When it comes to local welding contests and other events, goodwill and giving back to the community are great reasons to support these events. Even looking out for the good of the industry is a worthwhile reason to get involved. But just because generosity may be your motivation, it doesn’t mean gases and welding distributors can’t take full advantage of the event to maximize their returns.
Take Bellingham Technical College’s Welding Rodeo for example. Central Welding Supply (North Lakewood, WA) has been an avid supporter of the welding rodeo for the entire 11 years it’s been running. In fact, Central Welding Sales Manager Marshall Judy was one of the original people who helped see the Welding Rodeo to fruition. “The Welding Rodeo is a great event for Bellingham Technical College and for the local community. The school and its welding program benefit in many ways,” he says.
When I spoke with Judy recently, he talked about how the event is a way to contribute, but it also provides opportunities for Central Welding Supply to gain exposure and future customers. Based on my conversation with him and conversations with other distributors about their support of local events, I’ve come up with a list of 5 ways to get greatest ROI on an event or sponsorship.
- Involve industry partners. You don’t have to go it alone. Central Welding Supply recruits vendors to donate prizes for competitors. Many vendors are willing to contribute, and it only helps to strengthen the distributor-supplier relationship.
- Exhibit at the event. A trade show is a nice pairing for a welding competition or other event. Setting up a booth allows you to reach participants and event attendees, and it’s another great opportunity for visibility.
- Find teachable moments. Central Welding donated oxygen and chemtane fuel gas for each of the booths this year. Safety training is conducted with the competitors before the event to make sure students know how to use the fuel. This helps keep everyone safe and establishes your reputation as an expert.
- Product placement is kosher. If you’re donating product, nobody’s going to complain if it provides value to you as well. As for the aforementioned donation of chemtane fuel, Judy says that it’s a great way to expose students to an alternative fuel. On the altruistic front, it broadens the students’ experiences.
- Stay in touch. Students are your future customers, so it’s important to make a good first impression. But don’t stop there. Stay in touch as their career grows. Says Judy, “We like to have exposure early on, so that when the students go on to management positions in 10 or 20 years, they remember us.” With the Welding Rodeo in its 11th year, Judy reports that a number of students have now gone on to decision making positions.
What other tips do you have to get the most out of company events? Share by leaving a comment.