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Exhibit Concepts

Ask the Experts: How to Save Money & Improve Efficiency for Trade Shows, Part 1 of 3

Exhibit Concepts September 11, 2017

In the face-to-face marketing industry, planning is crucial. As you head into the final quarter of the year, it’s important to take stock of your trade show program. As you work to evaluate your successes and identify areas of improvement, it can be easy to forget important details and key elements along the way.

For nearly 40 years, Exhibit Concepts has been in the business of designing, building, and managing of trade shows and branded environments. Who better to offer you pointers than our experts?

We asked each department three key questions:

  1. How can clients save money or use their budget more efficiently?
  2. What is the best way for clients to avoid surprises in the latter portion of the event planning process?
  3. Which upgrades, booth trends, or emerging engagements do you see on the horizon that clients can implement to save time and money?

In part 1 of 3, we will focus our attention on the first question. There are several key ways our team works to help our clients save money and use their budget as efficiently as possible. Here’s what they had to say:

From the Creatives

Booth design is all about balance. That is, balancing between creating an engaging, beautiful trade show space that meets the client’s needs while also meeting their budget. From a budgetary standpoint, our design team is always on the lookout for new products that are unique but also lightweight and budget conscious. These solutions include incorporating our vast inventory of rental property, comprised of lightweight modular solutions and choosing materials that are light in weight and aesthetically pleasing, too.

From the Graphics Department

Investing in quality graphics that will last over a year (or more) is crucial to making the most of your investment, according to our graphics department. Knowing you have recurring shows at the same time each year can not only help from a planning perspective, but also helps you to avoid last minute rush or overnight charges, which are notoriously pricey. Start early in order to take advantage of “early bird” discounts and always plan ahead.

From the Fabricators

Our team is comprised of many skilled individuals who specialize in electrical, carpentry, and painting. R&D is a major factor in our process. Our clients are number one, and finding new ways to serve their needs is important to us. For example, we recently built a custom trade show booth for a longtime client. That client wanted a structure that spanned the length of their large booth, but also wanted to avoid the added cost of rigging the structure. Our team quite literally tested the integrity of the span by seeing how far we could go with internal support only; proving that you don’t know how far you can go until you find the limit. By running reinforcements through the interior of the span, we were able to support the weight of the span without the need for rigging from the ceiling of the exhibit hall.

From Account Managers

When it comes to account management, planning ahead and meeting timeline goals is of the utmost importance. Many clients attend the same shows each year or even every two years. In this instance (and all others), a program approach is of great value.

From our Engagement Specialists

Incorporating engagement into the trade show is a major trend in the industry that we don’t see going away anytime soon. However, it is more important than ever to invest in meaningful engagement that provides a compelling experience for visitors. Our team believes engagement should be smart and help deliver on your goals, whatever they may be.

From Show Services

When it comes to services, planning ahead and meeting deadlines is a crucial component to budgeting in this area. Our Show Services department pointed out that meeting the discount deadline date is key, which gives customers 20% to 30% savings from the standard price. As other departments echoed, designing new booth property with lighter weight building materials is the best way to save on drayage and shipping costs.

From the Shipping Department

As other departments have echoed, timing and weight are everything when it comes to shipping costs. Incorporating lightweight materials, such as rental systems or fabric, is a great option for not only cutting down on weight, but also on the number of crates you need and drayage costs.

From Leadership

One school of thought with regard to how to save money or use the budget more efficiently is to go through every single line item involved in executing a particular show and shopping around for the lowest price on each individual item. But this approach can actually backfire and increase total cost when there are mistakes and rework when the different parties don't work well together. More often, consolidating resources with a limited number of full-service partners can result in a more seamlessly executed event and a lower overall cost.

This is only the beginning; there is plenty more advice on saving money and making the most of your budget to come in parts two and three of this series. In the meantime, why not use our Trade Show Checklist to ensure you have everything in place for your next show?

Want to read Part Two? You can view it HERE.

NFIB Holds Meeting with Congressman Mike Turner

Exhibit Concepts September 06, 2017

NFIB-body.jpgAt Exhibit Concepts, we take pride in being a small, woman-owned business. Our In particular, Exhibit Concepts is proud to participate in events that help small businesses share information and learn more ways they can positively impact their employees, clients, and communities.company is a member of several groups that support businesses like ours, including The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). These memberships are a crucial way for us to stay informed about legislation that can potentially affect our operations, and interact with our fellow business professionals that own and operate similar businesses. 

