Should Your Company Sponsor That Industry Conference (or Trade Show Booth)?

Monday, 25 July 2016 07:32
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It seems that every other week conference organizers invite me to sponsor their upcoming event. Thus far, I have politely declined each time. I strongly suspect that beyond generating some awareness this type of spend would not make good business sense. While we make many decisions based on judgment, perhaps we should subject this one to a more rigorous consideration. (Manufacturers can apply this same thinking to the question of whether or not to sponsor a trade show booth, a decision which for many companies has become almost reflexive).

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends...

Should Your Company Sponsor That Industry Conference

(Or Trade Show Booth)? In terms of new business development, industry conferences are to service providers what trade shows are to manufacturers. They typically attract a diverse array of corporate attendees. This, in turn attracts sponsors who are promised access to potential customers, including networking events to facilitate interactions with them. So, is a conference (or trade show) sponsorship a wise spend?

As with any marketing investment, it is important for business persons to assess a particular marketing vehicle's merits versus alternatives and decide whether this will achieve their goals better than alternatives.

Performing this exercise requires us to have a clear understanding of our company's business, including how we go about attracting and winning new customers, and what this currently costs us in time and money. And then deciding success criteria for any new vehicle. It would allow us to potentially test and answer the question: is spending on a conference sponsorship a better investment than simply attending the conference and networking while there? Or, organizing a webinar? Or some other marketing effort?

What's right for one company may or may not be right for another. Here is a link to an article that discusses conference sponsorship from one service provider's perspective. He applies metrics to calculate his sponsorship ROI. As importantly, if not more so, he determines what he must accomplish (e.g. numbers of conversations, appointments set) at the conference in order for it to make good economic sense for his business: .

He concludes that sponsorship can make good sense for his company, but only if his representatives really hustle at the event to hit their "numbers". Personally, I can't imagine applying his aggressive NBD approach to my business at a conference without alienating most prospective customers. While accepting that this is only one person's opinion, directionally at least, this may answer my question.

I would welcome learning your thoughts on this topic.

"Connecting You With The Right Solutions" BFS Innovations, Inc.

Since 2005, BFS Innovations has helped its Fortune 500 clients with technology scouting, new business creation and business development services. Contact Michael today at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 614 937-2408 to discuss your company's needs.

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