Usually I like to use our blog as an opportunity to teach so that others can learn from our experience. But in this case I am hoping this post will generate some discussion because this is a topic I don’t have an answer to and would love to know what you think.
I have noticed recently that at the end of the event, a large number of people hand their lanyards back before leaving. Great for recycling, not so great for the sponsor. The whole point of the sponsor being the lanyard sponsor is exposure. Their hope, I would think, is that people take their lanyards with them and use them outside of the conference so that others see their name.
I didn’t do a count but I would say that at our last conference, of the 500+ attendees, we had 60+ people hand back their lanyards. I know that number seems low but let’s also assume that another 200+ of those people will chuck the lanyard in the garbage when they get back to the office. That leaves us with only potentially half the attendees using the lanyards after the event and other people potentially seeing them and the sponsor’s name.
I know that if I was a sponsor I would be sad to see people handing back something I had paid to give to them. I would be wondering if that sponsorship had the value I had planned. Would I get out of it what I had put in?
A few positives to a lanyard sponsorship:
- The lanyards will appear in every picture taken at the event. Those photos will be posted on the website and on social media providing a potentially great reach.
- The sponsor’s name was one of the first things the attendees saw when they arrived at the event because they get their name badge at registration.
A lanyard sponsorship will run a sponsor about $3000 and up. Can you earn back the $3000+ value from that exposure?
What about activating that sponsorship? Is there a way you could bring that sponsorship to life and create a connection with the attendees that will go beyond your name hanging around their neck for 2 days? What about:
- personally handing out at the lanyards at registration?
- creating a photo contest using the lanyard as the focus of the photo with a witty hashtag to go with it?
My gut feeling on this is that we should get away from this being an offering and go with providing plain black lanyards (no branding) and help the sponsor to redirect that money elsewhere.
I don’t know, I am really struggling with this as a viable sponsorship offering. I would love to know what you think.