I don't know about you, but when I think about the concept of a barter system, it brings me back to ancient times, before money existed and when people exchanged services and goods for other services and goods. Although we now have currency, people are still using barter systems as a form of payment.
Here at etouches, we barter with event planners and organizations by trading our software for marketing value. When offering a barter, it is important to make sure that even though there may not be a dollar for dollar exchange, the value of the assets should be somewhat equal. Bartering is important to us and it can be important to others in the event industry for several reasons:
1. Cutting Costs
A lot of the time, we barter with organizations whose events we want to attend, but can also often be very expensive. Instead of paying for direct sponsorship or exhibition space, we offer the use of our software to a client in order to become a sponsor. Event organizers can also trade sponsorship or booth space for other services, such as gift bags items, photography and F&B options, etc. Bottom line, bartering is a significant way to avoid paying out of pocket for certain assets. As long as each company has something the other wants and they're both willing to work together, it can work out in both parties' favor.
2. Extending your reach
A barter agreement is often more like a special partnership. We even like to call our barter clients "partners" because it is important to us that we work together throughout the agreement. Sometimes companies partner together so that they can reach a demographic they can't normally reach on their own. Leveraging a barter agreement can expand your brand to an audience you wouldn't necessarily be able to target with your own in-house initiatives. By trading services for booth space, speaking opportunities or logo placement, the brand visibility in front of a new audience in of itself can be worth it. Your company can benefit greatly just by attendees carrying around photos with your company's watermark on it or toting around gift bags with your company's branded portable device chargers inside.
3. Eliminating risk
Many times we find events that might be interesting to attend for the first time, but depending on the price would be risky considering we don't always know who our audience is going to be or if it will be valuable to us in the long run. Whether you're seeking booth space, speaking slots or even just general admission tickets, offering a barter agreement for a new event can be very valuable because you won't be spending a ton of money only to come back with no leads, opportunities or insight. See these barter opportunities as test run into new events and industries.
4. Benefiting organizations
Barter agreements most often mean trading equal work or services, but there are also pro bono agreements, or doing work for free for another organization, usually to support a good cause. Here at etouches we take pride in supporting various organizations and causes that our employees feel close to. We previously had a pro bono agreement with the Connecticut Partnership for Children, which was brought on by our director of account management. We provided them with access to our software to plan a 5k fundraiser and golf tournament. This helped them cut costs and streamline their events, which was important to them as non-profits usually have very little resources. We didn't ask them for much in return except for some logo placement, but helping out a non-profit organization or cause that our employees are passionate about means a lot to us, so it was worth it.
So whether money is tight or you are piloting some new initiatives, get creative and think about bartering with another company or non-profit organization. There is essentially no limit to the variety of assets you can barter with, as long as its valuable for all parties involved. Bartering has been around for a long time, and it's still just as relevant today in the events industry!