One of the key components of success at a trade show is preparing well ahead of time. A carefully crafted trade show agenda can ensure that no time, money or energy is wasted.
While hiring an experienced exhibit firm to handle trade show services can help significantly with preparations, a detailed agenda that guides both their team and yours is vital to hitting deadlines and decreasing the stress of exhibit management. Follow these tips to create the perfect agenda for your next event.
Plan in Advance
Take the first step – develop a strategic plan that describes program objectives and details how each will be measured. Then identify the shows that offer the best opportunity to reach your target audience and determine the budget required to support participation.
From this, create a tactical plan that describes the steps and timeline for each event and for each phase of preparation, including:
- Selection of booth space, with a clear understanding of advantages and disadvantages of the show floor location to share with your custom trade show exhibit designer
- Exhibit and experiential design that promotes your brand and draws attendees to your environment
- Brand messaging for hero-scale, intermediary and human-scale elements
- Products and services to promote and/or demonstrate
- Booth staff training based on expertise required to accurately inform and engage with attendees
- Procedures to follow that will provide data for measuring success
Of course, add anything else to this list that will make the exhibit run efficiently and stand out in the best way.
Dive into the Details
Several months prior to the event, plan a kick-off meeting with all staff involved, including those in senior management who will be attending the show, exhibit and graphic design, marketing, technology experts and all members of the trade show event staff. Discuss the show goals and booth objectives and what each staff member’s role is in achieving these goals. Provide a cohesive booth manual for each person or team that discusses all the information for before, during, and after the event.
A staff that is prepared to work is one that knows all the details involved. In your planning meeting, go over details such as:
- Promotional strategy for the event
- What topics need to be discussed
- What presentations will be given
- How the booth will be designed and set up
- What engagement opportunities will be offered in the booth
- Where forms and business cards should be placed
- Event dress code
- Social media strategy
- A post-show workflow for wrapping up the show
- Strategy for following up with leads
Finally, walk through the itinerary so there’s no confusion as to who should be where at what time. This ensures everyone is on the same page well in advance.
Assign Everyone a Role
Attendees often come to an exhibit to ask specific questions about a product or a service. Thus, it is important to have team members with appropriate expertise always available. Creating a staff schedule guarantees that experts are in the booth when needed. By including the schedule in the agenda, members of the team know who is filling what role throughout each day of the show.
Remind staff members that they play a vital role in the success of a trade show event. They need to be prepared to do their part and see it all the way through to the wrap-up of the event. It takes a knowledgeable and prepared team to make an event run smoothly and efficiently.
No matter how much is planned in advance, remember that something could go wrong with so many moving parts involved. Equipment may be forgotten or left behind, parts of the design aren’t functioning properly, a team member is sick and can’t make it, and so on.
Any number of issues can pop up, but the show must go on. It’s imperative that your team is prepared for whatever may arise and has the ability to adapt and be flexible in order to make the trade show event a success.
There is a great deal involved in making a trade show program successful. The more organized and prepared the team is, the more opportunity there is to gather leads and generate business. If you need help organizing your next event, contact the trade show exhibit professionals at Exhibitus.