the most cost-efficient since you won’t be allocating any marketing dollars to sponsorship or a booth. Speaking engagements are also a great opportunity to get the exposure you want from the right group of people and point attendees in the direction of your booth if you are also exhibiting.
Some of the most important benefits your brand can receive from picking the right event are:
- Meeting potential customers and obtaining their contact information.
- Building brand awareness and an impressive reputation.
- Communicating with who can already be considered qualified leads since you are attending an industry-driven show that you chose based on the target market you want to engage with.
- Opportunity to create content for social media channels, learn about the competition and conduct research by having attendees complete on-site surveys.
It is important to view events and trade shows as an opportunity to increase sales and boost brand recognition within your industry. So, make sure to choose the right situation that you can benefit the most from in a variety of ways. In turn, this will ultimately provide you with the results you are looking for.