If you own your business or are the head of a marketing, sales and/or catering team, then chances are you’ve been approached with a barter or marketing opportunity. There are countless opportunist in our industry that know how to sell you on the future return of hosting their event for free. And the promise of more exposure, future clients and other pointless opportunities are usually the reasons we say yes. Why is that? Well my suspicion is because those things are hard to measure at the time of making your decision. It’s not until after the event you realize you’ll never see a return on the time and money spent on that so-called promotional event.
Lucky for you, I’ve been in this boat countless times and have gotten better at checking off a few key requirements before agreeing to such opportunities. Below are 5 key points to consider and discuss with the person presenting this opportunity before deciding if a promotional opportunity will provide a return that’s worth your while.
1. Your Desire - What do you want? Rate your business from 0 to 10. Consider your concept, your clientele and your services. Then do the same for who you consider your biggest competitor from 0 to 10. Finally, rate where you think you’ll be after doing this event. Does your number go higher? Meaning do more people know about you that you didn’t previously have access to? Are those people in need of your services?
2. Your Time - How many hours will you have to dedicate to this project in order to make it successful? And if you had to charge a client for that kind of work, what would you charge? That number is your opportunity cost – the loss of potential gain from other opportunities once you commit to this one.
3. Your Costs – Once you’ve figured out your opportunity cost, add that to your hard costs. Are there staff members you will have to assign to this project? Will you have to purchase or rent anything for this? You want to make sure your brand is properly displayed so there are ALWAYS advertising costs associated with promotional events i.e. media backdrop for photos, swag bag, etc…
4. Your Return – Are there any immediate benefits? The promise of potential clientele is a future benefit. Running a promotion at the event and incentivizing people to sign up for the promotion right there is an immediate benefit.
5. Your Partner – The person pitching you this promotional event should be looked at as your partner on this project. What are this person’s credentials? Do you stain to gain any “industry cred” by working with this person or event? Has this event been held before and if so, would the past event meet your goal had you been involved?
If after asking these questions, you still can’t decide if this is a good opportunity for you or not, email me. Seriously, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ve been the victim [synonym] too many times of opportunities that seemed too good to be true and other times, I’ve done events like these that didn’t yield any financial return but the opportunity to be a part of the event was worth it. I wish I had someone to help me when I didn’t know the difference between the two. So try me. You’ll be happy you had a sounding board before spending what could me your entire year’s marketing budget (if you even have one). At the end of the day, you just need to assess if your goals are in line with this event’s goals. Sounds easier said than done.