How Do You Maximize Conference Sponsorship?


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How Do You Maximize Conference Sponsorship?

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How Do You Maximize Conference Sponsorship?

In the ever-evolving landscape of conference engagement, we’ve gathered twelve innovative sponsorship strategies from industry experts, including CEOs and Founders. From leveraging experiential marketing to providing complimentary career coaching, these leaders offer a spectrum of creative ideas for sponsors aiming to make a memorable impact at conferences.

  • Leverage Experiential Marketing
  • Collaborate with Local Artists
  • Create Interactive Product Demos
  • Introduce On-Demand Refreshment Carts
  • Organize Thought Leadership Workshops
  • Provide Real-Time Translation Services
  • Set Up a Live Podcast Booth
  • Offer Unique Sponsorship Levels
  • Develop a Customized Conference App
  • Offer Free Professional Headshot Sessions
  • Create a Relaxation Room Experience
  • Design Customized Swag Kits
  • Provide Complimentary Career Coaching

Leverage Experiential Marketing

An innovative way to approach conference sponsorship is by leveraging experiential marketing strategies. This involves creating unique and engaging experiences for attendees that promote the sponsor’s brand or product in a more subtle way. For example, instead of just having a booth at the conference, a sponsor could set up an interactive game or activity related to their product that attendees can participate in and win prizes. This not only creates buzz around the sponsor’s brand but also provides a memorable experience for attendees, making it more likely for them to remember and seek out that brand in the future.

Alex TaylorAlex Taylor
Head of Marketing, CrownTV

Collaborate with Local Artists

At a design conference, I witnessed a sponsor collaborate with local artists to create live art installations that incorporated their products in innovative ways. Attendees could watch art being created in real time and even participate in some interactive elements of the installation. This approach not only supported the local arts community but also showcased the sponsor’s products in a dynamic, creative context, engaging attendees in an unforgettable brand experience.

Hardy DesaiHardy Desai
Founder, Supple Digital

Create Interactive Product Demos

An innovative conference sponsorship approach I’ve observed involved a sponsor creating an interactive experience rather than just branding spaces. They set up a live product-demo area where attendees could use the product in real-world scenarios, providing instant feedback.

This not only increased the sponsor’s visibility but also fostered a deeper connection with the conference audience by offering a hands-on understanding of their product. It’s a strategy that turns passive observers into active participants, significantly enhancing the sponsorship impact.

Marco Genaro PalmaMarco Genaro Palma
Content Marketing Manager, PRLab

Introduce On-Demand Refreshment Carts

A sponsor at a business conference introduced on-demand refreshment carts that attendees could summon via an app to any location within the conference venue. Offering a selection of gourmet coffees, teas, and healthy snacks, these carts featured tablet displays showcasing the sponsor’s latest products and services. In my opinion, this unique service provided a memorable convenience to attendees, associating the sponsor’s brand with a positive, innovative experience.

Jim PendergastJim Pendergast
Senior Vice President, altLINE Sobanco

Organize Thought Leadership Workshops

Thought Leadership Workshops: As a sponsor, we organized seminars and workshops on thought leadership that gave conference-goers insightful information. We established ourselves as leaders in our sector and acquired the trust of our target audience by demonstrating our industry knowledge and providing practical solutions. We were able to interact with participants one-on-one and forge deep ties thanks to these interactive sessions.

Tim ParkerTim Parker
Director, Syntax Integration

Provide Real-Time Translation Services

At an international conference, I found a sponsor who provided real-time language translation services, including headsets for simultaneous interpretation during sessions. This service greatly improved the accessibility and inclusiveness of the event for non-English speakers. By facilitating seamless communication, the sponsor demonstrated a commitment to diversity and global engagement, enhancing the conference experience for a broader audience and associating their brand with inclusivity.

