If you've ever planned a trade show or event, then you know how time consuming everything can be. Unless you are the lucky ones that have a "team" of trade show and marketing gurus that you can delegate to, then I would probably guess right if I say, everything will fall on your lap. This is why most companies hire Exhibit Firms or Agencies to handle all the details that will make a tradeshow successful. I asked a couple of my colleagues to give me their #1 money-saving tip for exhibitors prior to trade show opening date, and here are my favorite top 3 Tips: Exhibitor Deadlines - Trust me when I say these dates are real. Whatever you do, DO NOT miss these deadlines. Here is an example of the dates that you need to keep up with for #NABShow: Exhibitor Deadlines. Missing these deadlines can cost you up to an additional 30% of your budget. Imagine what you can do with that money. My suggestion is, print out the schedule, highlight all the dates that pertain to you, schedule those dates in your calendar (minus 3 days), and turn in the forms with payment prior to the 1st deadline dates. Forms in Hand - Create a notebook with tabs, print all the forms that pertain to you and file them in the proper tabs. Here is an example of a link with over 100 forms that you may or may not need for #NAB2018: Freemanco Forms & Brochures . Make sure you fill out the paperwork properly, turn them in on time with payment, and then file them in the notebook. BRING your notebook to the show, because if something goes wrong (what if the electric is not properly installed or shipment did not come in on time or carpet is the wrong color etc.), you have the forms in hand as proof. No one can argue with you or charge you incorrectly when you have the proper paperwork with you. Co Brand - Get creative, partner with your supplier and share the expense. If the show rules allow, and it makes sense for both brands, it could be a win-win situation for all. One booth that caught my eye a few months ago was IconicCNC's 10x20 booth at the #AWFS2017 (woodworking show). Their booth was simple and to the point. One half was for demonstrating their new CNC Router, the other half of the space was sponsored by AutoDesk (woodworking software for designers and makers), the software that they use to manage the CNC program preparation. I thought this was #coolandclever. Check out my interview with their founder on YouTube.
Here are a couple more fun tidbits that no one loves to do, but it will save you money! a. Buy trash bags, and cool trash cans from Target to accessorize your booth. Ship your giveaways or brochures in the trash cans w/the booth to the show. Empty trash cans a couple of times throughout the day into your trash bag and walk it to the nearest show provided trash bins. b. If you have a big booth, add a vacuum and store it in your booth closet. Vacuum the floor on your own when it’s dirty. For 10x30 or smaller, get a compact carpet/floor sweeper from Walmart and pack it with your booth. You’ll be amazed how much money you can save with a little ‘bit of planning.
Written by: Li Jackson
Connect with me on LinkedIn: L Jackson