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Doing Sponsoring RIGHT! What to Do & What to Avoid

by Jim Cermak

Let’s dive into today’s topic which is Doing Sponsoring RIGHT!

Before I get started going through the various types of sponsorships available, you need to figure out why you want to invest in sponsoring at a show.

How will your company benefit?

What are your goals?

Sponsorship opportunities can be from cheap to expensive, but most are usually a lot of money relatively speaking. You could actually spend more on sponsorship than you do for your booth space! So before you pick the type of sponsorship you need to figure out why.

There are three main reasons why you should sponsor.

  1. To support the organization putting on the event

  2. For marketing purposes

  3. For branding

If you choose to sponsor for marketing or branding, then you need to figure out how to set goals and measure your ROI.

Also – is the audience at this show your ideal target audience? If no, or you’re not sure, then you can be throwing money away on marketing to people who will not be buying from you. Invest your sponsorship money at shows that have the most of your ideal customers and prospects there.

Also important:

What all are you getting for your sponsorship dollars?

How will the show be supporting you?

Will they be also mentioning your sponsorship on their website, in the show program, on signage at the show, or in pre-show and post-show marketing?

NOW…take time to think about the shows you have been to. Think about the sponsorships you have seen or remember. Maybe a company-sponsored lunch or networking event. Or the logo you find on the lanyards everyone is wearing. And there’s so many more. Which made an impact?

Do you remember the sponsors? Did they do anything special?

Now if you have committed to sponsoring an event, here are the things you MUST consider and implement to maximize your results.

If doing a product – lanyards, show bags, water bottles, etc. – make sure it's something that will get a lot of impressions. Everyone wears lanyards, and most people will be carrying around the show bags so your logo will be seen a lot during and after the show. Pass on water bottles or any other consumables or things that will be discarded.

If doing an event – like sponsoring a lunch, dinner, or networking event – make sure you have the opportunity to address the people in the event, to thank them for coming, and to give yourself as many opportunities to get your name and brand out there.

Here’s the deal – you have a room full of people who are there to have a good time. You need to work that room! Give an introductory speech. Have your people go around and thank people for coming. Have everyone leave with a special giveaway or goodie bag or promo offer.

So many of these events are just a banner by the entrance with a company logo. Nobody remembers who sponsored these and there will not be a positive ROI at all.

If doing an in-show promo – like a snack break or passport game, again make the most of it! Many shows offer snack breaks, ice cream breaks, coffee bars, and more. If you sponsor one of these, work it like you would a networking event. Get creative!

One of my favorites is the passport game – or sometimes it's Bingo or some other game where people get some sort of a card or booklet that they have to fill up. And usually, if they fill it up, they get put into a drawing for prizes. Now everyone who wants to play is forced to stop at your booth and get a stamp or sticker to complete their passport. Many exhibitors totally screw this up and let me tell you how. People come up and ask for their stickers, and the exhibitor just hands out the sticker and lets the attendee walk away. If this is you, you are missing a golden opportunity!!

I like this game because I know I’m going to get a ton of people seeking out my booth who may have normally passed it right by. I paid good money to be part of this game, and if I just hand out stickers then I have completely wasted that money. What I do, and I strongly recommend you do, is to make sure that person does something to get the sticker. Now I’m not saying you have to make them sit through a 15-minute demo. But you do want to find out if they’re a potential customer! So ask qualifying questions and if they’re qualified, capture their information. I have gotten some solid leads doing this!

Please let me know…

  • Do you use Sponsorships?

  • What works for you?

  • What doesn’t work?

  • What have you been wanting to try?

  • What have you seen that has made an impact?

Send me an email at with your answers!!

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