When exhibiting at a conference, sponsorship opportunities are a great way to add some branding elements and additional communication to get traffic to your booth. Even if you think you have your sponsorship choices ready to go, including maximizing your return on investment, there are some ways to spice things up and make your sponsorship more memorable. Here are a few comments I have heard over the years, and why you should turn this thinking on its head.
“We have our sponsorship tier planned, since it is what we have done for X years now.” If you can hit auto pilot and do your sponsorship activities, don’t you think your attendees can also hit auto pilot when they see it? At some point, the same signage and the same sponsorship equates to the same boring engagement (or even worse, forgettable engagement). Each year you should evaluate how your sponsorship did and where you can modify, add, even subtract, to get something new out to attendees.
“We pick from a list the show gives us.” Not to fault the show organizers, but they have a million other things to do, so providing a quick and dirty sponsorship list is the easiest way to check that item as complete. The best ideas can come from the people buying the sponsorship (yep, that is you!). Share new ideas or opportunities you saw work well at other shows, or let inspiration hit. Believe me, the show organizer will be more than happy to have some additional ideas to review, and being the one to suggest it means it has not been done before at that show. What better way to have a memorable sponsorship for your attendees.
“We choose one sponsorship item.” Even if budgets need to be taken into consideration, why not look at pairing together a couple of unique ideas that could accentuate or play off each other. For example, you could sponsor a coffee break or breakfast (which oftentimes is a great yet underappreciated sponsorship) with a banner or other signage (even for that day) that says: We gave you food and caffeine today. You are welcome. Come say thanks in person at our booth. (No one says your signage has to have your tagline on it, right?) This is where some creative thinking outside the triangle (see what I did there?) can help you stand out and create some branding buzz.
Break out of your current sponsorship rut and incorporate some spice into your program.