Ryan HammillRyan Hammill
Executive Director, Ancient Language Institute

Set Up a Live Podcast Booth

At a recent marketing conference, I witnessed a sponsor set up a live podcast recording booth where they interviewed industry leaders, speakers, and attendees about the latest trends and insights. This not only provided engaging content for the sponsor’s platform but also offered attendees a chance to gain visibility within their industry. The recordings were shared online with branding from the sponsor, creating a lasting resource that continued to promote the sponsor’s involvement post-conference.

Chad SultanaChad Sultana
Founder, Chad Sultana

Offer Unique Sponsorship Levels

With our biannual in-person events, we’ve provided and grown our unique sponsorship levels since we started hosting these all-day workshops in 2018, and have seen all spots committed, along with attendance typically being on a waitlist. All sponsors see their company logo on our website, receive the full registration list, and are included on our vendor bingo card, including our digital-only level for virtual sponsorship. The Gold level adds to that by giving our in-person sponsors a physical booth, and Platinum takes that one step further with sponsorship of either Registration, Breakfast, Lunch, or Happy Hour. The Diamond level, new in 2024, combines the benefits of all levels, their branding on all materials, and provides a 15-minute spot during the keynote to present on the unique things their company is doing in their field.

Chris Blackburn
Sponsorshop Coordinator, Minnesota Microsoft 365 User Group

Develop a Customized Conference App

I observed a sponsor for a business conference who developed a customized conference app. This app included schedules, speaker bios, and interactive maps, but what set it apart was the integration of a networking feature that allowed attendees to connect and set up meetings during the event.

The sponsor’s branding was subtly integrated throughout the app, ensuring constant exposure. This approach not only added value to the attendee experience but also positioned the sponsor as a forward-thinking leader in business solutions.

Tim WhiteTim White
Founder, milepro

Offer Free Professional Headshot Sessions

At a networking-focused conference, I encountered a sponsor who offered free professional headshot sessions, recognizing the value these images bring to attendees’ professional online profiles. This service provided immediate, tangible value, facilitating a direct and meaningful connection between the sponsor’s brand and the attendees’ professional image. As these high-quality headshots were used across LinkedIn and other professional networks, the sponsor’s brand gained extended visibility, associating it with professionalism and generosity.

Shawn PlummerShawn Plummer
CEO, The Annuity Expert

Create a Relaxation Room Experience

We recently monetized an event with a new sponsor who wanted something unique and separate from the main show floor. The product fits into the wellness space, so we pitched a relaxation room that was similar to a napnasium, where attendees could escape the show for a few minutes and have some quiet while experiencing the product from our sponsor.

The idea was hatched by simply talking to the sponsor and asking probing questions. Rather than pushing our menu of options and prices, we dialogued and bounced ideas off of one another.

It’s important to realize that sponsors have budgets and they have KPIs, or a specific goal in mind. Our job is to ask questions and listen. To find a win-win.

In the end, we doubled the cost of the highest menu option by thinking differently.

Brian KolbBrian Kolb
CEO, EVGmedia

Design Customized Swag Kits

Instead of the usual pens and notepads, I encountered a sponsor at a creative industry conference who designed customized swag kits. These kits included items like sketchbooks, artisanal snacks, and portable chargers, all packaged in a beautifully designed tote bag. Attendees could choose their items based on their preferences at the sponsor’s booth, making the swag feel more personal and valuable. This innovative approach to conference swag helped the sponsor stand out and provided attendees with useful items that kept the brand in mind long after the event.

Michael DonovanMichael Donovan
Co-Founder, Niche Twins

Provide Complimentary Career Coaching

Recognizing the professional development aspect of conferences, I saw a sponsor provide complimentary career coaching sessions for attendees. These one-on-one meetings offered personalized advice on career growth, resume building, and networking strategies, directly aligning with the sponsor’s brand as a leader in professional services. This thoughtful approach not only added significant value to the attendee experience but also built strong personal connections between the sponsor and potential clients.

Gillian DewarGillian Dewar
Chief Financial Officer, Crediful

Submit Your Answer

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