If you want to stand out from the crowd, and create an emotional commitment to a brand, a sponsorship is a great way to go. Not only can it support new campaigns or products on the floor, a well-placed sponsorship allows your client’s branding to be carried home by attendees after the show is over. Not only that, if the trade show you’re attending has good media support, a sponsorship has the potential to extend your client’s brand past the trade show floor and into the larger community.

Here are 6 ways to make your sponsorship impactful!


When considering a sponsorship, make sure it’s aligned to your goals for the trade show. Are you trying to generate as much positive attention on social media as possible? Make sure your sponsorship incorporates the appropriate hashtags and URLs. Want to get attendees to visit your booth? Make sure your sponsorship lets attendees know where you are, and give them encouragement to seek you out. Focus on the quality and not just the quantity of the brand impressions, and you’re sure to exceed your goals.


That said, the goal of any effective sponsorship is to get your branding out to as many attendees as possible. Everyone who attends the trade show should experience an effective sponsorship. For example, sponsorship materials that are included in the attendees hotel drop may seem ideal, but the only ones getting your gifts are the out of town visitors. If these attendees are the ones you most want to impress, then it may be a very worthwhile sponsorship. But, if the sponsorship doesn’t reach key local attendees, then a hotel drop sponsorship may not be your best investment.


Attendees are inundated with flyers and promotional materials throughout the day, and chances are they’ll be among the first things that wind up in the trash. A good sponsorship should be memorable. Lanyards and badges are often a great choice because not only are they indispensable and frequently seen during the event, they’re tactile and many will take them home as a reminder of their experience. Another way to be remembered is to sponsor a lunch or dinner opportunity. Attendees may not remember every booth that they’ve seen, but after a long day on the floor, many will remember the free meal that gave them the strength to get through the rest of the trade show. If you are struggling to come up with ideas, the internet is a great place to look.

Ford lunch sponsorship at NTEA & coffee at Buscon

Ford lunch sponsorship at NTEA & coffee at Buscon


The goal of a sponsorship is to make your brand stand out, but for that to work, you need to make sure your name doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. For example, if you decide to pay for your branding to be placed on every attendees media bag, is yours the only name on the bag, or are you sharing that real estate with 3 other brands?

This can also extend to how much you budget for your sponsorship. If you’re facing minimal competition at a trade show, you probably don’t need to spend more than 5 percent of your budget on a sponsorship. If you’re facing a crowded field, spending up to 15 percent of your budget on a sponsorship might be the best way to stand out from the crowd.


If your sponsorship takes the form of a branded giveaway item, make sure that it’s something that your attendees will want to take home with them. If your client is selling cookware or children’s fashions, chances are that an emergency roadside kit won’t be that well received. On the other hand, if you’re marketing trucks and heavy equipment to the construction industry, branded work gloves or lunchboxes with thermoses might be the way to go.


Perhaps the biggest part of an effective sponsorship is getting the maximum value for your budget. Some trade shows will send a booklet with an a la carte breakdown of sponsorships. But these are often short of specifics. Instead, look at sponsorship packages that break down what you’re getting in as much detail as possible. The more you understand what your sponsorship entails, the better you’ll be able to leverage it to draw attendees, and achieve your trade show goals. If you don’t find a sponsorship that is right for you, call the sponsorship manager and ask if you can create a customized sponsorship. This gives you the freedom to design a sponsorship that aligns with your brand or your exhibit theme. And if you are looking to create some extra buzz, you may consider enlisting help from an agency to create a sponsored experience.


Mary Kemmer, CTSM

Operations Manager