So a question for the ages of marketers — is a bigger booth worth it? I had my doubts after 9 years of SaaStr Annuals. I assumed they’d all perform kind of the same. But, I was wrong.

The data:

  • Qualified Leads this year ranged from 95 at lowest-yielding of almost 200 sponsors, to 1597 at the top — a wide range
  • But on average, each Gold got 207 Qualified Leads
  • Next up? Super Gold at 249 Qualified Leads
  • Next up? Platinum at 481 Qualified Leads
  • Next up? Diamond at 661 Qualified Leads
  • Next up? Mega and Unicorn?  Over 1,000 Qualified Leads

Now of course, there’s a causation vs correlation debate. Do bigger sponsors just put more work in, because they are paying more? Perhaps. We certainly see that in the case of competitors who have widely differing outcomes. But I’m skeptical. Some smaller folks work the hardest.  After all, it’s a bigger, and more important, investment for them in many cases.

Beyond that, it looks like for us at least, the best value was Platinum / Super Platinum, the highest “normal” level.

Our team put a huge amount of work into making Super Gold an insane value, and it was on paper and seems clearly worth the upgrade from Gold. But Platinum performed even better.  Almost double the Qualified Leads for not double the investment.

And if you had budget, you might as well go up to Diamond.  I wasn’t sure the massive Diamond booths were truly worth it.  But they did yield 37% more leads than even Platinum. 

And the very biggest booth, for Expensify, in 2023?  They got the most leads.  Yup.

So should you spend even >more< at events?  I’m not sure that’s always the case. But, I think if it’s a top industry event, and have budget, it seems worth it to maximize your exposure, at least up to a point. Another $20k-$50k may seem like a lot, but if it doubles your yield — that’s cheap (and easy).

Another question for the ages — does booth placement matter? Does a “good booth” on the aisle or end cap or near coffee really matter?

Again, a bit of a surprise.  Yeah, they do perform about 18% better — or more. That seems like a top reason to sponsor early for events that let the first to sign up choose first (like SaaStr).  Renew for SaaStr Annual early (by Oct 31 for us), and you pick first for no extra cost or effort.  This seems like the best deal out there if you plan to come back.

As you can see below, in the Hanger East building for example, the red dots outperformed the other sponsors by leads generated.  They’re on the ends:

Finally, and this might be the most important data of all: You gotta put in the work.

E.g., we had 2 direct competitors with about the same brand prominence buy the exact same sponsorship package. Identical. One got 221 Qualified Leads. The other 507. That’s a big difference.

To make big events work, you gotta put in a big effort.  If you have a CMO / VP of Marketing that really wants to run the playbook, you probably will see that output.  But if your staff is just going to sit on their phones the whole time, maybe you won’t see the same ROI.

I can’t believe I didn’t really look at this data for 9 years :(. That’s pretty bad, there’s no excuse.  But at least now we can speak with data.  At least be at the top 1-2 events in your industry.  And if you can, maybe yeah, pay up for the best, biggest experience and booth you can.  It may seem a bit silly.  But it turns out, it isn’t.

A related deep dive here:

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