Many software and technology resellers, partners, service providers, and ISVs participate in the potentially dozens of industry events each year. But how do they decide which events to sponsor, or which ones to just attend? How much of their budget are they allocating toward events? A team of marketing experts joined the Channel Marketing Academy to discuss their companies’ best practices for event success, and now we’re here to share them with you!  

First and foremost, let’s discuss the ideal number of events to sponsor/attend (if there is one)! 

How Many Events Should You Sponsor Each Year?  

As with any industry, though especially in the channel, there are big industry events that happen every year. Traditionally, anyone who was anyone in the industry would be seen at these events – likely with an extravagant booth and their entire sales team.  

If your company is taking an “all-in” approach and trying to increase visibility to your company, your product, your services, etc., then these are the events to attend. They have the most visibility, and the highest opportunity to connect with your audience and others in the industry—opening opportunities for partnerships, joint marketing campaigns, and overall getting the word out there. 

Smaller events (either company-hosted or industry-specific, as examples) can be just as valuable, however, and possibly more accessible if you’re working with a smaller budget (we’ll talk about that in a moment). These events have smaller audiences, so less people to connect with, but they can likely be more focused! Think quality over quantity in events like this.  

No matter your company’s strategy, there’s value in every kind and size of event – and there are no wrong answers for how many to sponsor or attend! 

How Much Budget Should You Allocate To Events? 

Standard best practices dictate allocating 10-20% of your marketing budget to events, though experienced marketers know it isn’t always such an easy answer.  

This budget can include branding like signs, banners, swag/giveaways. These things are overarching, reusable, and often purchased in bulk to be used throughout many events.  

As for deciding whether the budget for an event is worth it, our marketers recommend asking a few questions: 

  1. How many leads are you expecting, and how will you get them? Are you receiving a copy of the attendee list (which is often considered the most valuable form of lead acquisition)? Will you have a scanner to gain people’s information, or will you have to take notes? All important questions to ask. 
  1. Will you have any dedicated time to get people’s attention, such as a session? Sessions are a valuable way to promote your company or services to a captive audience. 
  1. How many days is the event? How much time with the attendees are you paying for? 
  1. Does the sponsorship fee include company registrations? How many team members can you bring? 

The answers to questions like these can help you determine whether the cost of an event is worth it to your company.  

How To Plan for Events. 

While some companies have an entire event team dedicated to planning, booking, and scheduling events, that is not the case for all. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to work events into your schedule.  

Remember those big industry events we talked about earlier? Events like this usually come with a long to-do list full of deadlines, collateral requests, and more. While it can be a lot of work, these lists are invaluable and make it easy for you to work these things into your schedule. Most companies start planning these events 4-6 months in advance, though sometimes more. 

Smaller events are less of a time investment, and can be more “down and dirty.” Usually, these events include a table, a banner, some swag, and putting a couple team members on a plane. Planning for these will typically only take a few weeks.  

Conclusion 

While many things change in the channel, one thing remains the same: the value of in-person events. There’s nothing quite like connecting with your community in person. While we hope this blog provided you with some food for thought on choosing which events to attend, the most important advice we have to give is this: do what’s right for your business. 

Every company has different budgets, different number of team members, and different schedules. Event season isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario, it’s okay to be selective with where you’re putting your marketing dollars, and where you’re sending your team. We hope that you consider some of the questions and scenarios we posed in this blog when deciding which events are right for you. 

To hear more events best practices from industry experts, watch the recording for the January Marketing Group Chat below.

 

 

We hope you learned a few new best practices for event success. Looking for more industry insight on events, or any other kind of channel marketing? Visit The Partner Marketing Group blog for more!

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