Why I Don't Attend, Exhibit or Sponsor Events

Posted by Jenise Fryatt on Mon, Oct 29, 2012 @ 06:03 PM


Dollar Bill on FireThe following is a guest blog article by Lindsay Fultz of LoveIt. If you are interested in guest blogging for Sound n' Sight, please read my guest blogging guidelines. And if you have any thoughts, please comment. Lindsay and I both would love to hear what you have to say!


Why I don’t attend, exhibit or sponsor events. Not proud of this but the events industry shouldn’t be either.

I’m an events industry baby. I first entered the industry in 2007 and I quickly climbed the ladder at a backdrop rental company. I attended and worked trade show floors across the country, sponsored events and started speaking on social media at these conferences. During the recession when budgets were being trimmed, the trade show budget remained the same. I love the industry, attending tweetups and most importantly I love the people within the events community.

While I am no longer directly employed by an event company, I am still an active event professional, speaking at various trade shows and conferences, a member of Event Method’s Product Council and as Marketing Manager at LoveIt, I arrange tweetups and *could be in the market to attend, exhibit and sponsor events but so far have chosen not to.

Events are bigger, making the cost higher for exhibitors, attendees and sponsors so that they can cover costs. No, I don’t want to sponsor your event - Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze. No, I don’t think spending thousands of dollars to have my company name on a lanyard, cocktail table, on swag bag, on sign at entrance, step and repeat, to be the name of the social media lounge with no wifi, for a shout out over loud intercom, insert in swag bag, ½ page ad in magazine or for a small mention in an e-blast or newsletter. Yes, I know you said you are open to ideas, will work with me, and can offer a crappy ala carte version of the above. I’m not an idiot. I’ll pass.

In the events industry, bigger events have led to what I like to call “Events Desperation” meaning not only higher costs all around but also more poorly targeted attendees, exhibitors,  and sponsors; crappier spray and pray marketing; and more ridiculous sponsorship options making the event irrelevant and of little to no value to my company no matter how much you sweeten the deal if I book early.   

What would make me attend, exhibit and sponsor?

Smaller, better targeted events. I’m not saying 10-20 people. I’m just saying if you can’t properly run a small - medium size event, don’t aim THAT high Willis. Actually, I think the smaller the event, the more money events can make. Exclusivity. Focus first on providing ROE for your attendees, exhibitors and sponsors and the ROI will come. Provide opportunities for everyone to engage - don’t just hold the attendee information hostage to make a buck.

Your sponsorship packages should include social, for example:
  • Sponsored Stories on Facebook (not directing people to your site but rather your sponsors) *Promoted Tweets (again, linking back to sponsors)
  • video Skype or Google+ hangout Q&A’s/interviews
  • blog posts and guest blog posts should be included and not for additional costs.
Many event bloggers are actively looking for guest bloggers. Help connect the dots. Pay it forward. Show that you are invested in providing ROE before, during and after the event. Don’t just be consumed with “are we locally trending on Twitter” when you don’t even promote others.

Lastly, the surveys that trade shows and events put out that report attendees, exhibitors and sponsors are at an all time high and claim “this is the BEST event yet, so book early!" are bullcrap. I was there. The show floor was dead 2 hours before the 1st day wrapped. I was at the tweetups and talked with other event professionals and exhibitors - that is not what I heard. That lame tactic will only work for so long. People talk. If you listen, you will gain valuable insight.

I could go on and on but why bother because it seems the people that need to listen are just too busy talking...

Lindsay FultzLindsay Fultz is the obsessive compulsive Middle Child of Middle Child New Media and Marketing Manager at a hot tech startup called LoveIt which launched in private beta May of 2012 and to the public  in June 2012. LoveIt is a new social discovery platform where you can search, discover and visually bookmark the web. Import, organize and curate your findings. Collaborate and share in public or private. LoveIt has been featured in Mashable, Forbes, USA Today, Techli and Univision. In 2011, Lindsay was named Social Media's Rising Star in the Events Industry by Event Solutions Magazine and One of the Top 42 Most Passionate Business Women on Twitter by the Huffington Post.
(Photo by Images_of_Money)

Tags: sponsorship, conferences, event planners, #eventprofs, meeting planners, event marketing