Effective Trade Show Planning -
Your Keys To Better Results
By Dale Harvey, Director, BCISIT
Trade shows are one of the most effective tactics for generating sales leads, influencing purchasing decisions and cultivating referral sources. Trade shows may also be the least understood marketing opportunity. Advance planning is critical. It gives you better control, saves you time and money, and provides you the opportunity to achieve significantly better results.
Effective trade show planning can be easily separated into three parts: before the show, during the show and after the show. The following is a checklist of questions and details that should be considered and resolved well before the show. Be sure to assign each item to an individual for attention, and have a completion date established and documented.
Long-Range Planning: 12 to 24 months before the show.
1. Does this show fit our marketing needs?
Mid-Range Planning: 6 to 12 months before the show15. Where does this particular show fit into our present marketing strategy? Do we want to...
17. Who is our target audience at this show?
18. What are our exhibiting objectives?
19. Do we have a written exhibiting plan?
20. Has an exhibiting budget been established?
21. Has our space been reserved?
22. Has the necessary deposit been paid?
23. What booth design will meet our objectives?
24. Can we refurbish/use our current exhibit?
25. Do we need a new exhibit?
26. Do we need new graphics?
27. What show services need to be ordered:
29. Has booth installation/dismantling been organized?
30. What freight arrangements must to be organized?
31. Are there any union restrictions we need to know?
32. Has insurance been arranged?
33. Do we have a tool kit organized to take to the show?
34. Have the necessary hotel arrangements been made?
35. When is final payment due for our booth space?
36. Are credit card services needed for booth sales?
37. Is a vendor's license needed?
38. Has a lead card been designed and printed?
By answering each of the above questions carefully and completely, you will save money, avoid problems and maximize your marketing opportunity.
Dale Harvey is the former Executive Director of the British Columbia Institute for Studies in International Trade.