Tips and Trends

How To Determine if a Trade Show Sponsorship is Worth the Cost

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


From lanyards to signage, show management is happy to sell—and even create—sponsorship packages that increase your company’s visibility on the trade show floor. The challenge comes in picking or designing a sponsorship that is worth the price tag show management is going to charge.

How do you assess if a sponsorship is worth the cost? Here are five things to consider:

1. Will the sponsorship help you meet your goals? Before purchasing a sponsorship, you need to clearly define what you’re hoping to achieve. Is it just additional exposure? A certain perception of your company? Or the reiteration of a specific message? Is your sponsorship meant to create good will? Or drive more traffic to your exhibit? Answering these questions will help you to assess if the opportunity on the table will provide the ROO (return on objectives) you’re looking for.

2. Is the sponsorship representative of your company? The best sponsorships are consistent with your brand image. For instance, if you’re about sustainability, avoid sponsoring the shuttle bus service unless it uses electric or hybrid vehicles. If a sponsorship can, in any way, be perceived as being at odds with your brand, it’s best to pass.

3. Will the sponsorship be something that will be noticed by attendees—or will it get lost in the crowd? When a show sells dozens of banners that all hang next to one another, yours may not stand out. Instead, look for something that will be located off by itself. A place that will be noticed, but where there will be minimal items competing for attendees’ attention. At Distributech, 3D Exhibits client Itron sponsored both signage and branded seating—in the same area (pictured above). This sponsorship performed for two reasons: 1. There was no other sponsor signage in the same area and 2. Attendees sat on the branded cubes for extended periods of time as they networked or rested—increasing the amount of time each attendee was exposed to Itron’s messaging.



4. Is there something unique, clever, or memorable about the sponsorship? Sponsorships that delight, entertain, or resonate are by far going to have the most impact. At Veterinary Meeting and Expo, our client, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, reinforced the launch of its Hill’s to Home pet nutrition delivery service by sponsoring the show floor golf cart transportation service. Signage introduced Hill’s to Home and cleverly quipped, “Let Hill’s Deliver.” Attendees chuckled and awareness of the new service grew.


5. Is it something useful that people will want to bring home with them? Another mark of a great sponsorship is that people want to bring it home and/or use it. At Distributech, exhibitor Sensus sponsored visual sketches of the show keynotes—which were placed in the show lobby. Attendees who had either missed the presentations, or who felt their own notes weren’t as good, took photos throughout the day.



What types of sponsorships perform best for your company?



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