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12th Business Expo After Hours Promotion - St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce

2015 ACE: Award of Excellence

2014 marked the St. Joseph County Chamber’s 12th Business Expo After Hours, a business-to-business, business-to-consumer trade show. While we’ve always achieved success regarding this event through a proven marketing and communications formula, 2014 was the first time our event marketing included a title sponsor. More than ever, it was important to be at the top of our game to fulfill the needs and expectations of our title sponsor while still drawing a sellout for exhibitors and attendees. All was accomplished.


Date: June 29, 2015
Organization: St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce
Chamber Website: http://www.sjchamber.org
City: South Bend, IN
Community Peer Group: Major Cities
Revenue Category: $2,000,001 and up

12th Business Expo After Hours Promotion - St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce

2014 marked the St. Joseph County Chamber’s 12th Business Expo After Hours, a business-to-business, business-to-consumer trade show. While we’ve always achieved success regarding this event through a proven marketing and communications formula, 2014 was the first time our event marketing included a title sponsor. More than ever, it was important to be at the top of our game to fulfill the needs and expectations of our title sponsor while still drawing a sellout for exhibitors and attendees. All was accomplished.

Here’s the summary: Centier Bank approached the Chamber regarding the desire to partner with us on a high-profile event. Knowing that the bank was entering the marketplace with a new location in fall 2014, the timing was perfect for Centier Bank to not just be an event sponsor for the September Business Expo, but to actually tie their name to the event to receive maximum traction.

The Chamber’s pitch meeting to the bank even included the presentation of a speculative event logo, which illustrated the event look and how the event name would read. They were sold and the marketing began for the Centier Bank Chamber Business Expo After Hours.

The campaign included two flights: (1) Pushing for booth registrations; and (2) Driving traffic to the event. The first flight lasts for about two months, while the second flight lasts for about two weeks.

The first flight placed more focus on using Chamber communication means, such as emarketing, online and print, with additional PR through news releases and social media. We worked with our daily newspaper and affiliated radio station to also promote the availability of booths. Our second flight—the push to drive attendance—enlisted a vast array of marketing vehicles from member communications, newspaper ads, radio spots, TV spots, digital ads, PR, on-camera interviews—even a takeover of the South Bend Tribune’s website! While at the event, we had signage and even surprised the title sponsor with a custom ceiling circular banner.

The end result: The title sponsor, Centier Bank, was thrilled with the marketing campaign and visibility they received. So much so, they are back as title sponsor in 2015. The event drew a sellout in number of exhibitors and attracted 1,600 attendees, the most ever! Details of the campaign are included on the PDF.

For the Chamber, we spent very little to market the event, approximately $4,500 in hard costs, while receiving nearly $40,000 in in-kind support from our marketing partners, the South Bend Tribune, WSBT Radio and TV. It was a “win-win” for all involved.

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