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5 Tips For Planning Your 2013 Trade Shows

tradeshow calendar 2013

With the new year right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to evaluate this year’s trade show plan and decide what changes you’d like to make for 2013.  Going through an entire year of information ranging from budgets to booth staff is a big task but breaking it down into 5 steps can help you determine what worked, and what needs to be revamped for a successful upcoming year.

1. Review 2012 Budgets Against Actual Expenditure

As the year comes to a close you should be able to obtain financial records from your accounts department outlining the actual expenditure for each event you attended during the 2012 calendar year. Review this expenditure against what you had outlined in your marketing budgets so you can:

  • Ensure that your Return On Investment (ROI) for each event is accurate
  • Review what you have spent to pick out inefficiencies
  • See where you are spending money and come up with a plan on how best to save money or increase value for your event marketing in 2013
  • Determine whether an event should appear on your schedule for 2013
  • Determine if your 2013 budgets are accurate and sufficient

2. Create an Event Schedule for 2013

Jot down a list of events you intend to participate in for 2013. Include information for each event like:

  • Event Name, Date & Location
  • Booth Size & Orientation
  • Number of Booth Staff and if you are super organised – who
  • Budget for the event
  • Event Objectives and Goals

Your schedule may change overtime however this list will create a fantastic foundation for your planning and the organisation of your 2013 events.

3. Create a Brief

Your brief should include all the necessary information to ensure that you meet your event objectives and goals including:

  • Key Messages
  • Promotions to be used pre–show, at–show and post show
  • Key Measures of ROI or event success
  • Required Look at your shows
  • Key Functionality of your stand i.e.
    • Meeting Space
    • Audio Visual Integration
    • Product Display

4. Get Event Stakeholders to Review your Brief

Once your Schedule and Brief are complete. Distribute this information to other key event stakeholders in your organisation to obtain their feedback and suggestions. Doing this should increase buy–in from everyone in the early stages of planning and also ensure that you have all the key information to begin contacting exhibition partners. Your final display solution should be positively received by everyone in your organisation as you have designed it around everyone´s needs, objectives and requirements.

5. Begin Contacting Potential Exhibition Partners

Using the Event Schedule and Brief you have developed begin contacting the exhibition partners that will help you bring your event objectives and goals to life.

Providing Potential Partners with a full event schedule and comprehensive brief will allow them to:

  • Provide you with a solution with a consistent look and feel across all your events
  • Provide a solution that is designed around your unique needs, objectives and requirements
  • Provide recommendations to reduce unnecessary expenditure, increase impact and functionality
  • Assist you to get the most value and impact from your event marketing dollar

Did you find these tips useful? How do you plan for the new show season? Share your advice, experience and stories below.

What's Working In ExhibitingFor more information to help plan a successful year of trade shows in 2013, read the What’s Working In Exhibiting white paper.  Click here to request your free copy of the book with almost 100 tips in 7 key areas or exhibiting. 

About the Author

Samantha Heyden is the Marketing Manager for Skyline Displays Australia and has worked with Skyline since 2002. She has been responsible for developing the marketing strategies, branding and event programs for Skyline throughout Australia. Working alongside the Skyline Displays Australia Project Management Team, she has also been actively involved with assisting clients in meeting their event marketing objectives and return-on-investment with their Australian trade show displays .

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