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How to get the most bang for your bucks, when sponsoring a conference

I’m writing this post on the plane back to Copenhagen from our trip to Bucharest in Romania. Casper and I attended at SmartWeb conference, a web design and development conference and the first of its kind in this region. With a great list of speakers and good organisers, we decided to get on board as sponsors. It’s hard to tell if a sponsorship is a good investment, but we tried hard to be well prepared and get the most value from it.

Having been attendees at a few conferences before and we knew we didn’t want a regular (boring) stand and hand out pens or t-shirts nobody would wear unless they were cleaning their bike or having a hang over.

Bring quality swag

We wanted a more quirky and noticeable presence, to stand out, be very active and only hand out stuff we would appreciate ourselves. We came up with a design for t-shirts in multiple color combinations that would fit most people’s taste. We went for a slightly more expensive t-shirt model made of good fabric.
We brought about 100 t-shirts to the conference and the were pretty much ripped away in a matter of 10 minutes. Our experience: Go for quality t-shirts if possible and try to tone down the branding. The goal is to get people to wear the shirts :-)

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The t-shirts would get people to talk to us, but we still needed that last incentive for people to go and sign up on Iconfinder. That’s were gift cards come in.

It’s like icon crack. The first one is free

The gift cards are very simple. A unique code is printed on business card tied to a value in our backend and when a user enters the code the value will be inserted to their account. To add a campaign feel to the giftcards, we created the codes so they would include a name of a famous movie or tv-series robot e.g. bender84nf62nd or r2d25bcs61fx.

giftcard

A simple fun landing page that continued the robots theme lets the user enter the code and get started with the purchasing the premium content.

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The true effectiveness of the gift cards is still too early to tell, but it’s really nice to have a bunch of gift cards in your pocket you can pull out, when you’re meeting people at the conference.

Pick something and make it your own

As you might know, we drink (too much?) coffee and Red Bull at Iconfinder. We asked the organisers of SmartWeb if we could be coffee break sponsors. When you sit for an hour in a row listening to two talks, you really need that cup of coffee – wouldn’t that be a perfect timing to get your brand mentioned and shown on screen? On top of that SmartWeb got our logo printed on all cups, so our logo was present all during the breaks.

coffee2

You probably never know the exact ROI of the sponsorship, but the combination of quality swag, gift cards and a noticeable and fun presence seemed to work well for us.

On top of of meeting a bunch of nice and talented Romanian designers and developers, we got feedback on the product that we’ll implement in the coming months.

So to everyone who were at Smartweb Conf, both organisers and attendees. – Thank you for having us and thank you for making it a great event.

We hope to see some of you in either New York or Copenhagen.

Btw. We put together a short video from the conference:

Music we used in the video “Drops of H2O“.

More pictures from the trip

Team iconfinder on their way hestCasper and Martin on their way to Bucharest

casper walking

Beautiful sunset over the streets of Bucharest

1239903_10153277909410573_920790061_nGreat point by Dan Rubin

after party
Afterparty. Notice Bruce Lawson wearing a matching Iconfinder shirt :-)

IMG_2247People enjoying a coffee break between the talks.

martin working on the planeMartin writing this blog post on the plane home.

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  1. Thank you guys for being one of the pieces to this SmartWeb puzzle (or should i say for being a Lego brick ;-) ) … and the tshirts surely worked… I’m right now in Edinburgh at the EuroIA Summit and wore the tshirt for the first outing with the other conference goers. .. the design was appreciated and I did point a couple of people towards your website ;-)