Feeling overwhelmed by a long list of convention preparation needs and aren’t sure where to begin? The months leading up to a trade show are stressful for even the most prepared and experienced team. You will want to strategize your venue, plan your objectives and how to achieve them, along with ensuring everything is ready with your display booth and other marketing collateral.
Over a decade of experience in helping clientele from all industries prepare their branding for exhibition has taught us many lessons. This trade show countdown checklist will help you stay on point with planning your objectives and ensuring all your most important equipment makes it to the trade show venue along with you.
12 months to go:
• Identify the convention type and location you want to attend.
• Coordinate between Marketing and Accounting to set your trade show budget
• Read contract carefully to know what is expected of you, what is included with attendance fee, and what limitations will be imposed.
• Book your exhibit space to reserve a location.
Six months to go:
• Set your objectives based on the venue chosen and available budget.
• Once objectives are identified, choose team members to attend the trade show that help you reach those goals.
• Plan your pre-exhibition promotion or offer that will be sent to existing customers and leads before the show so that attendees plan to visit your booth as part of their agenda.
• Research and choose your suppliers
• Review existing marketing collateral within your management team to decide if you need a new display booth based on whether: the quality has held up to repeated use, existing message is in line with goals.
Four months to go:
• Make travel arrangements and accommodation reservations to ensure available flights for all team and that ticket prices are as long as can be.
• Choose demonstration products and put safely to one side so that they are known to be safe, in good condition and working for the value you want to showcase.
• Plan data capture procedures, who is responsible, and review process for inputting leads in available devices.
• Develop floor plan for your exhibition space to plan out the availability and needs for a display and accessory placement within your booth.
• Review your budget again to make sure costs for your booth space, display materials, and lead generation campaign is not running over projection.
• Finalize any changes to old displays or new exhibit design to ensure brand consistency and message is clear and matches other marketing material.
• Start exhibition-related promotion to begin priming your customer base and prospects for the show with newsletter and social media offers.
Three months to go:
• Carefully review exhibitor guidelines and terms and conditions to make sure none of your lead generation techniques, promotion giveaways, and display booth complies with trade show venue rules.
• Reserve any additional meeting rooms for hospitality events, press conferences, etc. This is important if you or your team is setting aside time for specific leads they want schedule a face to face meeting.
• Plan any in-booth presentations and demonstrations and who will be showcasing products.
• Create list of required services that will need to incur a fee at the trade show venue, and ones that will be handled internally. Example: internet need is an unavoidable feed, but using batteries instead of incurring electricity fee would be handled internally.
Two months to go:
• Finalize display for brand consistency between marketing materials and set aside to make sure all components have been check-in.
• Begin designing brochure or other hand held literature designed.
• Order staff badges for everyone attending on behalf of your company.
• Update and liaise with other departments sharing the stand / booth to coordinate and split up goals to focus on.
• Create and print lead forms or other method of collecting information.
• Prepare orders for shipping and storage, etc.
• Prepare packs for the press room.
• Confirm hotel reservations and travel arrangements to make sure no dates have changed and all team members are accounted for.
• Develop briefing pack for stand and back-office support staff
• Schedule any exhibition/sales training
Two weeks to go:
• Confirm list of scheduled meetings between your team and opportunities.
• Confirm response list for promotional giveaways during newsletter campaign.
• Check that all display parts and marketing collateral are ready to ship.
Have questions about how to get started planning your trade show exhibition? Falling behind schedule can be stressful, but don’t worry we can help you get back on track. Our exhibit experts are always happy to discuss options and recommend the best display for your company’s needs.
The Monster Displays team can be reached at Sales@MonsterDisplays.com or call (888) 484-3344, we’d love to put our experience to work for you.