Tradeshow sponsorship is a time-honored strategy that marketers use to gain exposure for their brand, and it’s clear why. Tradeshows are attended by notable people across many scientific industries each year, and sponsorships are tried-and-true vehicles for getting in front of this highly targeted – and sought after – audience.
Sponsorship is just a means for your organization to take advantage of direct brand placement, getting your brand in front of key industry players year-round, and linking your business offerings to innovation and thought leadership. While event sponsorship is an effective marketing vehicle, it need not be limited to tradeshows to have brand impact on audience behavior. In addition to conference events, marketers can also sponsor awards programs, community-oriented initiatives, informative content, speaking engagements, webinars, and more. Here we provide ideas for sponsorship opportunities that you may not have considered.
Sponsorships Around Content
Where do your potential customers turn for reliable information? If they are reading publications, either in print or online, they are looking for expertise on topics that interest them. One content sponsorship opportunity for your company is to place native advertising. Native advertising is sponsored or branded content that is integrated into publications and websites in a very natural, unintrusive way. Sometimes this content takes the form of a print advertorial, or paid editorial spot. Other times, it can appear as a video, a lightly branded infographic, or a promoted search result.
Many publications, including C&EN, offer opportunities to sponsor content and advertorials and can help connect your brand with topics readers care about most. Plus, this year is the International Year of the Periodic Table, or IYPT, and chemists around the world are on board for the celebration. C&EN has been running contests, like #ISpyAPeriodicTable, and releasing content from the archives every month, among other elements. See the full schedule and sponsorship opportunities here.
— Felicia Lim (@Felicia5562) January 14, 2019
Content hubs present another content sponsorship opportunity—think of it as sponsoring a microsite or dedicated landing page for a specific industry topic. This kind of page presents a mix of true editorial and sponsored content, making it more authentic and, therefore, relevant to its intended audience. Your sponsorship of a dedicated web page lends to your brand recognition and thought leadership around a particular topic or area.
More than One Way to Sponsor a Webinar
Publications, like ours, also use webinars to help scientists learn about new topics or trends important to their work. Scientists are busy and may be more inclined to attend an online event or seminar instead of an in-person meeting. Webinars focused around highly engaging content– or high-profile speakers– attract a pool of high-value prospects, which provides great exposure for your brand.
Webinar sponsorships vary in their costs and capabilities, but most offer lead generation, as well as inclusion of branding in all promotional materials. There are usually two ways a webinar can go: It’s very common to feature a subject matter expert from your organization as a webinar speaker. These interactive sessions allow your organization’s experts to showcase their thought leadership and benefit from real-time discussion with an engaged audience. The other way involves a little less leg work from your end: sponsoring an editorially-led webinar. These webinars are driven by the publication, and therefore, they remain in control of the content and the topic. Its value to you then? Associating your brand with the authority of this media outlet, their highly-valued sources, and the community brand building around your financial support that brought this content to readers.
And the Winner is… Awards Programs
Each year, trade publications and professional associations hold awards programs and ceremonies to select and honor the brightest minds making significant contributions to the advancement of science.
In some ways, it may seem counterintuitive. Why would you sponsor someone else’s awards contest or ceremony? While awards do celebrate personal accomplishments or broad achievements by companies or industries, associating yourself with these efforts can make your brand appear to be a pillar of industry know-how. During the contest, sponsorship shows leadership by association. At the awards ceremony or in the online announcement of winners, it compounds this leadership perception by playing a role, or having the perception of a role, in deciding who are the most innovative, interesting and accomplished people in your field. It’s subtle, but very effective.
Organizations can either hold their own awards programs or sponsor existing awards programs. Typically, these awards are presented annually and involve a formal reception to recognize the honorees. Because the top individuals in the field are invited, sponsoring an award ceremony allows organizations to display their brand and create positive association among influential thought leaders. Bibiana Campos Seijo, our editor in chief, highlights Thermo Fisher’s sponsorship of our own C&EN’s Talented 12 program in her latest Editor’s Desk letter.
Most people have limited bandwidth for online advertising, but those same people will diligently sit through an awards ceremony for the entertainment value. Who doesn’t love a good speech? (Even better, who doesn’t love to be there for an epically bad one?) The role of entertainment in sponsorship makes awards a great choice for sponsors. And you’ll have a captive audience. Ever sat through four hours of the Oscars just to see who won Best Picture? Exactly.
In addition, corporate sponsors often receive prime logo placement in promotional materials, an exhibit space during the ceremony, and even free entry tickets. The ability to be physically present, both with your brand and people, at an awards program can lead to a strengthened brand image.
Charitable organizations are often looking for corporate sponsors to offset the costs of running their event so they can raise as much money as possible for the cause. These events range from athletic activities like races to social engagements such as galas and cocktail receptions.
Sponsoring a charitable event can be a powerful way to raise brand awareness, foster positive press, and build relationships with the science community. For example, B2B companies may choose to support events associated with educating the youth in STEM or encouraging girls and women to become scientists. Or perhaps your company develops tools for cancer research. There are charitable organizations that raise money for research in nearly every disease area. Use an online platform such as Charity Navigator to learn about groups that align with the cause you want to support.
Because companies are so often portrayed being profit-driven, your organization’s involvement with a charity doing good for the broader field shows that your company cares about more than dollars. But the key here is to be authentic: you should be passionate about the cause that you’re supporting, not just in it for the brand recognition.
Final Word on Sponsorships
Although tradeshows provide ample opportunities for sponsorship, there are additional options for creating visibility for your brand among your audience. Explore these sponsorship opportunities to stand apart from the crowd of competitors, enhance your brand’s image, and establish your company as a force in the market.Keywords: advertorials, awards, editorial, event marketing, native advertising, sponsored content, sponsorship, trade shows, Webinars