How to pick an event to sponsor
When it comes to sponsoring an event there can be hundreds of considerations to take in to account. Some companies will have empty pockets and are able to simply throw money at every show to build their brand. Sadly, not all of us have this luxury, so how should we pick which event to go to?
What are your goals?
Clearly define why you’re looking to take part in an event. As the saying goes, fail to plan, then you’re planning to fail. Define what it is you are looking to get from an event. Is it to learn from your peers, understand a specific topic or market better, network with others, launch your product, promote your company, exhibit your wares, meet distributors, or simply just to do a little research on the competition. Even if you don’t have very clear goals you will still need to simply figure out what you want from a show.
It may sound simple but do your research properly. Asking an event organizer if their show covers your criteria may prove to be a costly mistake. By all means research with the organizer, but they often obviously have a vested interest in getting you to the show. Research the market fully, check post show reports, ask previous attendees, check for feedback, look at previous photos and videos. As yourself some simple questions, does it look well attended? Will I meet my clients there? Does the show have a good track record?
Established shows versus new shows?
Many companies will refuse to go to new shows or will invest on a minimal scale. This can seem like a good and safe bet in terms of ensuring you protect your investment. But let’s remember, shows have to start somewhere! Support a new show and ask for a bigger discount in return, new shows can mean new format and new people to meet so look on the positive side. Established shows will allow you to ask more probing questions about the track record and plan better, but do remember events can become stale. We often recommend planning a mix of old and new shows, small and large in order to limit your risk and also to vary your market reach.
What’s your competitor doing?
Ask the organizer if your competitors are there, if not, why not? If they are then what are they doing at the show? Find out why they joined and piggy back off some of the work they’ve done.
Events are selling a somewhat intangible product – sponsorship can come in any different forms or sizes and costs vary massively. It is common practice for events to charge different prices for the same package. Although this may sound underhand, event organisers are simply following simple market economics. If a show is selling the price goes up, if you book early or at the last minute and take a risk on being first or a worse located booth then you can get a discount. There’s no harm in asking for a reduced price, event organisers throughout the world are used to it and will often happily oblige.
To conclude, define your goals, do your research, evaluate the event format, check the competition and haggle on the price. If you get to the end of the process and you’re still happy with the show, then get out the cheque book and confirm your space!