8 Things to Do First
According to CEIR’s 2018 Marketing Spend Decision Report, trade show exhibitors intend to increase the size of their booths by as much as 20% this year. If you’ve been considering boosting the size of your display, think about the following crucial factors that can determine whether it’s the right time to grow.
Your Vision: When you started out in the trade show business, what was your vision for growth? If you’ve been in the same booth size for many years, perhaps it’s time to push a growth mindset. Besides simply upping your exhibit space size, you might contemplate a more upward-minded multi-media setup. Switch from simple product displays and pamphlets to an interactive booth. Live product demos and presentations not only liven up your booth, they require fresh ideas regarding space and layout.
Timing Key Events: It is cliché but true that timing can be everything. If there is a new product launch in the queue, then it might be ideal timing to expand your show presence and increase your exhibit size to afford the additional exposure needed to support the product launch. There may be a situation where a your company may be doing an initial public offering and the timing could not be better to have an expanded footprint.
By the Numbers: For starters, you’ll need to estimate the size of your optimal display space. Exhibit materials will require up to 50% of the space available. The remainder will be reserved for booth staff and booth visitors. Plan on 40 – 50 square feet of space per staff member. Likewise, plan on 5-10 square feet of room per visitor depending on what kind of booth you have. Busy booths with demos and meetings and live displays will have more people in them at one time than booths that have a come-and-go atmosphere.
What Alternatives: What would happen if we did nothing? What if we kept our current booth size and added another show instead. What do we gain or lose? These are all good exercises to go through when looking at spending additional resources on more booth space. If you goal is branding, you might consider increasing your sponsorship at the event and help position yourself top of mind because of the branded lanyard you have your logo on… or similar.
What About Your Peeps: This sounds super obvious, but a valid consideration. Do we have enough people to staff this appropriately? If we have more than enough staff to cover the expansion, then we can check this off the list.
Your Competition: Fair or not, trade show visitors equate the size of your booth with the size and success of your company. Because of this, a larger booth might imply a more substantial industry presence. Take a look at the competition’s booths and decide if moving up in size might help you stand out. It can be a great move to increase your footprint if you competitor is struggling and this could open the door for you to convince some clients to come over from your competition.
Rules to Live By: What are the regulations you could encounter with the additional commitment to a larger space, based on venue or size of space. There is a great guide to U.S. exhibit rules and regulations that maps out general guides you have to work with.
Look at the Calendar: Have you looked lately at your trade show calendar and determined if each of these events is affording you the space and exposure you need? It might be time to carefully examine each event space in regard to layout and cost to assess the fiscal and physical possibilities of expanding your booth.
One ever present fact we each need to come to grips with, is that trade show budgets are flat and that means make some tough calls in how to spend the budgets we have. Typically, increasing booth size will cause an increase in expenses. However, if upping your exhibit space boosts business, a booth expansion might be the best way to play big in the coming year with increases in brand awareness, product promotion, increases in leads and driving sales. All of which justify the additional expense.
This article was inspired by "Expanding Your Booth" and originally appeared at www.skyline.com