Drawing up a detailed budget for your company's next trade show.

Exposure Group, Benjamin Feltham


Attending a trade show is a major opportunity for your business. If you do it right, it's a chance to make significant headway on your marketing goals - reach out to new customers, pick the brains of some of your industry peers and maybe even start to forge key business-to-business partnerships.

It's important to draw up a budget before you hit the road and travel to a show.

There's only one major drawback - it can get expensive. Between all the travel, lodging and meal costs for your employees and the actual price of your on-site marketing efforts, the dollars and cents can add up quickly, and it's tough to prove that you're making ends meet. After all, most of your gains will be intangible and only show over the long haul.

That's why it's important to draw up a budget before you hit the road and travel to a show. Take a long, critical look at your financial expectations and make sure there are no glaring areas where you're over- or under-spending.

Doing the groundwork to budget effectively

Planning to produce trade show exhibits can be an overwhelming process. Especially at a big event, there are so many things to see and people to meet that it's hard to narrow your focus and come up with a concrete plan.

It's essential to do so, however, because otherwise, you risk over-budgeting not only your money but your time as well. Trade show planning is all about making the most of the limited resources you have. According to the Queensland Government business and industry portal, the first step should be to carefully research the event you're attending and come up with a straightforward list of your top marketing priorities.

Once you've done that, you can begin to create a budget for the event in question. You want to allocate resources in such a way that maximises your impact with your target audience. Figure out who exactly you're trying to win over, then draw up a plan that's optimised to do it.

Spending on the right strategic elements

Perhaps the first thing you think about when budgeting a trade show trip is the cost of the trip itself. Before you even get into the actual trade show, you have to think about the price of travel, lodging, food and so on. But then, once you walk through the convention centre gates and enter the show, there's plenty more budgeting to do.

You want to be sure you're spending on all the right things.You want to be sure you're spending on all the right things.

Trade Show Advisor noted that your budget will be determined in large part by the size and scope of the exhibition you have planned. Many trade shows rent out space by area, charging a set amount for each square metre you cover. Once you've figured out how much real estate you can afford, the rest of your budget will fall into place from there.

After you've passed that stage, you can begin to think about the specific ways you'll fill that space you've rented. You'll need a booth, utilities like lighting to accentuate it and, of course, exhibit designers to help you draw up the perfect graphics for winning your audience over.

Going the extra mile for elegant design

Perhaps the most important element in your entire budget is getting your trade show budget right. If you've got a classy booth, it will draw in customers immediately and help you deliver that winning sales pitch.

At Exposure Group, we work closely with our customers to figure out exactly how that booth should look and feel. No matter what industry you're in or what type of exhibition you're attending, we are committed to helping you find solutions that work. Talk to us today about how we can begin that process together.