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Get a step ahead - start planning your 2012 trade shows now

Supplier: Skyline Displays Australia By: Samantha Dawson
09 November, 2011

Mastering the deadline driven world of trade shows can depend on great planning.

All too often, important marketing planning gets overshadowed by urgent logistics planning when we are in the heat of "event management mode".

The year is starting to wind down and the Christmas Holidays are in sight, for many of us who have had a busy year it is really easy to consider just riding out the year and making a start on new plans in January. Sounds nice right? There are a number of good reasons to persevere and get busy planning for 2012 when things aren’t so hectic.

Mastering the deadline driven world of trade shows can depend on great planning. All too often, important marketing planning gets overshadowed by urgent logistics planning when we are in the heat of "event management mode". Due to the flood of deadlines, we get more distracted by the "what to do" rather than the "why to do" it. So why not take the opportunity of a less hectic work schedule to get the ball rolling!

To help you get things moving here is a list of things to consider in your planning for the 2012 show season:

  • Review Past Objectives. Evaluate your 2011 shows to see if you met your set objectives i.e. how many leads converted to sales or your marketing return on investment etc.
  • Set New Objectives. Set your top 2 or 3 objectives for your 2012 trade show program. Remember if you have 2011 objectives that were never measured you may not want to put them on your list for 2012.
  • Set Your Budget. Adjust your budget based on what worked last year, your current financial state, objectives, and opportunities.
  • Select Shows and Booth Spaces. Evaluate your show schedule to determine which shows have the best match with your target market for the best value, and pick the spaces you will take in those shows (if you have not already reserved space).
  • Evaluate Your Exhibit. Review your current tradeshow display. Will it still help you achieve your new marketing objectives for 2012? Does your display require servicing or new graphics, consider getting it fixed or updated now while it is not in use? If your trade show display is beyond repair or just no longer fits with your marketing objective, start researching new exhibit builders and display solution providers, provide them with a detailed brief so you can begin designing a solution that will meet all of your requirements.
  • Review your booth staff. Who performed well in 2011 and who are the people you want on the floor in 2012? Secure the right people while they are in the holiday mood.
  • Research Technology. Consider how you can integrate technology into your exhibition stand to help get more attention, tell your story, and facilitate better conversations between attendees and booth staffers.
  • Start a Trade Show Task Schedule. Create a calendar to remind you of key dates for your 2012 schedule i.e. when to touch base with the show organisers regarding your event manuals, reminders of when show promotions should start and other key goal posts to plan out your show tasks for the new year.

If things are ramping down for you and your company now, the same is happening with your existing and prospective suppliers. Contact your event organisers, display and promotional material providers now and you should be amazed at the level of customer service you will receive. Provide them with a brief of what you need and sit back and see what solutions they can provide.

Give yourself the opportunity to succeed. Take the time to create a solid plan now. You may be pleasantly surprised at the feeling of accomplishment you will have before going on Christmas holidays and hopefully feel less dread when you return to work in the New Year!

Do you think this is good advice? Do you have an experience of Trade Show Planning you would like to share? Post your comments on the Skyline Blog.