Evaluating event and trade show sponsorships

Trade shows remain a great way to connect with current or prospective customers. But, they are often a costly affair by the time you add hotel, airfare and booth expenses.

So, when it comes to evaluating whether to participate, here are a few topics to consider:

  • Audience: Do you have a sense of how many people attend, and is it the right audience we want to reach? Also, how does this show stack up against other shows?
  • Business opportunities: Similar to the bullet above, is there a realistic opportunity to reach prospective clients, generate viable leads and/or maintain visibility among current customers and/or prospects?
  • Social media leverage: Even if you don’t attend the show, is there an opportunity to use social to showcase the brand to reach show attendees and ideally build followers?
  • Cost vs. overall budget: Consider your annual spend on trade shows(and related sponsorships, then look at whether there a reasonable/modest cost to participate in the trade show under consideration. A couple hundred dollars may be worth the spend, particularly as a trial. But, do not spend money for the sake of spending money. That is rarely a wise approach.
  • Association relationships: There is sometimes a benefit of sponsoring an association or event as part of a larger ask or relationship. Frankly, that can sometimes outweigh some of the other factors.

Still, it is vitally important to make sure you have your story clearly defined before you step foot on the trade show floor. Because, without a clear story, it may not matter whether you attend.