Tips and Trends

Do You Need A Sponsorship Evaluation Audit?

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Audits aren’t just for exhibits. They are also a tremendous tool for determining whether or not a trade show or event sponsorship is right for you.

This service works equally well whether we conduct the audit at an event you already sponsor or one that you’re considering for the future.

Example: Beth was a long-term client of ours. Her company had been attending a particular show for years—and spending big dollars on sponsorships there. But Beth wasn’t sure her investment was paying off.

So Beth sat down with the 3D Exhibits measurement team and made a plan. We outlined her company’s participation across the show and then we went under cover. We walked the show, attended the hospitality events, chatted with attendees, took surveys and snapped photos.

Most important, we gained key insights that helped Beth invest her sponsorship dollars better in the future.

We can’t tell you where Beth works or what show we audited—the results are confidential—but we can give you a summary of the type of information we were able to present to Beth as the result of our audit:

Attendee awareness of sponsors. By chatting with dozens of attendees we discovered that at this particular event, participants are aware of who the sponsors were and appreciated their contribution. However, they were not able discern between the levels of sponsorship—which means that at this particular event, a bronze-level sponsorship would be just as influential as gold.

Golden opportunity to create a new sponsorship. The one activity every attendee showed up for was to collect their free box lunch. In fact, they all showed up every day for three consecutive days. However, at that time, the lunch pick-up area was un-sponsored. We’d discovered an unclaimed sponsorship that would deliver huge visibility.

Evaluation of sponsor boards created by show management. This highly-touted benefit had little value as there were too many company names crammed onto the signage for any company to stand out.

Too much copy on signage outside sponsored education sessions. This sponsorship included 2’ wide x 6’ high signs outside the session rooms. Unfortunately, Beth’s team had treated these signs as ads. We recommended bold headlines, little other copy, and the elimination of copy below waist height to make the signage more readable.

Awareness of evening event sponsorship. Beth’s company sponsored a large evening hospitality event. Despite signage at the door and at the bars, only half of the 30 attendees surveyed could name the host sponsor. Also, only 10% of the registered attendees came to the event.

Identified bad sponsor signage placements. We walked the venue and inspected the signage the show had sold to their various sponsors. We listed which locations were most visible and which had little or no value. For instance, the sponsored elevator door graphics went unnoticed as 95% of attendees used the escalators. Also, no one can read the messaging on an elevator door when the door is open or when people are standing in front of the door waiting to board.

Identified the sponsorships that provided the most value. We made a list of sponsorships that would be worth acquiring in the future should the current sponsors drop out.

Based on our recommendations, Beth adjusted her sponsorship spend. In the end, she got more bang for her dollars spent at this event and was able to move some of the budget over to another event.

Do you think a sponsorship audit could help you make better, more educated spending decisions? If you do, we’d love to talk.

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