One such event was held recently at Exhibit Concepts; the NFIB held their meeting on premise, gathering together several local business owners. The group discussed upcoming and ongoing legislative issues, but dedicated most of the meeting to Congressman Mike Turner, who serves Ohio’s 10th District. Congressman Turner spoke to the group about the importance of small business and touched on some of the issues affecting these types of companies, including insurance, health care, and job creation.

NFIB-Social.jpg“It’s always an honor to host the NFIB at our facility, an organization that works to support businesses like ours,” said Kelli Glasser, President and CEO of Exhibit Concepts. “We are a proud member of the NFIB, which gives us the opportunity to interact with influencers like Congressman Turner. It’s important for us to have a voice, working alongside policymakers to support the small businesses that support our economy."

Resource: Preparing for a Successful Trade Show

Exhibit Concepts September 01, 2017

You've made the decision to attend a trade show and allocated a lot of your marketing budget to the event. So, what steps can you and your team take to make this a successful investment? There are many variables and complexities involved in exhibiting, so preparation (among other things!) is a a crucial part of the process.

It's time to take the guesswork out of preparing for your next trade show. 

We compiled our advice into 10 key steps, covering topics like:

  • The planning process
  • Establishing Buyer Personas
  • Planning the right engagement

You can get all the pointers in our free White Paper: 10 Steps to Prepare for a Successful Trade Show. It's a FREE download and you can get your copy HERE.


4 Key Steps to Choosing the Right Trade Shows

Exhibit Concepts August 24, 2017

The decision to attend a trade show is not one your company takes lightly. It’s an investment (and a worthwhile one, at that) and therefore the pressure is on to make the most of your allotted budget. There are many considerations, from ensuring you have a timeline in place to choosing the best trade show hall location. While these and many other elements like booth design are crucial to a successful trade show program that meets each of your goals, we believe choosing the best shows for your brand is another key consideration and one that you should evaluate on a regular basis.

In many cases, trade shows are held the same time each year. In others, two shows might be held on a seasonal basis or even on a domestic and international basis. We have clients who attend shows that are only held once every two years, making their presence at that trade show a high stakes situation. In the case of an industry show held every two years, the choice to exhibit is quite cut and dry, but still others present a choice that could make or break your program.

Step One: Analysis

The first step to making a trade show decision is to gather information about your industry, markets, and where your product and offerings fit in order to make an educated decision. This knowledge is helpful, but it pales in comparison to the learning you will gain from speaking with your internal marketing, sales, and product management teams. This will not only give you a better understanding of internal goals, but also of the target markets for sales and marketing.

When speaking to these groups, keep in mind the information you are trying to gather while also using open ended questions to allow your team to educate you on their knowledge and thought process. For example, sales is out there in the trenches, shaking hands and really getting the pulse of not only the industry but what your clients are seeking in the marketplace. However, product or vertical marketing managers know the market really well and can be relied upon for the bulk of the data you require.

Step Two: Research

The best way to understand what customers and prospects need is to simply ask them! While this seems like an obvious step, it’s one that cannot be skipped when researching potential trade shows for your company. There is some key information that you want to gather from clients and prospects during this phase, including:

Typical show attendance

Shows they consider important

An overall interest in your product or similar products

Of all this information, understanding the overall industry awareness of your company is among the most important. This awareness will help you to understand expected booth traffic if you were to attend a show so you can closely align your goals across departments. If they aren’t aware of your company, no problem: think of the trade show as a way to make a mark on prospects by making a good first impression.

Step Three: Understanding Your Options

While some industries may be cut and dry from a show perspective, with only one major show held per year, many others offer a myriad of options. If a show is offered in the spring and the winter, should you pick a season or attend both? Have you identified your buyer personas and if so, what does this information tell you about their behavior in regards to trade show attendance?  If so, it is important to make sure the right roles (personas) are attending the show. Just because a show covers a particular industry it might attract a role that you are not trying to reach. Examine prior year attendee lists to see the actual titles and companies attending.

