Trade shows, conferences, expos — industry events to see and be seen by prospects and peers — are a critical component in most B2B integrated marketing programs. If you want to make the most of the time, manpower and money you’ve invested, then you'll need a complete trade show strategy—one that’s used all year round.
Luckily, we've prepared our B2B Trade Show Checklist to help you get started.
Download the High-Res Version of Axiom's Trade Show Checklist
These days, most small- to mid-sized companies won't use a full-time trade show manager--at times, these tasks are bundled with other marketing roles.
But, this stretch in resources is a gamble. A big one. Without a trade show manager, a company is left vulnerable to a small return for a whole lot of work. And we’re talking a lot of work here; just see some of the jobs a trade show manager is expected to do for each show.
Trade Show Manager Responsibilities
- Evaluate opportunities
- Prep your plan with the year’s budget & schedule
- Craft the appropriate messaging deck
- Develop creative & booth environment experience
- Promote your presence at the show
- Sourcing—man the booth with the right team per show
- Fabricate exhibit
- Order power & exhibit elements (power, carpet, plants, etc.)
- Logistics (i.e. Bill of Lading, right to work or union state, set ups & tear downs, shipping & storage of show assets)
- Measure / Analyze results & analytics (before / after event)
- Refine & finesse execution based on the findings
- Complete effective follow-ups on leads generated from each show
Quite a lot of roles for one person—or even one team—to do by themselves. But what most people don’t know is a huge percentage of show costs are in the logistics—travel, shipping and set up fees—not the development of creative deliverables and the marketers who deliver these key messages to your audience.
So it’s in these logistics where the most expensive human errors happen. Unsurprisingly, mastering the art of trade show management optimizes the precious marketing dollars. In fact, it’s the best way to avoid those classic pitfalls for trade show flops.
1) DIFM Solution - Trade Show Booth
One popular solution to the resource and logistics dilemma is to outsource the trade show management function to a trusted marketing communications partner. If you go this route, you’ll be partnering with an expert who will:
- Research the relevant shows (for your audience)
- Develop a budget
- Plot out the scheduling and logistic requirements
- Assist in (or lead) the development of creative (aka: the fun stuff)
- Quality control the fabrication of booth assets
- Manage the ongoing shipment, installation, tear down and storage (aka: the least glamorous stuff)
The end result: a company’s internal marketing team are relieved from hours of labor, and the risk of costly errors. They also get a visually impressive, thematically moving trade show presence with clear, concise messaging.
2) DIY Solution - Trade Show Booth
If outsourcing these tasks to a marketing expert isn’t feasable, we’ve revamped our “B2B Trade Show Checklist” to help guide the increasingly-complex world of planning, managing and QC-ing your company’s participation in key industry events.
Want more on Trade Show marketing? Download the checklist.
Or, if you’re searching for help with your trade show prep, or to discuss your digital marketing strategy as a whole, contact Axiom - we can help.