Quite a few of my corporate clients like to take advantage of different sponsorship opportunities at tradeshows and conferences. My advice to them is always the same – (1) Let’s create something unique that is going to stand out, (2) that has legs and (3) will be memorable. I tell them never to sponsor a room drop unless they plan on spending a lot of money. Don’t sponsor the bag insert – the majority of attendees don’t look through the collateral. Don’t sponsor just to sponsor.
While I was in Salt Lake City last week for a tradeshow, one of the exhibitors was offering free coffee to attendees. They were staged outside the convention center using the food truck concept which would have been amazing, but they missed a key marketing opportunity. They had a little bit of signage in front of the truck, but the truck was wrapped with the name of the coffee cart company, NOT the name of the exhibitor that was hosting the coffee.
We drove by 3 or 4 times before I even noticed that the exhibitor was sponsoring the coffee. In my mind, that was a huge opportunity missed.
Things not to do:
1. Spend just to spend
2. Doesn’t have legs
3. Doesn’t add value
4. Doesn’t give your brand enough exposure
5. Execute too quickly
Picture this…It’s the middle of summer and you just sponsored the ice cream truck that has pulled up in front of the convention center. The truck is completely branded with your marketing message. Not only are you capitalizing on the fact that your brand was driving all over town, now everyone walking and driving by is seeing your message. The cups have your brand, the spoons are your corporate colors and even the ice cream your offering is your corporate colors.
Next time you think of sponsoring something…think out of the box, be unique.