By researching your options, you can begin to develop a plan. At Exhibit Concepts, we believe strongly in using a program approach for trade shows. Start well before the busy season and create a plan of attack that aligns with your goals. Understand more about typical attendance, the number of exhibitors and competitors present, and your company’s potential investment. Most shows have an educational component; is this something that resonates with your clients and prospects? Think about how your presence or sponsorship of that aspect of the show can provide a benefit- or if your money is best spent elsewhere in the exhibit hall.

Step Four: Time to Decide

You’ve done all your research and thoroughly analyzed the results. Now is the time to make that critical decision about show selection. Use your data to make an educated decisions based on your findings and also trust your gut when it comes to a path. Organizing information in a spreadsheet can help you easily compare shows and even a meaningful conversation with your exhibit house can expedite a wise choice.

Once the decision is made, use your findings to help you establish goals in regards to leads, traffic, and other measurables that will be useful in presenting information to management about the success of the selected shows.

After you return from a show and it’s fresh in your mind, take your team through a Start, Stop, Continue Exercise to really dig into the performance of the show. You’ll gain valuable insights to help you chart the path for the next show.

Top Trade Show Trends for 2018 Planning

Exhibit Concepts August 11, 2017

We are entering one of the busiest times of year for event and trade show managers. Budgets and plans are due for next year’s show calendar and the fall historically hosts the most events. Added to that, many companies hold an annual sales or strategy meeting at the end of the calendar year (or at the beginning of the New Year) that requires a lot of attention and planning. With that in mind, we thought it would make sense to revisit our Top 5 Trade Show Trends from the beginning of 2017 to see if there are any notable updates to help with your plans.

Trend One: It’s All About Technology

Trend Update: Still True and Possibly Even More Pronounced Now

It will come as no surprise that incorporating technology into trade show spaces will continue to be a major trend in 2017, as it has in years past. And that trend will continue into 2018. It’s the topic on everyone’s mind. We are a highly connected society and the tradeshow floor is no exception; visitors are expecting information to be delivered in new, innovative ways. Trade show attendees are looking to be educated and informed as much as they are looking to be entertained and “wowed” and technology is often the answer to do both.

Technology doesn’t need to be complicated, however: it can be as simple as a touch screen or the incorporation of small devices like Bluetooth® beacons that integrate with client’s products. Bringing these items into a space helps draw people in, while also gathering data and delivering a brand’s message in a compelling way.

At Exhibit Concepts, we have an Engagement Strategist who works alongside our creative team to assist our account executives in incorporating technology into trade show environments for our clients. 

Trend Two: Keep a Human Touch 

Trend Update:  Still True

While technology can be paramount in attracting visitors to your booth, it should never be at the expense of quality human interaction. An authentic conversation is still your most valuable asset. It should add another layer to what a company brings to the table. There is no better way to uncover and understand customers’ needs than by properly staffing trade show spaces with the right people who are excellent listeners. And make sure that they are properly trained on your brand story.

Look for booths that draw visitors in with unique elements that engage the senses while also delivering a meaningful message delivered in an honest and compelling way

Trend Three: Make it Personal 

Trend Update:  Make it Unique!

Every client wants to stand out from their competitors. They need solutions that are crafted to their specific needs in order to step up their presence and be noticed. A custom exhibit is the best way to deliver a truly personal, unique experience for visitors. A unique problem requires a unique solution that captures the essence of a brand while also delivering key messages to the audience.

2017 will be the year to focus on innovative booth designs that support and enhance a brand’s promise and stands out on the show floor- and from the crowd.  

Trend Four: Mind the Budget

Trend Update:  Still True

Creative BriefWhile custom exhibits work for many clients, others face tight budgetary challenges. The good news is you don’t have to sacrifice your presence at shows for the sake of the budget. You can still accomplish your goals by leveraging rental solutions and unique engagement approaches in a truly memorable way. It’s true: you can stand out without breaking the bank. Rental solutions allow brands to repurpose and reuse materials and properties. When done right, with fresh graphics, messaging and a compelling engagement experience, rental solutions appear custom and add great value to your company’s marketing efforts.

Keep an eye out for trade show spaces that deliver meaningful messages without big investment- and still produce compelling results.

