There are 400 C-level decision-makers in a room. Before you arrive, you’ve seen a list of attendees so you can research the companies and line up meetings. It’s a fish-in-a-barrel situation with built-in networking in a room full of qualified prospects that are themselves looking for ways to grow their businesses. With such an opportunity, it’s a shame that so many companies show up without a plan.
How many times have you heard from your marketing team, “Our conference sponsorship drove zero ROI?” Too often companies think pasting their logo on carefully positioned materials will be enough to generate a return, when in reality they’re barely scratching the surface.
Put a plan together
Events are a unique opportunity to engage an audience in a face-to-face networking environment to get a better understanding of their challenges and goals, and provide an impactful solution. But to do that, sponsors must make the most out of their chance. Targeted networking allows a company to separate itself from its competitors. That can only happen if the company engages with attendees before and after the event to build relationships and set meetings.
Put a plan together with your sales team ahead of the event to target specific attendees. The event host may have an attendee list you can review before the event. Take advantage of that.
Set goals for personal introductions and post-event meetings. It’s also a chance to follow up with congratulatory letters or unique gifts. The event host may have an option for you to email attendees survey questions.
Ask for statistics, where available, on the effectiveness of event collateral. If you have digital ad placements or email positions, get impression data to understand your reach. Also, create attractive offers in your ad placements that will encourage traffic to your website.
Business events offer an unparalleled opportunity to not just pitch products and services but to get to know clients or prospects on a more personal level, which opens up the possibility of generating more business in the future.
As you approach your next event sponsorship, ask the following questions:
- Have we defined our goals? It’s impossible to achieve an objective if one hasn’t been set.
- How will we measure effectiveness? Now that goals are set, what will it take to achieve them?
- What do we need to do to make our sponsorship a success? Successful sponsors don’t wait for results. They build a supporting campaign and actively pursue objectives.
Companies should take control of all event sponsorship offers. It’s an amazing opportunity for a company’s sales team to prospect with decision-makers for those that are smart about their marketing investment.
Joe Artiste is a President of Magazine & Events, at Smart Business Network Inc. Joe is a 25-year B2B expert in developing market strategies, driving demand and building successful, profitable organizations. He is focused on helping decision-makers understand how to optimize strategy and align their organizations to better accelerate revenue and improve sustainability.