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How I’m Following Expo! Expo! From 900 Miles Away

Let’s kick off this post by saying kudos to Convention News Television for their excellent coverage of  IAEE’s Expo! Expo!— a conference geared for professionals in the events and exhibitions industry— which is currently taking place in New Orleans. (You can check out the coverage by clicking here.) CNTV offers conference planners a way to leverage video coverage to enhance events, and “provides unique coverage for the meetings industry that can be sponsored… generating a new stream of revenue for our clients.

In addition to providing valuable content for attendees and offering an innovative sponsorship opportunity, CNTV also provides value for those unable to attend the event.

I was fortunate enough to be an attendee of Expo! Expo! in 2009 (primarily due to the convenient and cost-effective venue – just a couple of miles from my then home). Although I know I’m missing out on a great event this year, I am currently sitting at my dining room table (a mere 900 plus miles away) keeping up with the meeting via the interesting and helpful video coverage. The coverage—which is very professionally executed— offers more than a simple glimpse of the meeting’s hot topics and highlighted events. It also serves as an excellent reminder of the on-site excitement, valuable networking opportunities and education that I experienced during last year’s conference. What a powerful and impressive way to generate interest and encourage non-attendees to check out future IAEE offerings!

The only thing on my wish list to enhance the CNTV coverage of IAEE would be the addition of truly impromptu man-on-the-street style interviews* with attendees and speakers throughout the meeting, a la Emilie Barta during EventCamp 2010. Incorporating less formal, unscripted testimonials and commentary from attendees and speakers would liven the coverage up while creating more of a connection for non-attendees.

*I may have missed existing coverage in this format, or it may be incorporated in future coverage I haven’t yet seen.

Finally, although I’m green with envy, I’m loving the Twitterfeed (the hashtag is #expoexpo if you want to follow along) — so keep your tweets coming and have a great time in NOLA!

[Image via the IAEE website]


Next Steps – Even More Targeted, Relevant Social Media Research – Care to offer some advice?

Year-round, I send out a monthly newsletter to our regular exhibitors. Articles typically cover upcoming deadlines, important dates, registration statistics, advertising opportunities, sponsorship opportunities, etc. Now that my organization has made the decision to move forward with social media initiatives for our 2010 annual meeting, I’ve realized that the exhibitor newsletter opens up a perfect opportunity to explore *exactly* what our exhibitors are doing, or not doing, or are interested in doing, with regards to social media – and their perspective on social media initiatives led by show management.

We are approaching social media with a carefully considered and thoughtful short-term strategy, which will provide us with the metrics to then determine our long-term strategy. One important consideration as we move forward is finding new and creative ways to leverage social media to increase the value of exhibiting and sponsorship in and around our annual meeting. This could range from new sponsor benefits to new metrics to provide in return for sponsorship and/or increased exhibit hall traffic.

The natural first step seems to be surveying our exhibitors to see where they are currently with social media and how they would like to see both their organization and show management using social media.

Please keep in mind that this is concerning a medical meeting, and thus subject to regulatory and compliance considerations, i.e., activities should not be too “carnivally” or “fun” in nature and should reflect a professional tone.

The goals of the survey would include:

Would the exhibitors benefit and appreciate social media initiatives led by show management geared at:

  • Attendees in an attempt to boost exhibit hall traffic; and if so, we would encourage them to provide suggestions to optimize this use of social media
  • Exhibitors to open up the collaborative “town hall” discussion year-round, and to exhibitors of all sizes and types

Obvious survey items would include requesting exhibitors to share their organization’s current social media involvement, the level of involvement for their personal use of social media, their opinion of various prospective social media initiatives (e.g. exhibit hall ‘scavenger hunt’, announcing product theater presentations, exhibit hall hours reminders, etc.) to increase exhibit hall traffic, positive/negative social media experiences at similar meetings, etc.

My question for you all –

Based on the goals of the survey – what unique and helpful questions would you include in the survey (taking into consideration the current regulatory landscape)?

Template to Track Sponsor Benefit Fulfillment: Take Two

Many professionals in the tradeshow, event planning or fundraising industries deal with essentially some of the same basic frustrations with our day-to-day responsibilities.

One of the more important tasks that I deal with on a regular basis and falls  under this category is tracking sponsor benefits to ensure that they are fulfilled exactly as laid out in the contract and at the appropriate time. Seems easy enough, right?

Throw in multiple tiers of support, add sponsor benefits differing in subtle or major ways, add several sponsors to some levels, exclusive sponsor to the top tier and multiple sponsors on the same level and this task quickly becomes overwhelming.

Oh, don’t forget to add print deadlines, desperate calls to the printer to make a last-minute change and having to work with multiple contacts within your organization for each sponsorship package.


These frustrations demonstrate a need for a document where you can keep all of the information straight and up-to-date for each sponsorship ,and ensure that sponsors are recognized appropriately. Hence, this post from about a week ago and this template.

I asked readers to provide feedback and suggestions and Rebecca Brandt came through with some very helpful insight and suggestions.

Rebecca liked the document for its simplicity and that it is easy to read. She expressed concern there may not be enough room to keep important notes which could potentially lead to needing to create a second document and defeating the purpose. She also wanted to be sure that the document would allow you to track multiple sponsors on the same tier. Most importantly, she wanted to track payment history on the same document too. All are important and helpful observations, especially the last one.

As I was implementing Rebecca’s suggestions, I also decided to add a date/time stamp to clearly show when the document was last revised.

Without further ado, I give you the newly revised and improved Sponsor Benefit Tracking Template!

Note: This event, companies, tiers and entire sponsorship package are fictional. Everything on the document is fictional and provided simply as an example.

If you have further suggestions or feedback, let me know in the comments! I hope this template is helpful for those of you that work with sponsor/sponsorships.

And thank you to Rebecca for her thoughtful insight, I greatly appreciate it!

Tracking Sponsor Benefit Fulfillment – with Multiple Sponsors and Multiple Tiers

Being a professional who deals with sponsorships and the sometimes arduous task of tracking fulfillment of sponsor benefits has made me really appreciate the value in developing the most logical and efficient standard operating procedures.

About one week ago, I sat at my desk and stared at my monitor for a while, frustrated because I *knew* there had to be some “magical” document I could create to keep track of multiple sponsors at multiple tiers and multiple combinations of benefits.

After racking my brain and trying with my usual go-to for keeping track of things, Excel, I decided to try something different and give Word a try hoping it would spur some creative thinking.

Lo’ and behold – it worked!

After messing around for an hour or two, I came up with what I think is a pretty helpful template to track sponsor benefits fulfillment.

In my position, I deal with several very different sponsorship packages. I plan to revise the template accordingly for each separate sponsorship package. These would become living documents and updated annually as content and sponsors change.

Please feel free to take a look and let me know what you think. (Note – the event, sponsorship package, sponsors and benefits are completely fictional and provided as an example.)

Download: Sponsor Benefit Tracking Template

What is your go-to resource or tool to track information like this?

Do you have suggestions to improve my template?

Do you have a completely different and better way to do this?

As always – please feel free to share in the comments!

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