Trend Five: Find New Ways to Engage: 

Trend Update:  Still True, with a Twist

2017 will be all about meaningful engagement. The focus will be on finding creative ways to get people out of the aisles and into the booth with fresh, new ideas. Whether it’s incorporating technology or acquiring data in a unique way, booths should draw visitors in and get them talking and keep them wanting more. Delivering a compelling user experience is what it’s all about (see all other trends above)- and for good reason. Today’s trade show attendees are a very savvy bunch. They’ve taken time out of the office to attend a conference and exhibition and they constantly evaluate whether their investment was worthwhile.

The team at Exhibit Concepts recently brought engagement into a trade show space by creating a smart, interactive trade show booth for Adwerx, a digital marketing agency for real estate professionals. This space successfully increased traffic and pulled visitors into their space with a creative solution that resulted in meetings, direct sales, and quality leads. Engagement doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does need to be compelling.

Trend Six:  Brand Continuity 

Trend Update:  NEW!

Increasingly, brand managers and event marketers are working together to ensure a cohesive brand experience across all branded environments. When your clients come to you – your company’s lobby, showroom and executive briefing center, all of these environments should communicate your brand’s identity with cohesive graphics, color palette, technology and finishes. If you “take your brand on the road” with local activation events or a mobile vehicle tour – the goal is to communicate a consistent brand experience. And when you meet clients and prospects at a trade show – your space is a mini-representation of all your company and brand(s) stand for across every touchpoint.

This means it is more important than ever to ensure your face-to-face marketing is also end-to-end. Want to see this in action? See how our team provided this solution to Vertiv.

Trend Seven: Program Approach

Trend Update:  NEW!

Experienced trade show managers are recognizing the value of taking a program approach to their efforts. They recognize the value of organizing their show calendar into tiers where they can align strategy, goals, assets, and resources in the most effective way to achieve their overall goals and manage the budget. They are looking for exhibit house partners who can manage the scale of a large program consisting of several large strategic brand awareness shows, medium size brand and lead gen show and a host of small, local selling events. Automation and eManagement solutions are critical to make sense of it all.

Going into 2018, we expect to see these seven trends continue for the most part with a few tweaks as well as new trends around materials and design start to emerge. We’ll post our 2017 recap and thoughts on 2018 early in the New Year.

In the meantime, as you head into your busy season and planning for 2018, keep these 7 ideas in mind. Here are some other resources to help you plan for the busy season:

How to Choose the Best Exhibit Space

Want a Winning Trade Show Strategy? Try Start, Stop, Continue

5 Key Steps to Take a Program Approach for Trade Shows

Exhibitions Mean Business for Face-to-Face Marketing

Exhibit Concepts August 08, 2017

By Kelli Glasser, President & CEO 

Recently, over 100 individuals from our industry gathered to speak to our representatives on Capitol Hill during Exhibitions Day.  The annual fly-in is led by the International Association of Exhibits and Events (IAEE), and 2017 was the fourth installment, with attendance growing each year.  While there are no exhibits, it is the epitome of the time-limited face-to-face marketing influence that is central to our industry.

After being well-prepared by IAEE’s advocacy consultant, Roger Rickart, constituents visited their House Representatives and Senators in state-based groups for brief non-political meetings to create awareness and ask for congressional support on the key issues facing the exhibitions industry.  It involves a lot of walking between congressional office buildings and talking fast to impart a lot of information in a 15-minute meeting.

In 2017, the issues centered on fostering fair and free trade and the exhibitions industry’s role in that, such as:

  • Protecting Brand USA, a bipartisan program that promotes our country overseas as a business and tourist destination. It is funded by international airline passenger fees and private industry, and in 2016 it added almost $9B to the US economy for a 28:1 ROI.  Yet the FY2018 presidential budget proposal calls for defunding it.
  • Urging House Members to support H.R. 1265, the Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure Act, which would remove an outdated cap on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) and thus generate billions of dollars for airport infrastructure, making travel into and through America safer, easier, and more attractive.
  • Creating awareness and eventual support for funding of the Exhibitions and Meetings Safety and Security Initiative (EMSSI) that is currently in development by IAEE aligned with the Department of Homeland Security’s Safety Act.
  • Encouraging Congress to support their chamber’s respective bills for the Stop Online Booking Scams Act (H.R. 2495 and S. 1164) to prevent the 15 million fraudulent bookings and resulting $1.3B monetary losses by hotels and consumers. Under this Act, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) could investigate this matter further and state attorneys general could pursue restitution on behalf of victims.

