Many exhibition organizers still thrive on selling traditional event sponsorships like banners and brownie breaks. But event technology is helping them expand the inventory of sponsorship offerings and reward sponsors with positive brand associations or data.

Back when event technology really began to emerge, many organizers were apprehensive. They were nervous about the cost and the complexity, not to mention the fear that the technology might not even work.

Nevertheless, sponsors helped event planners implement some of the innovation. And the few sponsors that signed on early to technology sponsorships were rewarded because they captured the attention of intrigued attendees.

Technology sponsorships fall into two categories:

On-Demand Services. Some amenities (WiFi, digital maps and floor plans, way-finders, conference agendas, and device chargers, for instance) are always popular because they are a basic necessity for attendees. Sponsors foster goodwill when they associate their brands with meeting these types of needs.

Data Acquisition. The digital capabilities—collecting email addresses, poll responses, or behavioral data, for example—associated with event technology sponsorships set them apart from their analog counterparts. An afternoon ice cream bar can leave a nice impression, but it can’t help a sponsor perform product research or build its database.

Give the people what they want

It is safe to say that there are a handful of amenities that no conference or trade show can afford to do without. The smartest sponsors know that and benefit when they sponsor these must-have technologies:

WiFi: For most attendees, an event without Internet access is a deal breaker. Advances in WiFi technology make it possible for event organizers to offset the cost of WiFi through sponsorship. As a result, event WiFi sponsorships are among the most popular offerings.

Charging Stations: Convention centers will never have enough electrical outlets. That’s why some smart technology companies invented kiosks that can charge smartphones and laptops. Sponsors love them because they provide exposure (most can be branded or wrapped), tell a story (some have video screens), or collect information (a few models can gather email addresses or survey responses).

Mobile Apps: More organizers are leveraging the desire for attendees to access the event schedule, exhibitor list, and their peers quickly and easily with a single, comprehensive mobile application. The more robust the conference app is, the more sponsorship opportunities can be placed within it. Sponsors want to be the first thing attendees see when they open the app. They also want the clickthroughs users generate as they navigate through the app’s features.

Sponsors are falling in love with the data from digital technologies.

One of the reasons digital technologies are more valuable to sponsors than their non-digital predecessors is because they deliver business intelligence. It takes some creativity to give them more than just clicks, but it’s possible with these examples:

  • Game applications can compel players to take specific actions (visit a booth, complete a survey, or swipe a badge to cast a vote on a new product design, for example).
  • Digital swag walls ask attendees for email addresses in exchange for coupons and discounts.
  • Lead-capture applications enable sponsors to gather specific information from prospects in sponsored presentations or VIP lounges and events within the event.
  • WiFi platforms allow sponsors to see the behaviors and preferences of attendees, if sponsorships include a user report, which is definitely something you want to ask for before agreeing to the sponsorship.

Event technologies represent the new frontier for sponsorship. While traditional sponsorship offerings are effective and desirable in their own ways, they can’t compete with the flexibility, measurability, and usability of event technology sponsorships. For more information on how to use event technology to meet sponsor objectives, contact the team at