4 Tips on How to Drive Growth for your Business

“I regret…nothing!” – Michael Scott (The Office)

After you’ve successfully sponsored a conference, you won’t ever have to ask yourself again, “why should we sponsor?”

The catch? Executing a successful sponsorship takes more time and effort than most think. When building your yearly budget, you are going to explore and debate many opportunities. If you are selling b2b or b2c, sponsoring and attending conferences or trade shows is key in driving growth for your business in 2018. Face to face conversations are becoming more obsolete (which sounds crazy, right?) People are finding more efficient ways to communicate-making f2f meetings less of a priority, thus making it harder to sell.

While there are tons of reasons why you should attend or sponsor a conference, we have compiled the top 4 opportunities to be aware of when sponsoring an event, providing some tips on how to maximize your experience. It’s not rocket science either, most of the reasons involve effort, planning, and maybe stepping outside of your comfort zone a little. To get started, check out our Conference Tips + Tricks checklist on how to effectively sponsor at our conference. Even if you can’t sponsor our conference it gives you a look at a healthy timeline and approach.

1. Brand Awareness and Recognition

Of course, brand awareness is a top reason for sponsoring an event. *Cue pasting your logos all over the conference’s website, venue, and conference materials!* But keep in mind, maximizing brand awareness goes beyond you simply emailing over your logo.

To get the most recognition, you need to be putting in the effort for exposure as well. It is likely that the conference you are sponsoring has good reach, so integrating your logo and messaging with the event’s marketing materials and platforms such as flyers, website, e-newsletters, advertisements, social media is important. Collaboration marketing is much more likely to resonate with your target audiences as they are more likely to pay attention to your messages when they are seeking out a message that is relevant to them!

How specifically can you increase your brand awareness and recognition?

TIP #1: Check and see if the conference has a specific hashtag, search for this on the host’s twitter page. For example, ours this year is #CMA18 and you can see it used here in most of our Twitter posts about the conference. Make sure anytime you are talking about the event, whether it’s announcing your sponsorship, sharing the trip, posting pictures of your booth… you use the hashtag. It’s likely the hosts will retweet or engage with you, which means more exposure for you!

TIP #2: Check when sponsoring, that wherever possible, digital logos will hyperlink back to your website and that your business is tagged and hashtags are used appropriately in social media posts. The conference hosts should do that- but you know, stuff happens.

TIP #3: If you plan on sponsoring an event, secure your slot early on. By doing so, you can leverage brand exposure beforehand by taking advantage of lead- up marketing. It’s no question you will receive brand recognition at the event itself, but don’t forget that brand exposure happens before the actual event as well.

2. TWICE the Media Exposure

Any successful event has built a robust marketing plan to make their event successful. By sponsoring an event, you can piggyback on marketing dollars that are spent promoting an event. Take advantage of their efforts and sponsor an event that reaches your target audience. You might say that sponsoring an event costs a huge sum of money (which, you aren’t wrong) but, for you to get the same exposure and visibility in markets that are otherwise unexplored- you would be spending much, much more! Make sure you’re choosing the RIGHT conference for your business so you can ensure your boss on the ROI- so the dollars spent don’t go to waste.  When you sponsor an event, you reach more than just those who attend. Sponsorship gives you access to a new variety of networks and channels of communication.  To maximize your return, promote the fact that you are sponsoring the event to your networks. Pull together an email invite, encouraging them to attend and to extend the invitation to their contacts.

How specifically can you increase your media exposure?

TIP #1: Write a blog about why you believe it is an important event and therefore, sponsored it. Publish that blog on your website, share it on social, link to it in your newsletter, even email signature. Doing this not only increases event reach and attendance, which is mutually beneficial but – especially on the social media and blogging approach– enables you to penetrate your target audience and have direct contact with them before, during and after the event. 

TIP #2: Choose your sponsorships wisely! You associate your brand with the conference. Do your research and choose well-respected companies that align with the values of your organization. 

3. A 2-Sided Approach: Engage with your Audience

Traditional forms of advertising are one-sided. Unfortunately, an incredibly saturated market of media, emails, and content has made it difficult to reach your audience. And, get the confidence that your message was heard accurately. That’s the difference with a sponsorship.  It gives you that chance to engage directly with potential customers. An email to the inbox… easily ignored. An introduction & a great handshake… not ignore-able. This ability to connect is an opportunity to give life to your brand, develop relationships, and network with possible clients. While media exposure is an important part of any brand, what should really excite you is a chance to educate, inspire, and support the attendees. Then your sales team can take it the rest of the way.

A great part about the CMA conference is that you are guaranteed f2f time to present to our attendees no matter your sponsorship level. We set aside time in the agenda for solution provider demos, which take place twice throughout the program. Once on Monday afternoon and again on Tuesday afternoon, 3 rounds per demo period at 15 minutes each (a combined 120 minutes)! This is your time to present your products and services and to show the industry how your company has been growing & innovating.

How specifically, can you engage with your audience?

TIP #1: If it’s within your company’s budget, and you have a charismatic speaker on your team take advantage of a speaking slot which is usually offered in a higher sponsorship. This year, 3/5 CMA sponsor packages award a 30-minute speaking slot.

TIP #2: Don’t wait for someone to come up to you. Do some research on the attendees, brainstorm ideas on how you can help this specific market & how you can work together. Set goals for your team at the conference. Example: Challenge yourself to make an introduction to at least 5 strangers outside of your booth every day.

TIP #3: Pre-schedule meetings with attendees! Prior to the show, depending on your sponsorship level you receive an attendee list of name, job title, and company! See a name you recognize? Reach out and schedule a meeting with them prior to the show.

4. Lead Generation

Now, the stuff your boss cares about. Lead generation. Sponsorship is a brilliant tool for creating new leads. The important part here is for you to do your research and invest in the conference. Know your key prospects that will be in attendance. You are in a position of power, so confidently strut your message. But, remember, that even though you have a spotlight on your business making it easier for opportunities to find you, you are still competing with the other sponsors in the room. It is your job to drive traffic to your booth. Just one valuable conversation with someone, even if they aren’t a potential customer, has opened an opportunity to gather referrals to their connections.

How specifically, can you assure lead generation & generate traffic?

TIP #1: Most conferences nowadays have an app, USE IT! The exclusive CMA conference app gives sponsors unlimited scanning accessible to all of your booth staff, quick lead qualification, and the ability to measure your booth staff’s performance. Get more tips on using our conference app here!

TIP #2: Gaining a database out of your sponsorship is potentially the most valuable perk of the partnership. Make inquiries with the event organizer about access to attendee lists. If the event organizer says no due to privacy reasons, at least you tried!

TIP #3: Attendees will have 5 minutes in between the CMA Conference solution provider demos for them to choose their next booth, this is a key time for you to scan their badge as a potential lead!

TIP #4: Post-Conference, follow up on your leads right away while they’re still hot.

  • The odds of calling to contact a lead decrease by over 10 times in the 1st hour.
  • The odds of calling to qualify a lead decrease by over 6 times in the 1st hour.
  • The odds of contacting a lead if called in 5 minutes are 100 times higher versus 30 minutes.
  • The odds of qualifying a lead if called in 5 minutes are 21 times higher versus 30 minutes.
    *Dr. James Oldroyd – Forbes Executive Summary

We hope to see you at the 2018 Category Management & Shopper Insights Conference as a sponsor or as an attendee!

Want more information on a sponsorship at our Conference? Fill out this form and we will follow-up within 24 hours.

Interested in attending? Take a peek at what we are bringing to the table this year & register here!