Radio Sales Today

RAB Sales Tips

How to maximize sponsorships

My son Carver loves attending trade shows. Whether aviation-related, tech-related or whatever the theme, we love walking the exhibit halls and seeing what's new. Oddly, we have a nasty habit of evaluating the booth owners and their effectiveness. It seems amazing how some companies spend thousands of dollars to be at an event, and the best they can do is a six-foot table with a bowl of LifeSavers and a booth attendant sitting behind the table looking bored.

We can do better, our clients can do better and we can help. As we head into the summer season of events, whether they are industry events, chamber events and sponsored events that you organize, many marketers are waking up to the potential power of events.

EventMobi tells us there are four primary reasons events are attractive to brands:

Interactive: Events create an opportunity for dialogue between brands and consumers.

Emotional: Events tap into topics, themes and causes that consumers are passionate about.

Relevant: Consumers are at events because they choose to be there and are looking to gain from their experience.

Immersive: Sponsors can make an impact on brand awareness through multiple touchpoints and components throughout the event.

A newsletter we follow from Multiview (our Radio Sales Today email distributor) is called MultiBriefs. They suggest that you help your sponsors become thought leaders. Thought leadership is not a new concept, but the application to sponsorships and event attendance was intriguing. You can read the full article here.

Based on that article and other research, here are five things you can do to increase the impact of events you attend, and you can share these with your clients:

Have a plan. Don't just show up. There must be a reason you decided to participate in the event. What are you trying to accomplish? Do you have goals, targeted prospects, an engaging booth, and strong visual appeal? Get OUT from behind the table. Carver and I always smile when walking down an aisle and someone stands in front of the table, engaging people as they walk by — asking questions, joking around, and just trying to build rapport.

Create engagement. You should create an atmosphere where people want to engage. A pinball machine, looping video, cards to flip over to reveal interesting facts, whatever your budget allows. (Hint: a candy dish or PopSockets are not enough)

Smile and act like you're happy to be there. Seems obvious right? Notice at the next event how many people are sitting behind the booth, texting, surfing the web or generally looking bored to be there. If you’re bored, how can you expect customers to be excited?

Follow-up. I hate to admit it, but I have a drawer filled with business cards I've collected at various events. Sometimes I'm excellent at writing thank-you notes on the plane ride home. Other times all those connections go to waste because I get distracted and move on to other things. Follow-up is critical to maximizing relationship building. You're not the only person they met there, either. Connecting on LinkedIn or other social media sites, a hand-written thank-you note or a phone call to tell them how much you enjoyed meeting them will help you stand out.

If you're hosting an event, sharing these tips with your booth sponsors can help them maximize their investment in your event, making renewals easy. The common theme in all of this is planning and goal setting. Take your expertise in planning and goal setting from your personal sales achievement and put those skills to work to help your company and clients plan and set goals for event attendance.

See you on the road!

Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at You can all so connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, SVP of Professional Development, RAB