To sponsor or not to sponsor, is the main question for many trade show marketers these days. The main reason behind this question is the fact that there is no rock hard data that portrays sponsoring trade shows that can be fruitful. However, trade shows are goldmines of opportunities, and sponsorship can just be the thing for your company to stand out as a giant that everyone has their attention to.
Firstly, you have to evaluate why you want to sponsor a trade show? Are you planning to spread your brand’s image? Or are you wanting to sponsor because the particular event is your favorite? This is what is termed as the CEO-trap, where the company’s CEO is a fan of an event and dishes out the corporate dollars into it. No good can come from that, right?
- Reasons Behind Sponsorships – Six-man reasons prevail as the determiners for sponsorships, which are driving sales, differentiation from rivals, image enhancement, enhancing the business, VIP, customer relations, using positive publicity to increase your company’s visibility, and finally, to take on the role of a “Good Corporate Citizen”. If these are on your list, sponsorship should be an obvious choice.
- Popular Choices – Today, several exhibitors spend approximately 9% of their exhibit-marketing budgets in investments, in the form of sponsoring trade shows. They know that these are the big promotional opportunities that they cannot miss at any cost. The popular options are two-fold: –
- Signage sponsorships – digital signage, elevator wraps, show boards, etc. Digital sponsorships – event apps, e-invites, e-newsletters, Wi-Fi access at events, etc.
- Investing in the right kind of sponsorship is paramount for developing critical relationships and successful leads, apart from just marketing your company. Almost all exhibitors agree that their sponsorship investments have either met their expectations or exceeded them.
- Most Effective Vs. Least Effective – Exhibitors who sponsor trade shows have listed the following opportunities as most or least effective, based on the marketing potential of each: –
- Most Effective – Social media, event apps, show directories, networking events, speaking opportunities, hospitality lounges, show e-blasts, official receptions, etc.
- Least Effective – Hotel key cards, cups, napkins, taxi toppers, wellness activities, hotel in-room television, headrest covers, hotel room drops, and public-transit graphics