Assessing Trade Show Sponsorships Smart Move Or Waste Of Money

Assessing Trade Show Sponsorships: Smart Move or​ Waste of​ Money?
Let's face it .​
Participating in​ a​ trade show is​ expensive .​
There's no doubt about it .​
When you add up all the​ expenses associated with trade shows -- including registration fees,​ display costs,​ shipping,​ giveaway items,​ booth staff salaries and lodging,​ and more -- you're talking about some serious money.

But wait! There's more .​
From the​ minute you express interest in​ exhibiting at​ a​ show,​ you're flooded with sponsorship opportunities .​
For a​ mere $250,​ for example,​ you get an​ ad in​ the​ show directory .​
Double that,​ and your logo shows up on​ a​ few prominently placed banners .​
Prices rise steadily,​ allegedly keeping pace with the​ enhanced exposure more dollars can bring .​
As logic goes,​ you get more visibility,​ the​ deeper you dig into your wallet.

Is it​ really worth it? Does more money really equal increased attendee attention and consequently better sales? How can you tell which sponsorship opportunities are really good deals and which are a​ waste of​ money?

All sponsorship opportunities are valuable -- to​ the​ right exhibitor .​
There must be a​ good match between the​ exhibitor,​ their goals and objectives,​ and the​ results the​ sponsorship can deliver .​
Before you agree to​ a​ sponsorship deal,​ you must make sure that your participation will move you closer to​ achieving your goals and objectives .​
Otherwise,​ keep your money in​ your pocket.

There are four criteria you can use to​ assess if​ a​ sponsorship opportunity is​ right for you and likely to​ deliver your desired result .​
These criteria are:

1 .​
Target Audience Draw

Does this show draw a​ large group of​ attendees who are in​ your target audience? Will this group be likely to​ buy your products and services? is​ there a​ clear benefit in​ putting your name in​ front of​ these attendees? If you're at​ a​ show outside of​ your industry or​ region,​ or​ a​ show that draws smaller numbers of​ attendees from your target audience,​ sponsorship is​ probably not the​ route to​
go .​

2 .​
Percentage of​ Exhibiting Cost

Consider the​ cost of​ sponsorship as​ a​ percentage of​ your total exhibiting expense .​
If the​ sponsorship is​ equivalent to​ more than 50% of​ your overall exhibiting budget,​ step back and think: is​ this the​ best way to​ invest my money? Would my purposes be better served by a​ larger exhibit or​ even exhibiting at​ an​ additional show?

3 .​
Number of​ Same Level Sponsorships

Make sure you know how many other companies will be sponsoring on​ the​ same level you will .​
As a​ rule of​ thumb,​ the​ more money you spend,​ the​ less same level competition you will have .​
It is​ important to​ know what level your competitors are sponsoring at,​ as​ your own sponsorship,​ if​ appropriate,​ should be comparable or​ better.

4 .​
Organizer Support

Anyone can sell sponsorship opportunities -- but not everyone can make them valuable .​
Consider the​ show management .​
How we​ do they promote the​ show? How well do they work with the​ media? What with do to​ ensure that sponsors are mentioned often,​ prominently placed,​ and kept in​ the​ public eye? Organizers play a​ pivotal role in​ show success .​
If you find an​ organizer who understands your goals and objectives,​ sponsorship can more than pay for itself .​
On the​ other hand,​ if​ a​ show organizer is​ not behind their sponsors,​ save your money.

If after assessing a​ sponsorship opportunity,​ you find that these criteria are met to​ your satisfaction,​ move forward .​
Here are three ways to​ maximize the​ return on​ trade show sponsorship:

1 .​
Offer Added Value

Use your sponsorship opportunities to​ give something extra to​ the​ attendee .​
This can be something tangible -- tote bags,​books,​ pdas -- or​ perhaps more valuable,​ a​ knowledge based intangible .​
Consider sponsoring speakers,​ mini or​ full workshops/seminars,​ panel discussions,​ and the​ like to​ get the​ attendees’ attention,​ capture it​ for a​ period of​ time,​ and keep your name highly visible.

2 .​
Promote Heavily

Once you have committed to​ a​ sponsorsip,​ it​ is​ in​ your best interest to​ promote it​ every chance you get .​
You want as​ many attendees at​ the​ show as​ possible,​ especially if​ they are members of​ your target audience,​ to​ know about your sponsorship and how it​ can help them .​
Consider special advertising,​ and explore co-op advertising possibilities with the​ show organizers.

3 .​
Partner Appropriately

By cooperating with companies who are in​ the​ same industry although not your direct competitors,​ it​ is​ possible to​ sponsor an​ event at​ a​ greater level than you could manage alone .​
Explore this option if​ you want to​ achieve a​ high level of​ visibilty at​ a​ given show yet don't have the​ budget to​ do it​ all on​ your own.

Remember,​ sponsorship is​ just one more tool in​ your trade show toolbox .​
Used properly,​ it​ can help you achieve your goals and objectives .​
Keep a​ close eye on​ your plans and another on​ your budget,​ and I'm sure you can make sponsorship work to​ your advantage.

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