Now is the Time to Start Your Tradeshow Planning Process


22Jul 2014

Summertime is not the season for sitting on your laurels if you hope to make a splash at this fall’s tradeshows.

It takes a hefty time investment to make sure every detail of your trade show display is flawless. Refining your “handshake pitch” and training employees requires time as well. The more preparation that you do now, the better your booth will perform on the big day.

Here are some tasks you can tackle this summer to get ahead of the game for this autumn’s tradeshows.

Perfect Your Purpose. What goals are you trying to reach by attending various tradeshows? Set your sites now so that every member of your team knows what to aim for. Set an audacious goal to spark enthusiasm. For instance, you could aim for 5 new media pieces (articles, blogs, TV spots, etc.) and 500 new leads for each trade show you attend. If possible, quantify how much meeting your goal will mean in new business for the business. As an example, if you know you tend to convert 10% of leads, and leads tend to spend X number of dollars, you can calculate how much 500 leads means to your bottom line.

Plan Your PR. Media outlets don’t operate like fast-food joints. You can’t send them a story the day of the show and hope for a glowing article. Start making media contacts now so that you can send them a media kit far in advance of the show. Bonus points if you can set up a private invitation to your booth. As a minimum you’ll need a press release sent out to your list of target contacts a month before the tradeshow starts. This summer, make media contacts and finalize your sales/PR plan.

Reach Out to Display Companies.Summer is the perfect time to garner tradeshow display proposals from sign companies. You can select from two or three potential booth display makers, according to your budget, available warranties, display options, and available design assistance. Too many companies fail to recognize the weeks—or even months—required to finalize artwork for tradeshow booth displays. The design process often involves several rounds of edits and adjustments.

Choose a Basic Display Type. As you get to know display vendors, consider the basic type of display you’re looking for. From pop-ups to panel systems to modular arrangements to truss displays, you can count on S2 Imaging to source the best display design for your tradeshow attendance. We are happy to explain the advantages of different display types, and we can also provide advice on tradeshow display accessories that will add pizzazz with function.

Research the Space. As you’re contacting tradeshow organizers to discuss PR, also ask for details about your booth space. Is the event in a warehouse or a swanky hotel or an exhibit hall? As you can appreciate, each of these locations would require a very different style of display. Also ask about the flooring, the ambient lighting, power, internet access and any other visual details around your booth space. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on specific questions that will help you choose the size of your booth.

Create Backup Plans.Your ducks are all in a row—you have a strong tradeshow plan, your booth display is in production, and your employees are crafting their tradeshow technique. While you’re so far ahead of the curve, go the extra mile and think about what could go wrong. What if your marketing materials don’t arrive on time? Come up with a plan B for every major component of your tradeshow schema.

If you hope to turn your convention attendance into increased business, dive into your tradeshow to do a list now. Better to finish early, and have extra time to practice pitches, than walk into the convention center nervous and unprepared.