Are Trade Association Sponsorships Worth It?

Earlier this year, a current Retaindly client reached out to us asking for our advice on a trade association and whether they should continue their sponsorship of it.


They had been a long-standing member of the industry trade association for several years, but had never seen any sort of valuable return and it was that time of year to make a decision to renew or let their membership lapse. This is a struggle that many search firms face and they often don't know how to leverage a partnership such as this from a marketing and business development perspective. In the past, I have worked at such trade associations and also been the partnerships manager on the sponsorship side of such a relationship.


On the call I asked the client - what sort of marketing opportunities are offered by the trade association within your sponsorship level? The client had mentioned their sponsorship level included 2-3 email blasts per year to the trade association's audience of industry leaders where they could market their executive search and recruitment services. But past attempts at these email campaigns blasts yielded no results.


This search firm client I had worked with very closely with in the past on their web design, refreshing their marketing materials, rebranding their firm and created content including 2 eBooks. These eBooks sat on the search firm's site behind a gated download form for lead generation purposes.


So I said to my client - well, instead of resigning from your membership with the trade association, let's use an existing eBook for one of the email blasts and see how the email performs. The client trusted my advice and so I created an email template with the focus of the email campaign and main Call-To-Action on the eBook. I shared the designed email file with the trade association directly and helped answer any more technical questions they had.


In the past when the trade association had sent these email blasts out on behalf of the search firm - it was often crickets and the search firm would not receive any sort of response. Within the first week of the trade association sending the email campaign that Retaindly created - the search firm had received over 60 qualified leads from the one email blast.


At the end of the day, it wasn't necessarily the lack of value within the trade association, but a disconnect in the marketing strategy and messaging behind these past email blast attempts. This client remains a long-standing client of Retaindly to this day, and we are now managing their trade association relationship and email campaign blasts for the foreseeable future.