Here were the personal highlights for Bill (my husband and company co-owner) and me, as we participated in 2017:  In addition to having positive conversations with several Ohio congressional staff aides, we had the opportunity to talk with Ohio Senator Rob Portman.  We shared our own company story related to the online booking scams to the policy coordinator for Congressman Bob Latta, who is closely interested in that bill as a member of  the Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee.  We are shown (in the orientation segment) on CNTV’s Exhibitions Day 2017 Recap video posted on exhibitionsday.org.


While EDPA is a supporting member of the event, there has been little presence from our association in the four years to date.  The majority of the participants have come from IAEE’s membership, such as show organizers and general contractors.  An excellent way to maintain recognition as an important player in the industry is to show our strength in numbers at Exhibitions Day.

Any issue, practice, regulation, or law in the world that affect U.S. exhibitions in turn affects our own businesses, the livelihoods of our employees, and our clients. There is a lot at stake for each of us. Our lawmakers rely on us as citizens and constituents to let them know what’s important to us – when we tell them our stories and ask for their support on our issues, they do pay attention.

Please mark your calendar now to join me at next year’s Exhibitions Day, June 5-6, 2018, in Washington, D.C.  For more information, visit exhibitionsday.org.

Trade Show Tips: How to Choose the Best Exhibit Space

Exhibit Concepts August 07, 2017

You’ve decided that investing in face-to-face marketing will achieve your brand awareness and lead generation goals, now it’s time to get down to the business of creating a plan. It’s important to not only select the right trade shows to attend, but how much to invest, your messaging, campaigns to drive traffic to the booth, a compelling design that will attract the right prospects and leads to your space, and the experience they will have in your space. These are important decisions that can make or break the success of your program, but as important as these steps are, one of your first decisions can be the most important.

Much like real estate, location is everything at a trade show. Selecting the right location for your booth is a crucial component to a trade show that yields the results you want. More so, it’s true that not all exhibit spaces are created equal. This is all the more reason to not only choose the right size but also to select the best space in the exhibit hall for your needs.

So, where should your booth be located in the exhibit hall? Here is a breakdown of considerations in order to find the best solution that aligns with your goals.

Focus on Your Goals

What are you trying to accomplish by attending this show? Is it all about scheduling pre-set meetings with current and potential clients during the show or do you simply want to generate buzz on the floor and drive traffic? Your goals for the show are a driving force behind your booth selection. A goal of scheduling meetings means that you’ll need designated meeting area in your booth and a quieter environment to have a meaningful conversation. On the contrary, if you need to generate buzz you want to be front and center or in a high traffic area that will draw visitors into your space.

Consider the Audience Journey

The more you understand your clients and how they reach a decision, the more effective your messaging becomes. Think through their pain points; research their current situation, and how your unique solution can solve their problems. Motivation comes in many forms, but compelling clients (potential and current) to engage with you on the show floor is a great start to a meaningful conversation. Choosing a location that makes you easily accessible at a trade show can increase the likelihood of engagement with visitors.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

How important is line of sight? Understanding traffic patterns can be difficult by simply looking at a floorplan, but think about whether your space is visible from main aisle ways and escalators when making a space selection. Never underestimate the power of simply making eye contact and driving traffic to your booth; your staff can take it from there. But it all begins with drawing them in.

Scope out the Competition

While it’s true that you can’t win a race by constantly looking back to see what your competitors are doing, you should at least be aware of their presence. By viewing the show floorplan, you can understand where your competitors are located and make a decision based on the best scenario for your company. Keep in mind that being next to your competitors isn’t always a bad thing! In some cases, you can draw a bigger crowd or make it easier for potential clients to visit more than one vendor when they come to the show hall by being adjacent or in close proximity to a competitor. On the other hand, some distance could help your space to shine versus being overwhelmed by the much larger or more impressive competition. The choice is yours!

Traffic-Driving Marketing Plan

And there will be situations when you don’t get your ideal location. In those cases, your integrated marketing campaign to drive the right traffic to your booth becomes more important. In order to have the greatest chance of success, you should be developing your campaign, including on-site sponsorship opportunities, at the same time you are working on the booth design and engagement plan.

