How to Create New and Innovative Revenue Streams for Show Organizers

by Scott Lebwohl, May 19, 2021

 

 

April 26, 2021 SMT expo webinar: Where to Find New Sources of Revenue

 

 

Questions/Comments That Were Unable To be Addressed During the Allotted Time of the Program

 

QUESTIONS

 

  1. There is lots of discussion now about the future of digital events. There is much speculation about offering a digital add-on to live events to provide a 24/7/365 event experience. Are there new revenue opportunities that can be gained by offering hybrid events and if so, what might you suggest?

The vital element of hybrid events is education content, it is not networking or the trade show experience. Offering a broad and deep education experience to your  hybrid event is an excellent bolt-on that adds significant value if you carefully construct truly compelling learning opportunities. You can’t conduct enough research of your current and prospective audience as a key element in your education programming design.

 

  1. Sponsorships represent a huge financial growth opportunity but too many show organizers do not understand the shift that has taken place in sponsorship sales. It’s no longer about Gold, Silver and Bronze categories; creating a “Sponsorship Opportunities Menu” and emailing it across your industry. Today it is built upon a foundation of personal relationships in which the show organizer reaches out to sponsor prospects and determines in a series of personal discussions what are the prospects marketing needs and objectives at your event. After the sale is made, ongoing communications with the sponsor are key to preserving engagement and broadening the financial commitment for future events.

 

The Internet has displaced the traditional way that show organizers secured sponsorship revenue. It is no longer important for most sponsor prospects to focus on       brand awareness. Most want face-to-face engagement with existing customers and/or prospective customers. Show organizers must reach out to sponsor prospects and  interview them with probing questions like, “what are your marketing objectives for your participation in our show?” Depending upon the answers to questions like this, you are then able to construct a sponsorship package that aligns well with a prospective sponsor’s expectations about your event.

 

  1. Should show organizers consider the benefits of adding a digital/hybrid host (emcee) who can bridge the gap between live events and digital/hybrid events. Check with espeakers.com for talent.

This is an excellent idea that can create a seamless hybrid experience for attendees. Having a guide on-site to help steer viewers online to key learning opportunities can ignite lots of  enthusiasm for your event among attendees.

 

  1. We sell sponsorships for virtual backgrounds for Zoom and other digital meeting platforms imprinted with the sponsor’s name and logo and/or marketing messaging.

This is another excellent idea. There may be four or five media events during a typical trade show and each backdrop could be customized to include both the name of the host organization/show name and the name and logo of the sponsor of one of the backdrops.

 

  1. We provide lunch during lengthier webinars/Zoom meetings by recruiting Uber Eats and/or Grub Hub as food delivery sponsors. The organization presenting the event makes a sponsorship agreement with the food delivery service(s) for reduced delivery costs to be paid for by the organization and/or a sponsor.

 

The logistics must be carefully planned out to ensure that food deliveries take place within traditional lunch-time hours. It is a novel idea and one that, if properly executed, could be a real differentiator, much to the credit of the host organization.

 

From webinar panelist Kelly Helfman, Commercial President, Informa Markets Fashion:

 

Ways in which we (Informa) bring in revenue besides just your traditional live event selling:

 

  • Audience Extension:  Offering services for our exhibitors to target their buyers online digitally through digital ad retargeting.  They get access to our database through this marketing service.  We sell them the program and get their ads. We then outsource the help to place their ads and follow our buyers online.  It is great lead generation, and they get all the new data for these targets!
  • Insurance:  We always have asked for proof of liability insurance but have never really monetized it.  Now, after the pandemic, these exhibitors need insurance more than ever to feel confident.  You can upsell and add to contracts, have a mark-up, and they feel covered should something happen again.  If you convert just half of your exhibitors, it adds substantial revenue.
  • Influencer Packages:  All our exhibitors are looking for creative ways to get more buyers or consumers.  No matter what industry you are in, influencer marketing needs to a part of your marketing plan.  Prepare packages and send out to your influencers to promote and drive awareness.