Suppose you are a company historically known for IT hardware and are a respected supplier of increasingly commoditized products for the IT organization. You are expanding into managed services and addressing business pain points and need to begin selling directly to senior business executives (some solutions may even be threatening to your historical IT audience). How do you drive sales of your new higher price point and more profitable services to a new business audience?
Best practices and guidelines can be valuable perspective, but the real difference maker is when you identify the opportunities that are uniquely right for your business and among the top marketing strategies, B2B sponsorship is an increasingly popular marketing technique used by most businesses to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. If done properly, this kind of sponsorship has the capability of assisting in generating consumer preference and making your brand to stand out in the crowded business environment.
Therefore, while sponsoring a conference might seem to be an opportunity which has no bounds, this blog particularly covers the major benefits that a brand can draw out of sponsoring a B2B event:
1. Brand Recall
It is one of those elusive concepts that every successful business should have, yet many struggle to cultivate. In the strictest sense of the word, brand recall is the extent to which a brand name is recalled as a member of a brand, product or service class, as distinct from brand recognition.
Through an event sponsorship, brands can showcase themselves through posters, lanyards, banners, brochures, standees etc and create an impression on the minds of the attendees. So, when the same name again pop-ups on the market, the chances for an attendee to recall the brand increases exponentially.
2. One-on-one Meetings
Conferences are one of the single best ways to network and attending conferences can be a step forward towards building new relationships. Besides bringing boatloads of business cards and collecting them from other people, brands can request for one-on-one meetings with top delegates of their choice to get a better chance at networking.
However, to derive the best out of these meetings is a responsibility and one should think of this meeting as the foundation of a prosperous and fruitful professional acquaintance (at least) or relationship (at best). Feel free to send your contact an interesting article or a follow-up note a few weeks down the line to highlight the major takeaways from your meeting.
3. Interactive Sessions
Interactive sessions have come a long way from being a “nice to have” to “a must” part of a conference. Gone are the days of just picking a speaker or selecting a presenter and letting them spend their allotted time talking over another hum-drum PowerPoint. These days, the audience is invited to participate through polls, surveys and quizzes at the end of the session to ensure their attention has been kept. A variety of apps and tools seamlessly incorporate these into sessions and brands can include their promotional activities within these polls and surveys to interact with the attendees, create awareness, get feedbacks or even to just strike a conversation.
4. Awards and Gifts
Promotional products and gift hampers have been in use as a cost-effective marketing tactic for years. Right from new businesses to big enterprises, these giveaways are marketers’ favorite and what better place to organize a contest and distribute prizes than a room full of potential customers? Sponsors can organize small competitions to engage their audience and distribute gits and merchandises to the winners. This single strategy can work in multiple ways of brand promotion by spreading awareness around the products, increasing audience engagement, sending across a message and who does not like a free gift?
5. Industry Media
There might be many reasons why a brand would decide to sponsor a particular event to be it a part of their CSR activities, or reaching their target audience. Irrespective of the purpose, a brand can leverage out of the PR and digital media activities of an event in order to create the right amount of buzz before, during and after the event.
From social media mentions to ‘save-the-date’ reminder to emailing all the exclusive deals at the stalls including reasons to attend the conference drives the audience to like and attend the event as well as promotes the brand name to a much wider group of people.
6. Learning from the experts
In today’s world where there are great ways to learn and sharpen your skill like reading blogs, watching videos, listening to podcasts, attending webinars, just to name a few, you would wonder why is a face-to-face event crucial to a business strategy? Perhaps because so many businesses rely heavily on contractors, freelancers, and remote workers, leaving fewer peers in-house for strategy sessions and brainstorming. In fact, more than one-half of decision makers in any business prefer in-person communication for strategic advice, making events a valuable channel in a marketing strategy. Events offer multiple touch points for sharing content and conversations before, during and after the event.
Though 40% of global B2B marketing budgets get invested in events, the need is to change the way we look at these events where they were once a method of Con-tainment i.e. keeping a captive audience to yourself in an enclosed space. Events are evidently becoming more useful as an explosive creative device. Think of them as a stage for crowdsourced ideas from outside the 4 walls of your business and the programmed thinking of your organization.