Selecting the best exhibit hall location is just one piece of the face-to-face marketing puzzle. Need help making a decision? Contact our team or download our Checklist for Choosing the Best Exhibit Hall Location using the form below.

Is creativity a key component of your face-to-face marketing program? It should be. Our Creative Brief Template will get you and your team started down the path to creative thinking.

Power of Creative Flight at Dayton Children's Hospital

Exhibit Concepts July 31, 2017

In Dayton, Ohio, flight holds major significance. Aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright developed and built their design for the world’s first successful airplane right here in Dayton. Inspired by that rich history, Dayton Children’s Hospital designed their 260,000 square-foot inpatient tower inspired by the power of flight. Not just aviation, but animals like birds and insects like dragonflies. It was a compelling, creative way to bring an element of wonder into the hospital environment.

“The theme of ‘things that fly’ is throughout the hospital in a whimsical, through a child’s eyes way,” Dayton Children’s president Deborah Feldman said. “We wanted to take out of that aviation history the sense that anything is possible, we believe in ourselves, and we believe in what we can do.”

Birds, insects, balloons, airplanes and even a super hero flying gerbil can be found throughout the hospital. Exhibit Concepts was brought onboard to create a series of colorful graphic panels and murals located throughout the inpatient tower. The murals were created in shapes like an airplane and hummingbird, using individual painted pieces that, when assembled, create an image.

“Working with Dayton Children’s Hospital has been an honor for our team,” said Michael Zehring, Project Manager for Exhibit Concepts. “When we were approached about helping to bring their ‘Flight’ theme to life in their facility, our fabricators and graphics department stepped up to create incredible light boxes, graphic panels, and three dimensional murals throughout the hospital.”

Each mural was hand assembled in our facility, with two employees working together to add the painted pieces to the pre-drilled mural board. After some time to prep the pieces, the team spent 26 hours assembling the mural one piece at a time. We captured the action on camera for posterity, which you can view below. 


Designed by Rai Pinto Studio and Rubio Arauna Studio
Curated by Distinctive Art Source. 



How to Take a Program Approach for Trade Shows: 5 Key Steps

Exhibit Concepts July 27, 2017

When you are relatively new to a pre-existing events team or program, it can be overwhelming to get a handle on all the different number of trade shows, show acronyms, venues, assets, internal and external partners, products, brands and sales professionals. Taking a “program approach” and organizing your shows and assets into tiers can help you stay focused, concentrate on your objectives, control spending and will probably help your peace of mind.

Step 1: Audit Your Show Calendar

Start by taking a 30,000-foot view of all trade shows that your company has attended over the past 3-4 years. It is important to look back over several years because some shows are only held every two or three years. Also, you may have attended a specific show in the past due to a product launch or acquisition but it is no longer on your current calendar, but if conditions change, it might be once again. These are just two common reasons for changes in the show calendar but there are MANY other reasons a company could modify their attendance at a show.

Step 2: Organize Shows into Tiers

With the comprehensive list of prior shows in hand, you can now start to organize them into similar categories or “tiers” usually aligned around size, scope and spend. Tier 1 shows – also sometimes called “strategic” or “major” shows – tend to be handled by or have Corporate Marketing involvement. These are typically larger island booths with multiple brands or products represented and an integrated marketing campaign driving activation. Install and dismantle for a Tier 1 show likely takes several days and significant man-hours with possible overtime. Tier 2 shows – sometimes referred to as “regional” shows, as the name suggests, can still be larger booth spaces but the attendee audience tends to be contained to a region or state. These shows are typically set-up by an install and dismantle team in a matter of hours. And finally, Tier 3 shows – commonly referred to as “local” or “sales” shows – are typically table top or inline booths that can be set up by a sales or marketing professional with very minimal effort.

Step 3: Identify Your Objectives

Identifying your objectives for each show may also help to organize your shows into the tiers or categories. You will also see commonality to the objectives that you have for each tier. Tier 1 shows tend to be about brand awareness and major corporate initiatives, product launches, etc. Tier 3 shows tend to be territory events managed by Sales for specific lead generation activities.

