In computer science, I often see companies sponsoring academic conferences. What do companies hope to gain from doing so, and is there any evidence that these hopes are fulfilled?
Three reasons immediately come to mind:
- Advertising. I have a staggering amount of marketing material from tech companies, and I don't even go to that many C.S.-type conferences. I've got things covered in stickers, a t-shirt or two, etc. And there is something to be fair for your firm being on people's minds associated with the conference.
- Recruiting. It's very common for there to be recruiting events, tables, or the occasional pitch during a conference. It's an easy way to reach an audience of people who have a particular skill set you know you're looking for.
- Supporting the community. Many commercial businesses are built on software and systems built and maintained by the community, their employees use that software, etc. If a conference sponsorship keeps that going, it's probably worth it as essentially an R&D expense.