Sponsorship can be a powerful enhancement to an exhibit program and to your brand promise. The more you can integrate all elements of your program into a cohesive experience for your target audience, the higher the impact of your face-to-face marketing.
For the past three years, Access has sponsored CTSM program activities at EXHIBITORLIVE. As we pointed out in a blog post from last year, the impetus for this sponsorship was studying the show audit (a best practice no matter what show you attend!) and determining that twenty percent of the attendees were our target audience: people enrolled in the CTSM program who, for the most part, are corporate exhibitors. Not only are they corporate exhibitors, but they are serious about their exhibit programs as well as their careers—and they view education as the path to success in both areas.
2018 marked the third year that we sponsored these activities, and the strategy we developed three years ago still held:
- Reserve a space on the floor away from our competitors—every year that puts us in the rear of the hall in a relatively small inline booth.
- Focus on the CTSM program,the candidates, and graduates rather than on Access.
- Promote the fact that our own people are either graduates of or are enrolled in the CTSM program.
But the tactics changed!
You want THAT space???
Reserving what appears to be an undesirable space gives us the chance to show our marketing chops. Word of mouth, signage, and integration of all our program elements demonstrates that no matter where you are on the floor, if you have the right mix of message and experience, your target audience will find you.
It’s not about us
In the past, our space has functioned as a lounge for the CTSM group, a respite from the rest of the show floor. This year, in addition to being a destination for our market, we used a Super Hero theme to create word of mouth buzz and a fun identity for our market. To accomplish this, we used a variety of tactics pre-show and at show-site.
- The month before the show, we published a blog post saluting our “super heroes.”
- The month of the show, we ran a super hero themed ad in Exhibitor Magazine.
- That same month, we also issued a press release, announcing our sponsorship of the CTSM activities at EXHIBITORLIVE.
- We sponsored the CTSM awards dinner, a celebration of exhibitor education.
- Our sponsorship included banner stands in the exhibit hall, outside the CTSM offices, and at the CTSM awards dinner. There was no doubt we considered people enrolled in the CTSM program super heroes.
- Our exhibit was a retro-comic book rendition of the Hall of Justice, and visitors could take advantage of two unique features:
- We offered Thai rolled ice-cream, which allowed us time to talk to attendees while we watched the compelling ice cream rolling process. It was also very yummy.
- We provided a photo op: hanging in the “phone booth” were two super hero capes with a bold CTSM logo on the back. Our target audience wore these capes for photos and provided terrific social media postings.
Meanwhile, two of our people who have achieved their CTSM certification—and are going beyond that to higher levels—were on hand to discuss the program with exhibit visitors who wanted first-hand information.
In addition to sponsoring the awards dinner, we sponsored the Sunday lunch where we invited people to stop at the exhibit to enter their names in a drawing for an All-Access Pass to FastTrak Providence, another CTSM activity which we are sponsoring this summer.
We also sponsored the show bags, attractive red backpacks emblazoned with the Access logo. An unexpected advantage with this sponsorship was that only the people enrolled in the CTSM program received the bags, so it was easy for us to identify our target market without staring at badges.
Aligning the Access brand with CTSM was our primary goal at EXHIBITORLIVE and we certainly accomplished that. Moreover, many CTSM people came by on the last day to thank us for our continuing support.
The impact of the exhibit cannot be overstated, but because we mounted super graphics on rental components, our presence was very budget friendly—or as we like to say, “less structure, more impact!”