B2B Event Managment: How to plan your trade show

Planning for a trade show as an event manager can be challenging as there is a lot to think about: your marketing goals, your target audience, your communication strategy, your booth design, the equipment logistics, the booth set-up, your team presence, the travel arrangements, etc. Going to a trade show is one thing, but turning it into a marketing & sales success is another. Hereafter you will find  a few tips that can help in planning your next trade show. 

Why do you participate?

What is the purpose of participating in a specific trade show? Are you going to an exhibition to increase awareness, generate leads, launch a new product, extend your sales network, attract new employees, etc. Being clear about your goals is key before deciding on your next event participation.

What is your budget?

The next thing is to think about your budget. As taking part in an exhibition can take a major part of your yearly marketing and communication budget, your investment budget and potential ROI will need to be evaluated in detail before deciding upon your participation. Think about where you want to spend your money on. An attractive show booth with an original stand design and with enough space to meet prospective customers is key to draw the attention of your target segments, but could be a logistic nightmare if not planned and managed well in advance.

Woman writing on white board

How to make it happen?

How to ensure that a cost-effective show booth is delivered, set-up and used the way you planned it?

There are different possibilities: 

  • You can look for a booth builder that will design, create and build your exhibition booth for the trade show. Once the event is done, they can pick it up and bring it to your office. The following problems then arise: where will you store it and how to ensure that it can be reused in future?
  • A 2nd option could be a single-use exhibition stand or display. In this case the stand builder will deliver the stand to the exhibition and you will have to dispose of it after the event. This is clearly not eco-friendly and the costs for building and disposing of it will start cumulating with every event or exhibition.
  • A 3rd option is to use a booth builder in combination with an on-demand storage company. Using the services of an on-demand storage company removes the burden of scheduling employees to be present for shipping out and returning crates with stand material while providing a safe and convenient storage solution for custom and modular trade show exhibits and booths.
Communication display

Who should be present at your booth?

Once you have decided on your show booth, you need to select who will represent your company at the event. Depending on your goals, you will need to decide on the optimal amount & mix of sales, management and product experts as you do not want your booth to be overcrowded with your own people. 

Furthermore, you will need to prepare them, as you want that the messages your people will be giving during the trade show are aligned with your booth messages. Moreover, you need to brief all participants on the goals you want to achieve with the trade show. 

How to promote your presence at the event?

Finally, you need to ensure that people know in advance that you will be at the trade show. Therefore, you need to advertise via different channels where and when potential visitors can see your booth and meet your representatives at the trade show. You can send out an invitation email, publish an article on your blog, create an event on Facebook and/or create a special hashtag on Instagram,…Other creative ideas are setting up a countdown, promise to unveil something,… 

Social media

As you can see, organizing a trade show requires detailed preparation and professional project management and of course also a good event manager.

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