Conference Content: To Sponsor or Not to Sponsor?

by | Mar 28, 2023 | Strategy | 0 comments

If you’re knee-deep in planning your entrance into the conference circuit (check out THIS blog if you’re just wading in), this question has surely popped up: Will you sponsor? And it’s an important one to consider! We’re weighing the pros and cons with you here when it comes to answering that age-old question. 

If it’s in the budget, sponsoring a conference at large or booth at the event can be a great proponent for your business as you often get facetime directly with members of your target audience. BUT there are some pros and cons to consider: 

  • If you’re manning a booth, you oftentimes are “stuck” there and are unable to attend some or all of the presentation sessions. 
  • Depending on the conference setup and where you are physically located in a space, you might see less foot traffic than you want. 
  • Some conferences welcome as many sponsors as are willing. Therefore, your sponsorship may get lost in the sea of other sponsor logos; not the desired effect. 

However, there are some inherent perks! 

  • Sponsors often get first dibs on email lists and contact information for attendees. Hello leads
  • Your logo can reside digitally and often physically on conference materials helping with brand awareness and “stickiness” long after the event. 
  • The organizers of the conference do some of the connection leg work for you. Maybe that’s time on stage or the opportunity to introduce a presentation. 

The question then becomes: How do I maximize my time spent at a conference? At this point, it’s important to note we’re mostly speaking about in-person events but some of these principles can apply to digital events too!


Make that List & Check it Twice

If there are contact lists included with your sponsorship, use them! Abiding by all privacy policies of course, if email lists are made available to you, use them. Chat with attendees right in their inbox about the upcoming event or considering setting up some advertising campaigns using those lists. Share your booth number and/or where they can find you in the expo space. If you’re able, schedule face-to-face meetings during the conference’s downtime. You may even explore tools like Calendly or Chili Piper to assist in scheduling. 


Connecting – it’s in our blood! 

Ahead of the conference, with lists in hand, seek out fellow vendors and/or attendees of interest on LinkedIn. Trust me, everyone wants to know who is viewing their LinkedIn profile. And if it’s someone new, you can bet they’re clicking back to your profile too. Use this planning time as an opportunity to make sure social media platforms across the board are up-to-date and showcase an authentic you

Throughout the event, be sure to connect with folks right as you meet them. You. Will. Lose. Their. Business. Card. And vice versa. But if you connect with someone on LinkedIn while they’re standing in front of you, both parties know exactly who they’re connecting with and don’t have to piece together if you were the guy who plays pickleball or the one with the best BBQ sauce recipe. Connect! Connect! Connect!


UX Live

After so much screentime over the last few years, there is so much buzz surrounding being in-person. Take this opportunity to go all-out with your sponsorship. It’s worth the phone call to the organizers to make sure you’re getting everything your sponsorship promises. Can you submit an ad for the program? Place a digital ad? Contribute a tchotchke to the attendee goodie bags? Donate to the conference giveaways? Can you introduce a speaker? Pass out can coolers at happy hour? Whatever you can do, you should do. 

In case you missed the last blog in this conference series, we discussed how to choose the right conference for you


Author: Natalie Droeske, SMS

Natalie Droeske is an NISM Advisory Board member and a marketing specialist for MedOne Pharmacy Benefit Solutions in Dubuque, IA. She has been a NISM-certified Social Media Strategist since 2020 and is a 2019 graduate of Loras College. She holds a degree in English: Creative Writing with minors in Journalism and Public Writing & Rhetoric.
Connect with Natalie on LinkedInInstagram, and Twitter.


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