There is no one answer to this question when it comes to exhibiting at a conference, attending an event, etc. However, there are questions you can ask yourself before you decide to attend/exhibit.
1. What is your ideal client profile?
Before you even start to look at attending events, you’ll definitely want to define your ideal client profile. What is their job title? What is their demographic? Where are they located? Once you have these details figured out, you will be able to get better clarity about conferences at which you might want to exhibit. (read more about that here.)
2. Who are the attendees? What is the content of the event?
This is pretty self-explanatory, but you definitely want to ensure that the event audience aligns with your ideal client profile. You’ll also want to check on the content of the conference to see if it aligns with the message you’re wanting to discuss with your prospects.
3. What do you get as a sponsor?
If the event audience aligns with who you’re looking to prospect, then you’ll want to take some time to see what you get at different levels of sponsorship. Do you get a booth? Do you have access to the list of attendees? Do you get promotion online, publications, etc.? How is that tracked?
You want to get the MOST out of any sponsorship so don’t be afraid to talk to the sponsorship sales folks to make sure you negotiate the best outcome for you and your agency.
4. What is your goal for the event? What do you want to accomplish?
This could be the most important aspect of deciding whether or not to exhibit at a conference. If you don’t have a clear goal going into it, you might as well not spend your hard-earned money. This can be as simple as saying I want to get 50 new leads, or set 5 legitimate appointments, etc. It doesn’t have to be something giant, just something that’s going to lead to a healthier pipeline.
5. What are you going to measure to judge success from the event?
Similar to setting goals, you’ll also have to have a follow-up plan post-event. You might receive 100 leads, but then what? What is your plan of action post-event to ensure it was successful? If you’ve got a team of brokers, who’s on first?
Essentially, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail when it comes to sponsoring a conference. Don’t just assume that because your ideal prospects will be attending that it will be an automatic success. You’ve got to do your research, evaluate the sponsorship opportunities, and create a pre and post-conference strategy to ensure it will be successful.