How to Smartly Plan Your Tradeshow Timeline?

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How to Smartly Plan Your Tradeshow Timeline?

Exhibiting your products or services at a tradeshow is an intensive effort and a lot of planning goes in to ensure that the right audience comes in, is engaged and some business is retained. Tradeshow exhibitors can simplify things and prevent their planning from going haywire by following a timeline for the tradeshow. However, there…

Exhibiting your products or services at a tradeshow is an intensive effort and a lot of planning goes in to ensure that the right audience comes in, is engaged and some business is retained. Tradeshow exhibitors can simplify things and prevent their planning from going haywire by following a timeline for the tradeshow.
However, there may be too much to remember when you just start planning and the to-do list may seem like a herculean task to accomplish. This valuable timeline can be a go-to tool that will help you throughout the year with exhibition preparation. It will help you put up a successful show by avoiding the common mistakes that most exhibitors tend to commit.

12 months: Plan well in advance:

To eliminate all the stress from planning and focus on all the important details, start planning well in advance. Many successful marketers start planning as soon as 1 year in advance and thus bank the benefits of a relaxed schedule. The big gap facilitates enough time for deciding on the right tradeshow for your niche, designing customized and dynamic exhibits and defining your expectation and goals from your booth.
Below are some considerations that must go in as soon as you begin planning:

  • Determine if exhibiting is the right approach for the company: All businesses are different and there is no fixed approach that fits all. The starting point of any tradeshow timeline must quintessentially be determining if exhibiting is in the best interest of the company’s marketing efforts and if it syncs with other marketing activities for the year. It is a good idea to chalk down clear and quantifiable goals as the starting step to adjudge if a particular tradeshow or event works for the niche of your company.Below is a list of common goals that organizations seek to achieve. You can figure out if yours is one of these:
    1. Establishing a brand identity in the market
    2. Lead generation
    3. Sales
    4. Establishing customer relationships
    5. Networking with the industry big names including professionals, investors, etc.
    6. Taking a close look at the other competitors within the industry.

    Once you have defined your goal, you can proceed by deciding among the available shows based on their offerings and if they align to your goal.

  • Deciding which show to exhibit at Show statistics will help you a great deal in determining which show you want to attend. These statistics include the number of visitors, demographics, booth space, booth cost, accessibility of the venue, travel spends, etc. Other than these the list of competitors expected to attend the trade show will also offer a fair idea if the show is ideal to showcase your brand. You can compare based on cost-effectiveness, the scope of receiving attention and the suitability of dates and location.
    If this is not the first show for your organization, you could analyze previous results to determine which show offered best returns and which plan worked best. Once you decide on the show, record the important dates and avail any early bird discounts if available. Deciding early has many benefits, cost savings are one of them.

9 months: Define goals, decide the exhibits and plan your budget

Once the organization has decided the show, it is time to work on definitive objectives. Nearly 9 months in advance is a good time to work with the team and chalk out realistic goals and then assess the booth requirements and estimate costs to check if they fit in your budget.

  • Goals: Your plan can have long term as well as short term goals. The short-term goals mostly change based on the stage of marketing. For instance, if you are currently running a marketing campaign for one of the entertainment offerings at your booth, the short-term goals will revolve around marketing the prospect of entertainment and not the generic takeaways from the booth.It is also important to quantify what success means to your brand so as to measure the results of the tradeshow. Offer a clear idea of these attainable to the team as well so everyone works towards the same target. Once this has been accomplished, it is now time to figure out the details.
  • Designing and planning the exhibit: Once you are just 9 months away from the tradeshow, it is the right time to plan the exhibit. You can begin by assessing the space requirements based on goals and then design based on the goal.
    For example, if your goal is brand awareness, product displays are ideal or if you are looking at lead capturing, you could offer virtual reality or touch interactive downloadables.
  • Smartly set a budget: Your efforts for your booth will depend majorly on how much you can shell out. This is a crucial time on your timeline to decide a budget with a deviation limit. Once you have a clear idea of the goals, it should not be very difficult to set a budget. Remember to allocate a budget for:
    1. Space cost
    2. Services at the tradeshow
    3. Logistic costs
    4. Costs of promotional media
    5. Staff costs
    6. Other miscellaneous expenses

6 Months: Make them excited about what you offer

The buzz around your offerings will determine the footfall to your booth. The 6-month mark on the timeline is the right time to begin creating the buzz among the prospective visitors. You could start advertising across various media. Below are some ways in which you can create the buzz:

  • Direct mail
  • E-mails
  • Giveaways through pre-marketing booths
  • Social media marketing
  • Advertising in industry-specific publications
  • Advertisement boards and banners
  • Product samples and demos as a part of pre-event marketing efforts
  • Contests

3 months: The final arrangements and training

If you follow the timeline religiously, you would have the major details fixed by the time you reach the 3-month mark. This is the right time to finalize the details such as travel arrangements, stay arrangements, staff training, and client meetings. You must also start sending reminders and following up with vendors and coordinators. Wi-fi, electricity, seating arrangements and everything else at your booth need to be in final stages by now in order to avoid any last-minute hassles.

Training the staff:
The staff that will represent your brand at the booth needs to be well-versed with the brand, trained at pitches and fluent with the product specifics. You must also train them to be well groomed and attentive to the needs of the attendees. The overall experience of your booth will depend greatly on the presentation skills of the staff and hence this is a critical aspect of tradeshow planning.

While planning for a tradeshow may seem intimidating, planning systematically in advance will help you do it very efficiently and effectively. The expert team at XS worldwide makes it easier for you by helping you right from the beginning till the end. Get in touch with us to talk about how you can make your tradeshow appearance yield results.

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