Step 4: Align Resources

There is a business maxim that touts the benefits of aligning resources and efforts to the anticipated payout and reward. You don’t want to over-invest or put all your resources against an initiative that is not likely to generate a commensurate return. And here is where technology, CRM, and automation can have a huge impact because there tends to be more volume in the Tier 3 category but lower return on each individual event.

Step 5: Evaluate New Opportunities

As new opportunities arise, you now have a framework to evaluate the new event to see if and where it might fit into your overall program. Of course, it is also good practice to regularly evaluate the events that you have historically attended to make sure they are generating the results that you want and you are applying the appropriate resources to the opportunity. In some cases, you may decide to move an event to a lower or higher tier of investment and in other cases, you may decide to eliminate the event from your calendar altogether.

This program approach to managing your trade show calendar can also be applied to how you align your event team and can easily transition into other aspects of how you do business. At the end of the day, this process can help you stay focused on your objectives, manage your budget, and of course provide you with a little peace of mind along the way.

How to Budget for International Trade Shows

Exhibit Concepts July 20, 2017

So, you want to take your domestic trade show to an international audience. Or perhaps you’re already participating in international trade shows but you want to expand your program to additional cities. Regardless of the stage of your particular program, there is great value in understanding how trade shows operate internationally because it can be very different than in the United States.

There are multiple ways to approach international exhibiting – with advantages and disadvantages for each. But one of the first steps in creating a budget for an international show starts with defining your approach.

Understanding worldwide exhibit approaches will improve your ability to:

  • Negotiate more favorable rates and terms
  • Understand your options and the trade-offs
  • Manage contingencies
  • Stay within your budget

Ask yourself: do you need single use (rental) or multi use (purchase) options for your booth?

Creating a budget for an international show starts with defining your approach. When evaluating said approach, it is important to take a comprehensive look at the wide variety of options available worldwide:

“Build & Burn”: This is a popular option for trade shows held outside of the USA. There is more planning required for each show with this option, but there is no storage or refurbishments necessary. Build & Burn booths allow for increased flexibility and customization for each show. However, there is a higher potential for inconsistency of messaging, look and feel between shows because property is discarded after each show.

System Construction: Using modular, standardized fabrication materials; this option involves the assembly of exhibit property with systems like BeMatrix or Octanorm. These systems are almost always rented, but can be purchased, depending on your needs.

Hybrid Exhibit: A combination of custom and standardized elements is used to fabricate this type of exhibit. Generally, the system components are rented, and the custom components are purchased.

Portable Exhibits: Known as “pop-ups,” these modular exhibit structures with standard layouts, normally used for small exhibits, are most often purchased, but can be rented from some suppliers.

Existing Custom Exhibit: Another option is existing “used” property, which can also be rented or purchased. Used Exhibit Properties

Custom Construction: Commonly referred to as “multi-use,” this is a typical setup for trade shows in the U.S., and is designed / built to the exact needs of your brand. This approach generally necessitates storage, and may require refurbishment over time. There may be less flexibility for each show, and typically requires a higher initial investment. These properties can be used for a 2-3 year show schedule and is stored in wooden crates.

International Budgeting InfographicWant more information on how to choose the best booth option for your next trade show? Download our infographics, HERE.

How to Make Achievable and Appropriate Budget Decisions

When it comes to your budget, planning and careful thought are crucial to a successful international program. If possible, begin by analyzing past projects to understand the budget, actual expenses and results achieved. Then, compare ranges and prices per square meter from quotes. It can be helpful to utilize case studies for comparables until you are able to develop your own portfolio of past work. Finally, rely on experts in the field to offer guidance and help along the way.

Need help understanding the typical line items for costs around the world? It’s crucial to find a partner that understands the nuances of working internationally. For example, value-added taxes (VAT) are not an expense item in the US but are in Europe.

Have a Contingency Plan

Like everything else in life, it’s important to expect the unexpected when exhibiting internationally. The best way to ensure a smoother path is to minimize changes whenever possible, and have a back-up plan for each stage of the project, especially when on-site. Flexibility is crucial throughout.

Miscommunicating internationally can create many of those unexpected problems during the planning process. Using written documentation and standard (local) industry terms during communication greatly reduces the chances for misunderstandings. Don’t be afraid to use translators, photos and drawings in lieu of words; in this case they really are worth 1,000 words. Want an experienced partner for your international trade show program? Contact us to get started. Or, see our international resources, here.

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