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December 17, 2018

3 Areas to Evaluate & Elevate Your Trade Show Program for 2019

Ryan Lovell, Account Executive

In this red-hot economy, it’s tempting for companies setting sales records to be complacent and send the same people with the same exhibit to the same show schedule year-over-year.

Then there are other companies who consistently evaluate their trade show program in three phases: making changes in shows, booth staffing, and exhibitry. The latter will always outperform the former, especially in terms of growth.

The winter is no longer coming, it’s here, and that means it’s a good time to collect the data and make careful evaluations to maximize your investments in 2019. Here are three areas to evaluate.

Your Show Schedule

For each show, collect and prepare (at bare minimum) the total cost, total leads, total revenue, and potential revenue in the pipeline. From there you should be able to establish your return on investment (ROI). Depending on your sales cycle, it may take years to arrive at an accurate ROI. However, if you’ve been exhibiting at the same show for several years, you should see a trend in your ROI. Then you need to compare this information with other shows. Any low performing trade shows should be considered very carefully. On the flip side, you can review where your competitors are exhibiting that you are not. What size is their exhibit? Is the trade show in question fast-growing?

If your goal is for aggressive growth, it’s critical to stop low or negative ROI trade show investments and reallocate those funds to areas such as adding new shows to your schedule, professional development or investing in a new exhibit.

Your Booth Staffers

Just because someone has been with the company for 25 years does not make them an ideal trade show booth staffer. To be an effective staffer, you must actively work the exhibit, address visitors quickly before they leave, and entice attendees to visit your booth.

It’s also critical that booth staffers have proper training. If you have not invested in providing your staffers with ongoing education, now is the time to add it into your budget. Start with your exhibit house. A good exhibit partner has professionals well adept at providing such trainings to elevate performance and results from your staffers.

Your Exhibit

Exhibitry is ever-changing. Hardware is getting lighter, sleeker, and easier to install. Graphics are getting better all the time, and backlit graphics are evolving at a rapid pace. As your exhibit ages, it will experience natural wear and tear. It’s critical to take inventory of damaged or missing graphics and hardware. Now is the perfect time to replace or update your graphics and refurbish extrusions that have been scratched or are in need of powder coating. Perhaps it’s time to throw out your exhibit entirely and start new. If that’s the case, set up a discovery meeting with your trusted consultant and be prepared to prioritize your needs and provide a budget.

By evaluating your trade show program for 2019 and making educated adjustments using data and research, you will accelerate your growth and create distance between you and the competition. If you haven’t started this process, now is the time!

Ryan Lovell, Account Executive
rml@ttskyline.com | 630-376-1524
Ryan spent more than five years as a TradeTec client, planning and executing more than 100 trade shows. Due to the excellent partnership with TradeTec, Ryan’s company was acquired for seven times the earnings. After the acquisition Ryan eventually decided to join the TradeTec team as a sales executive. He draws on his experience as a trade show manager to help his customers find the right solution.

About TradeTec:

Founded in Chicago in 1999, Skyline TradeTec produces innovative trade show exhibits with unmatched customer service and a promise of NO POST SHOW BILLING™ for clients. As an endorsed provider of Skyline products, TradeTec offers the highest quality modular exhibits and portable displays, as well as custom and hybrid solutions. Skyline TradeTec has 6 locations in 5 states, has served over 6,000 clients, and has completed over 50,000 projects worldwide. Learn more about TradeTec at SkylineTradeTec.com.