Sponsoring an event or a conference is a key strategic step for an organization. Choosing the right platform can give your organization the stepping stone for growth.
Picking an event that meets your line of business gives you the right branding, gives your messaging the right visibility and your team the right opportunity to create a healthy lead funnel.
However, if the planning is not done right, the same event could knock you off the ground and send you back to point. Let's not forget that big budgets are spent in materializing the event, planning for it and executing it.
Having had the opportunity to be a part of the core team for multiple events from across the globe, I can confidently say that if you have worked on the points listed here, you are on to a successful event!
Get the Booth Location Right
Your booth location can make or break the event for you. It is always wise to book for sponsorship opportunities well in advance so you can have a request for a location of your choice. If you know that a technology or vendor partners are a part of the event, you could pick a location in the same zone. It could complement both of your services. Also watch out for entrances, exits and stay away from food kiosks and food tables. Those areas get crowded and not for the right reasons.
Have a Central Message and a Theme
It is essential for you to build on a theme and messaging for the event. The messaging must de-clutter you from your competition. If the event you are participating in is a closed-door one with the captive audience, this messaging becomes all the more critical. The theme you pick needs to be in line with the event and should resonate with the product/service you are representing. Ensure that your team is well versed with the theme and messaging and can pitch it to prospects. Having a messaging just for the sake of it never works. Let it be something your organization truly believes in and can assure results from.
Hand Out Freebies, but Do it Right
Many organizations make the mistake of handing out freebies or giveaways as a means to open conversations. In my opinion, they should be used to close a conversation. This way you can gauge the opportunity and the prospect and use the giveaway wisely. Sometimes you use the giveaway to end a conversation with a potential competitor and other times you can use the giveaway as a reminder for a qualified lead.
Make the Booth Look Welcoming
Two factors will determine how your booth looks. First is the signage and overall branding of the booth and second is the appearance and body language of your team representing your organization.
Be careful to place your messaging, logos and organization name above shoulder height so it's visible even from a distance. Usually, booths get crowded and any branding placed at a low height gets hidden. Keep the booth neat at all times, do not clutter with unnecessary stationery and have your sales collaterals handy at all times.
The representing team is the face and voice of your organization. Have them equipped with the right tools and information so they can take decisions. Empower them to steer qualified conversations towards the desired results. Having industry statistics and news handy can help initiate interesting conversations so use the backend team to feed those to them. Make sure they are dressed well, look sharp and wear smiles!
Check & Cross Check
Planning an event can be daunting. Most events now use online tools and dashboards to notify you on deadlines, upcoming "to-dos" and modifications in agenda. Have them handy. If there is an app for the event, download it and check in once a day until the event. Any missed deadlines may have critical repercussions for your brand. It is always useful to know the planning team from the organizer's side. They can be of a great help in case there are any pitfalls.
Consider making a master checklist and guide on managing events. This can be an open google document that all stakeholders can contribute for. Over a period of time, this will be a critical go to document when new teams come in and bigger events are planned.
Have an eventful year and go get 'em!