Sponsoring a Conference – Is It Worth the Hassle?
In our previous article on 3 Ways To Know Whether A Tech Conference Is Worth the Hassle we shared with you several ways to make the most out of a conference. But for some companies, it could be extremely advantageous not only to attend conferences but also to sponsor them. Conference sponsors get important exposure, network possibilities, and direct access to potential clients, but sponsoring conferences isn’t for everyone. To be a successful sponsor it is important to understand the ins and outs of sponsoring, the benefits as well as the difficulties, so you can better establish whether this idea is worth your time (and money). Below, we outline some important aspects of sponsoring a conference to help you determine whether it is for you.
1. Determine Your Goals
An obvious but important first step in establishing whether sponsoring a conference is for you is to determine your goals. Who is your target audience? What are you hoping to achieve from the exposure? What is your budget? It is important that you determine exactly why you would like to become a sponsor (a decision we will also help you make with steps further down below) in order to understand which conference is for you. Let’s imagine that, just like us, you are in the tech sphere and you would like some more exposure. The first step would be to determine how much you are willing (or can afford) to spend. The costs of sponsoring are not limited to the sponsoring itself (more on this below). Once you’ve established your budget, understand your audience. Are you looking for partnerships and thus need a more B2B type conference, or are you looking to attract new clients? Perhaps both? Answer these questions and you’ll have the basis for your decision.
2. Understand the Advantages of Sponsoring a Conference
Even though not all conferences are made equal, most conference sponsors get similar benefits: the opportunity to set up a booth for an optimal networking experience, getting exposure through having logos all over the conference’s advertising, and overall publicity (you get your name out there). You will have the opportunity to interact with potential clients or generate business partnership opportunities, but you will also get a chance to show what you can do and answer any doubts people may have about your product. In addition you’ll be able to get a close look at competitors and their strategies, and maybe even discuss some ideas with potential investors.
3. Understand the Costs of Sponsoring a Conference
As we mentioned above, the costs of sponsoring are not limited to the sponsoring itself. The first cost you will encounter may be the sponsorship fee, but there are several other things you will have to keep in mind: 1) Do you already have the appropriate marketing material? Are you able to design the booth and potential brochures, roll-outs, or even stickers yourself or will you have to outsource the work? 2) How will you get there and how many people will you have to bring with you? Are there heavy transportation and accommodation costs? 3) How will you get your brand new marketing material there? Keep in mind you that if you have to bring things on an airplane with you, this will sometimes not come cheap. Is your expense worth the return? And on this note…
4. Determine How You Will Stand Out
In order to avoid becoming “just another booth at a conference” you have to understand how best to stand out. After all, you have to make sure the expenses you incur are worth the return, and this will only happen if people are actually paying attention. So how can you stand out? A good first step in understanding how to stand out is to get out there and look at what everyone else is doing. Then, do the exact opposite! The next time you have the opportunity to go to a conference, take note of what booths (or even people) stand out to you and which ones fade into the crowd. How is their booth more appealing? Are they giving out free cupcakes with their logos on them? If so, how on earth did they fly those cupcakes over here and whose grandma stayed up all night baking them? Did she do it for free? Get your thinking cap on and offer something outside of the box, that will have people coming back for more. It could be that this is how you score yourself new clients or business partners (after all, everyone loves free stuff). There is nothing like the feeling of seeing dozens of people walking around with your free branded bright red sunglasses proudly on their heads (trust us, we know). And the best part? Beach goers all over the US will get to see our brand’s name, and they could see yours too! Just play your cards right and the marketing opportunities could expand way beyond the conference itself.
Take out a pen and paper (or your laptop, it is 2019 after all) and start brainstorming all of the points above and we guarantee this will bring you a lot of success in becoming an efficient conference sponsor. And if you haven’t already, make sure to read our 3 Ways To Know Whether A Tech Conference Is Worth the Hassle to help you determine which tech conferences are best for you!