Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

January 14 2014

4 Secrets to Securing More Sponsors and Exhibitors

By David McMillin

As the trade show industry continues to evolve, many exhibit managers and sponsorship directors are struggling to attract new exhibitors and sponsors. Companies are keeping a close eye on their bottom lines to determine which shows are truly delivering the ROI they need and which shows are failing to translate to real results.

On Monday, January 13, at Convening Leaders 2014, attendees gained new insights into how to demonstrate more value in “Fresh Perspectives from Exhibit and Sponsorship Decision-Makers.” The session featured a panel of four corporate marketing executives who dove headfirst into the key factors that influence their thought processes.

1) You’re In Front of a Bigger Crowd.

“There are a lot more people involved in spend decisions these days,” Jeffrey Masters, Director, Global Events, Phillips Healthcare, said.

It’s important to remember that you must impress more than just one person. When reaching out to a potential exhibiting or sponsoring company, Masters stressed the importance of delivering an introductory presentation that can easily make its way through the chain of command.

“Don’t call,” Masters said. “Send your information electronically so it can be shared around the office.”

SEE ALSO: Three Ways to Adjust Your Exhibitors’ Expectations

2) This is the Relationship Business.

Don’t think of exhibitors and sponsors i traditional terms. Instead, think of these companies as members of your team. The entire panel stressed the importance of working together to help everyone involved in the show succeed.

“I like to partner with organizations,” Trevor Barlow, AVP, Manager, Trade Shows & Events, Wells Fargo Practice Finance, said. “I appreciate it when associations come to me to ask what my objectives are and how they can help me achieve them.”

“It’s not revenue, revenue, revenue,” Barlow said. “They’re genuinely interested in the partnership.”

While your exhibitors and sponsors obviously want to uncover new business opportunities, remember they aren’t always looking to read scripted advertisements to your attendees. Many of them want to be involved in educational opportunities and speaking roles, too. As you work to make your show more attractive, consider ways to position your most valuable partners in thought leadership roles, too.

“We’re not talking about one big commercial,” Barlow said. “Our intention is to help educate doctors. We want quality brand awareness while delivering education for attendees.”

SEE ALSO: Why Exhibitors Are Mad and How It Could Impact Your Next Show

3) Timing is Everything.

Many involved in the meetings industry have grown accustomed to last-minute details, but the decision makers with dollars to spend are working much further ahead with budget forecasts.

“I’ve had some great offers from certain shows, but it’s often way too late,” Barlow said. “The work involved in running those up the flagpole for approval is exhausting.”

“It’s never too early to approach us with a great idea,” Masters added.

Masters said that he is already in the midst of looking at opportunities for 2015.

“If it’s past the beginning of May, you’re going to want to come back next year,” Masters said.

4) Your Real Power is in Numbers.

In today’s data-driven world, ROI is no longer a three-letter acronym that looks nice on paper. New data-collection tools have paved the way to showing who your attendees are, where they spend their time, what matters to them and of course, whether they are the right audience for prospective exhibitors and sponsors.

If you are failing to leverage the power of information, many companies will walk away.

“No measurements means no money,” Masters said.

Stay tuned for more Convening Leaders coverage to help you understand how to energize your exhibit floor, how to increase your exhibitor retention and how to grow your sponsorship revenues.

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