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Evaluating Your Trade Show Program

Trade Show Program

If you always do what you always did

Many exhibitors go through the process of executing their trade show schedule year after year because it is what they have always done. This will often lead to the misconception that Trade Shows don´t work. When really, exhibitors don´t really know which shows are working for them, which aren´t and what new events could be generating new sales, leads and opportunities for them.

The process of planning, budgeting, implementing and measuring your show schedule can allow you to uncover inefficiencies which “hide” within your program. Here we will take a look at some common areas that, after an evaluation, can prove to save you money or at least increase effectiveness and efficiency in your show schedule.

Planning saves you money

Planning your display collateral, logistics, labour and freight across your entire show schedule will save you money and enable you to create a consistent brand across all your shows. How?

  • Utilise a Custom Modular Display Solutions that is designed to be used at all your events and can be reconfigured to meet your various trade show booth orientations and sizes.
  • Investigate display rental options and whether this option will save you money and work for you, given your unique show schedule.
  • Plan your freight to take out ineffective or expensive legs that aren´t needed i.e. would it be more cost effective if your display hops from event to event rather than returning to you after every show?
  • Placing a large order with your suppliers for your entire event schedule rather than dealing on an event by event basis will give you more bang for your buck.
  • Is doing it all yourself really saving you money?

Do you really need it?

We have clients freight hundreds of kilograms of literature, giveaways, soft drinks, etc. to their shows. Some exhibitors even ship a refrigerator to keep giveaway beverages cold for their attendees and staff. There´s no right or wrong, but we encourage you to think before you freight.

Also consider whether you need to send the equipment at all? Would it be more cost effective to rent equipment locally? Where possible plan ahead and consolidate your freight to save $$$.

If you don´t measure it, you can´t evaluate or manage it

Measure the effectiveness of the shows you attend. It not just about cost per lead also consider the long–term costs associated with the overall effectiveness of your presence at a show.

In many cases, companies do not properly analyse the return they are getting on particular shows. Don´t go just because “we always attend XYZ show.” Measure the results and make decisions to attend based on both the financial as well as the indirect benefit that may come from exposure in certain markets.

A careful analysis of actual costs versus “planned” or budgeted costs will help identify inefficiencies. There´s no right answer here either, but if you can´t measure the results you can´t manage for future success and possible savings.

Measure then manage your Trade Show Staff´s performance

Many people claim to be trade show veterans and have worked shows for years. No matter how many shows you´ve worked, your approach should always be fresh and allow for the best face to face interaction on the trade show floor.

Your trade show staff should always follow the cardinal rules of engagement. This means no sitting, eating, standing with your back to your audience and so on.

Event Managers should organise scheduled pre–event meetings with the booth staff to ensure they´re up to speed and know how to effectively staff a trade show booth.

Attendees will come away from your exhibit remembering a poor interaction more than the display itself so it´s a great idea to help your staff be at their best.

Get expert advice

Your exhibition company should understand your program entirely and know how you want it executed.

If they are managing your exhibit you´re most likely benefiting from the combined experience of your account manager, service technicians and in–house designers. It´s like you have another entire branch of your company executing your program for you! These folks are the experts, so lean on them for guidance.

Heading into a new year, start asking your exhibition company for expert advice to help you uncover inefficiencies and unearth opportunities within your show program.

Have you got more ideas on how to evaluate your show schedule to find inefficiencies and opportunities? Please share your comments and stories below


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