4 min read

Dominate 2022 Events with an Out-of-Home Campaign

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Business conferences and events are back for 2022, live and in person. Maybe not yet full throttle compared to pre-pandemic levels, but a LinkedIn report released in November noted that event marketers expect 60% of conferences and meetings next year to convene as hybrid or entirely in-person events.

Conference sponsorships generate leads, build brand awareness and – played right – directly engage your target audience with memorable experiences. They can create lasting buzz and boost your brand above the competition. With business events going live again, smart marketers are snapping up sponsorships.

So, here you are, planning a front-and-center presence at one or more key industry conferences in 2022. You've got big plans, and now you’re finalizing your budget. Your green eyeshade is pulled down low, your sleeves are rolled up, your pencils are stiletto sharp.

But, wait just a minute! Are you planning to make the kind of big splash that says, "We're #1!"? This is no time to hold back.

Don't bore them with business as usual

Attendees who make the effort to show up in person will expect you as well as the event organizer to make it worthwhile. You can't show up with your usual conference set-up, no matter how snazzy it was in the past. You can be sure your competitors are hatching plans to wow them right now. So you not only have to do more, you have to do it better. You have to deliver memorable experiences down to the last detail.

One simple upgrade? Add digital swag to your bag of goodies. Branded coffee cuffs and other practical items for onsite use are still good, as are takeaway product samples (depending on your business). But digital coupons, etc. open more doors. They’re interactive. They won’t weigh attendees down. And since you can capture contact information, you can stay in touch.

A lot of what you have planned as a sponsor will be digital anyway. That's the way to connect with virtual attendees as well as those on hand and keep conversations going before, during and after the event. You’re reaching attendees wherever they are. But you have to do more for your live attendees. Out-of-home (OOH) marketing also reaches this conference segment where they are, but in an entirely different way.

Billboards, reimagined

Remember billboards? They're back, giving marketers innovative new avenues to reach their audiences in locations they pass by every day. Billboards are boldly larger than life, but modern out-of-home strategies incorporate an entire family of outdoor placement opportunities. Wild postings and window posters. Street furniture. Signage on taxis and public transit. Wrapped vehicles and trucks carrying LED displays.

Out-of-home is indoors, too. Think signage along airport concourses, in the lounges, and at baggage claim. POS displays and kiosks in restaurants, bars, retail shops, and other well-traveled locations. It's called proximity marketing because you use geo-targeting and geo-fencing to strategically place your message where you know your audience will be. No guessing required. So, what does that have to do with your conference sponsorship plans?

OOH can transform your corporate presence

Whatever list of benefits will come your way as part of your sponsorship, adding a touch of OOH will deliver more powerful experiences for attendees, making the event itself and especially your brand’s presence something to remember. Something to talk about, during and long after the event.

Welcome attendees right from the start

  • Use airport OOH placements to welcome everyone. Using the conference name will personalize the message and make it even more eye-catching.
  • Host an airport lounge area just for conference attendees, complete with branded giveaways – digital, because who needs something more to carry? Add a kiosk to sign up for early-bird prize drawings at your booth.
  • Continue your welcome messaging with OOH along the route from airport to venue.
  • Consider providing shuttle service in a wrapped van.

Turn your booth into a destination

  • Forget the usual draping or typical exhibit décor and go straight to memorable by re-creating your OOH bus shelter indoors. Or bring in your LED truck or a wrapped vehicle (or make a life-size facsimile) and create a pop-up event within the event. Or wrap the walls with your billboard or wild postings.
  • Digital technology such as flatscreens and branded kiosks are eye-catching and interactively engaging. Make sure the displays include your OOH messaging.
  • Invite visitors to sign up for product coupons or – better yet – a prize you can announce from the main podium toward the end of the event.

Brand your sponsored spaces

  • If you've sponsored the podcast room or the quiet room, decorate it to match your OOH – wrap the walls or the furniture, or even the floor. Provide branded headphones or blankets.
  • If you've sponsored a break or food station, once again you can bring in your LED van or a wrapped vehicle as a backdrop and treat the opportunity like a pop-up mini-event, with branded giveaways. No room? Set out benches that match your OOH street furniture so folks can sit while they snack.
  • Use your street furniture to create a live chat (in-person) area. Set it off with an OOH poster as an "area rug."

Brand the whole area

  • If possible, arrange your OOH buy to include onsite placements such as the venue's bars and lobby.
  • Use geo-fencing to literally surround the conference venue – say, within a mile radius – with outdoor and indoor OOH placements. Attendees leave the venue to dine and shop, so you can reinforce your presence wherever they go. Bonus: your brand message will also reach everyone else who is out and about within your target area.

All of these ideas simply scream "PHOTO OP!" Encourage attendees to share their shots as well as their experiences in real-time. Collect them to repurpose as wild postings and in social posts later on.

So, about that budget

Now that you’re salivating over all the ways OOH can take your conference sponsorship from great to lift-off, you’re still sitting there with your sharp pencils trying to make the 2022 numbers work. Good news, for you and your CFO, to maximize ROAS.

Outdoor advertising is versatile, with mix and match options just right to reach your conference marketing goals, all within budget. Whether you go for the whole enchilada guaranteed to give your competitors heartburn or you choose a more modest selection of placements, OOH is surprisingly affordable. Especially when combined with digital marketing, greater reach, greater frequency, greater response, and greater ROI.

The biggest takeaway for conference attendees in 2022? Your brand's amazing presence, indoors and out, digital and in person. What an experience to GOOH!

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