We all know that sponsoring an event—like a trade show or exhibition—provides an exciting opportunity to “give back” to your field and professional community. There’s something magical about having a group of like-minded individuals all in one place, sharing what makes them passionate about what they do. What you might not realize, however, is all the ways in which sponsoring an event can give your business a powerful boost. Did you know, for example, that on average, 81% of trade show attendees have purchasing authority and 67% typically represent potential new leads? Clearly, few other environments can compete with events for potential return on investment (ROI). If you’re weighing up whether or not event sponsorship will be worth the work (and expense) involved, consider the following points:
1. Sponsorship greatly increases your brand authority.
There’s a reason why sponsors are often referred to be as being “official.” To be eligible to sponsor an event, a business has to be found to be reputable, credible, and an overall valuable member of the business community. As such, people know that event sponsors have earned a high degree of authority in their industry. When you sponsor an event, you therefore greatly increase general trust in your brand.
2. Sponsoring an event gives you a chance to prove your value.
In addition to generating a great deal of exposure for your logo, trade show and corporate event sponsorship gives you a chance to demonstrate your knowledge of, and commitment to, your industry. Some event sponsorship packages even include the option to create a presentation about your business, giving you a chance to display your expertise and reach out to potential leads directly. Just remember to keep your presentation about generating real value for your audience; no one likes to hear an extended sales pitch.
3. You can expect a certain amount of free marketing to be part of the deal.
Everywhere the event is promoted—on social media, via email, magazines, apps, online maps, and so on—your brand name will be attached to it. If you think of how much it would otherwise cost to obtain this kind of far-reaching exposure, it quickly becomes clear that event sponsorship is more than worth the initial investment required.
4. Not only will you generate new leads, you’ll probably follow up with old ones.
In most industries, people tend to run in the same overlapping circles. This means that by sponsoring an event, you’ll not only be putting your brand name in front of new customers, you’ll be reconnecting with current and past customers. This gives you the chance to keep your network thriving, build brand loyalty, and collect feedback on your performance. You’ll learn what your business is doing well and where it needs to improve—incredibly valuable information that can be notoriously hard to collect.
5. You’ll have the opportunity to make new and existing customers aware of upcoming developments.
If you’re planning to upgrade one of your existing products or services or you’re currently developing a new one, what better place to build excitement about it than an event? It is, after all, much easier to get and hold people’s attention when you’re featured front and centre in a large congregation. You’ll also be able to actively engage with your customers, fielding any questions they have about your upcoming release in real time.
Final Thoughts: How to Approach Event Sponsorship
There’s no questioning the fact that event sponsorship has excellent ROI potential. However, as is the case with any marketing endeavour, you’ll need to have a cohesive plan of action in order to be successful. Before you enter into event sponsorship, make sure to come up with a list of specific, measurable goals. What do you hope to achieve by sponsoring an event, and how will you know whether or not you’ve achieved it? How will you connect with new leads, store information about them so they aren’t lost, and follow up with them after the event? By answering these questions well in advance of the event, you’ll prepare yourself to make the most of the five benefits of event sponsorship outlined in this article. Good luck!