Trade Show Timeline Planning for the Best Return
Trade shows are a great way of increasing exposure and growing your business. However, trade shows require serious planning and commitment for a successful return. Managing and implementing your marketing efforts while tracking the logistics of a trade show can get out of hand if you don’t make a timeline to stay on track. Time may slip through your hands as deadlines quickly approach, and you may lose sight of your true purpose for doing the trade show in the first place. Here are some ideas that will help you plan a timeline to get the most out of your next trade show.
9 Months Prior
- Brainstorm on the overall marketing objectives and purpose of your company having a booth at this trade show. Make sure that you and your team are clear on the marketing and sales objectives that you wish to accomplish with this trade show, and how those measure up with previous trade shows the company has participated in.
- Set a budget for expenses related to the booth space, staffers, promotional pieces, travel and other expenses.
- Register and reserve your booth space with the event managers and request full details on the booth space requirements and layout.
6 Months Prior
- Review your current trade show display and decide if this display is in line with your marketing objectives for the upcoming trade show. Determine if the big picture design, colors and format promote the company in line with your marketing message. If not, start researching new exhibit manufacturers who may be able to help design and produce a display that maximizes your marketing efforts.
- Plan out your marketing efforts and the materials you will use to promote the brand before and at the trade show. This may include advertisements, direct mailers, email campaigns, hotel room drops, sponsorships, uniforms and promotional products. Some promotional products may have a longer production time than others, so it is important to research all printed or embroidered items well before the trade show.
- Pick your staffers for the booth by deciding who has worked best in the past and produced the best return. It may be helpful to ask your top contenders who they would choose as well to create the best chemistry at the booth.
3 Months Prior
- Book travel plans for the whole team, including flights and hotel rooms.
- Start training your booth staff to make sure they are fully prepared for the big event.
- Make any last decisions on the exhibit design and display to ensure that it will be produced in time for the trade show. Finalize booth graphics and designs for marketing and promotional materials, such as banners and table covers that will be displayed.
- With your booth staffers, plan out any exhibit demonstrations or presentations and what materials may be needed for those if necessary. Possibly integrate some technology, like videos or interactive displays, to get more attention and facilitate conversation between your staff and attendees. Strategize on what methods and techniques the team will leverage at the trade show to get more qualified leads into your booth.
1 Month Prior
- Order all of your promotional products that may be used at the trade show, including any uniforms for the staff.
- Send out the first round of direct mail marketing pieces.
- Review your budget and expenses thus far.
1 Week Prior:
- Verify all of your staffers for the exhibit, and call on a substitute if needed.
- Verify the trade show display elements to ensure that the materials will be delivered to the event on time.
- Ship out or pack up all promotional pieces and marketing materials that you may need. Don’t be shy about bringing extras just in case!
- Send out another round of direct mail marketing pieces in anticipation of the quickly approaching date.
- Collect and organize the materials you and your team may need behind the scenes, and to make sure that you will be following up on prospective leads afterwards.
Let EmbroidMe Help You Throughout Your Trade Show Timeline
By following this trade show timeline to the best of your abilities, you are maximizing your return and working more efficiently towards accomplishing your marketing objectives. For promotional products that allow your company to stand out from others at trade shows, EmbroidMe has a wealth of options customizable for any brand. EmbroidMe consultants will work with you to identify which promotional products help your company’s strategy and create a lasting impression with prospective clients. Contact EmbroidMe today by calling (877) 877-0234 to schedule an appointment with a specialist at your local resource center.