Ask the Trade Show Expert

What Percentage of My Event Budget Should I Dedicate to the Actual Booth Itself?

The industry average to purchase a modular trade show booth is $100 – $150 per square foot for the larger displays. So lets say you have a 20 x 20 booth, the cost would be between $40,000 and $60,000.

Renting a booth is much more cost effective and is about 35% of the purchase cost. With rentals you also have more flexibility in your design and booth space options from show to show.

Your event budget allocation will vary, but according to EXHIBITOR Magazine, here’s how the average trade show budget breaks down:

  • Space = 33%
  • Trade Show Booths & Graphics (construction/refurbishment) = 18%
  • Travel & Expenses = 18%
  • Show Services (electricity, cleaning, drayage, I&D) = 12%
  • Shipping = 9%
  • Promotion = 8%
  • Miscellaneous = 2%

You can estimate your total event budget by multiplying the cost of your space by three. For example, the average floor space costs $21 per square foot. So, for a 20×20 floor space rental expect to pay around $8,400. The budget for that event would be $25,200.

Are Trade Shows really worth attending?

 Absolutely! There is no better value for your marketing dollar. In fact, Trade Shows are the Premiere Source of buying information and 50% of the leads at a show are closed without a sales call. Also, 9% of these leads are closed with only 1 sales call and another 17% with only 2 sales calls. All in all, trade shows generated leads cost an amazing 45% less to close than field sales calls. Now that’s Smart Money Management!In addition, there is a greater opportunity to be brought up to date on the latest trends and developments. Not to mention the opportunity to discuss specific issues with industry professionals. Some trade shows, NAB in Las Vegas for example, are extremely busy and visually competitive. Industry specific trade shows in Las Vegas are always well attended.

How do I know which type of exhibit will best suit my need?

Call us and we will assist you in determining the most effective solution for your Trade Show Exhibit Program. By examining the function of your convention booth — why you’re exhibiting, what you want to accomplish and how that will be done (i.e. product demonstration, conference areas, computer workstations, graphic images, product displaying, etc.) — the appropriate exhibit system recommendations will be made.

When is a Panel System the answer?

For example, your exhibit program dictates that you need design flexibility. A 30′ x 40′ island at one show, a linear 10′ x 20′ at another, and then a 10′ x 10′. Also, you’ll want to display your products. And, then there is the need for locking storage areas, a private conference area and computer work stations. Also, the plasma screen.

What is a “Pop-Up” exhibit system?

A Pop-Up exhibit is an expanding geodesic frame which opens up to become a wall or overhead structure in a matter of seconds! Quick and easy is the watchword with this lightweight exhibit system.

This is the most portable, cost effective system and it is uniquely suited for large format billboard style graphics. In fact, your latest ad may be the best trade show exhibit. Remember that continuity builds recall.

How can I fine-tune my sales and marketing message at shows?

An effective exhibit distinguishes you from your competition and is easy to identify by asking yourself a few simple questions.

1. What do customers think is the most valuable quality about our competitor’s products and services?
2. What might induce them to switch? (Specific product or service related)
3. What are the main complaints customers have about our products and services and of our competitors products and services.
4. Who do they see as market leaders and why?
5. Which customer needs go unfulfilled?
6. What is the key factor in their buying decision?
7. How are changes in the industry and current conditions influencing them now?

You can find the right position for your company and products by answering these questions. At Image Design we know that by partnering with our client, our function as their consultant can often help a company determine the right focus and communicate that with great results on the show floor!

How can our trade show exhibit staff help us get the most out of the show?

Make your company’s goals and objectives clear at a Pre-Show staff meeting. Communicating clear goals and how you intend to achieve them will help employees feel like part of an actual team with a clear goal.

Challenge them!

Here are some topics to cover that help everyone participate as a team.

1. What are the general and specific objectives in attending this show?
2. What elements in our strategy are going to help us attain each general and specific objective?
3. Identify what role each booth staffers will assume. You might assign roles according to product line, geographical area, type of industry of physical location in the booth. Perhaps one person can be assigned to collect leads, replenish literature, take a message or re-direct a potential or current client to the right exhibit staffer.

How does color affect the effectiveness of my exhibit?

 Color creates subconscious impressions. Here are some examples:

Red: Excitement, passion, rescue, warning
Green: Freshness, health, masculinity
Blue: Official appearance, trustworthiness, soothing
Purple: Bravery, lawfulness, excess, regal
Silver: Contemporary, sleek, upscale
Black: Formal, evil, nothingness, sexy
White: Purity, elegance, cleanliness
Brown: Dull, strength, poverty, fertility
Gray: Wisdom, grief, humbleness, strength

Your exhibit structure and the graphics you use will ultimately determine how you are perceived. Judicious use of your corporate logo and brand identities are of course your best method of reinforcing name recognition and brand awareness.

What rule of thumb should guide me where to place my exhibit graphics?

Generally, there is a hierarchy of placement order.

1. Company name, identification at the highest point
2. Tagline or defining statement
3. Three to four broad product categories, departments, service levels

Beyond this, exhibit graphics depart from the Marketing side and enter the sales side. Remember that the booth is a marketing vehicle, and it’s people that handle the sales.

Why not show all our product features, or the full list of services we offer?

The answer is simple! Trade shows are full of distractions! People can only absorb and retain so much information. They talk with lots of people and just the sheer amount of visual distraction at a show can be overwhelming. Its quality here, not quantity!

The exhibit’s job is to focus and reinforce your primary message. If people remember anything about you, what do you want it to be? The exhibit conveys your identity and the specific associations you want people to make with it. Your sales staff best handles the smaller details, as they begin to build or enhance the company’s relationship with the customer.

How much literature should we bring?

Many experts feel the best bet is to mail literature after or during the show. You don’t want your expensive literature to land in the hotel or convention center wastebasket, which happens more often than you want to know. Here’s an idea! Fax names and addresses of who you want the literature mailed out to at the end of the show each day, with a pre-arranged show letter. Your prospects will be amazed at the speed of your response!

How can we plan for success once we’ve taken care of all the details before and during the show?

After the show, you may want to rest but this is when you need to make the most of your investment. The leads and contacts developed at the show need a personal letter and a phone call at the very least. Plan to distribute leads immediately after the show. Following up on the fruits of your labor after the show can make all the difference in the world! Better yet, include a reminder of your exhibits theme or some pleasant association of you exhibit.

What is the 6-second rule?

You have, on average, 6 seconds to meet and evaluate a visitor to your exhibit, based on how many people you need to qualify and speak with at a show. Trade shows are a microcosm of the outside world. Time is compressed at a trade show; it’s a very precious commodity.

The solution is to develop your ability to manage the communication process. Know how to courteously disengage from an unlikely prospect, when to turn over some prospects to the right exhibit staffer and when to take over for them when they need to speak with someone else. Plan for success and be sure everyone in the booth knows their assigned role! The people that need you will really appreciate it!