Trade shows are an ideal platform for companies to advertise their products and increase brand awareness through different trade show booth designs. However, the many steps that must be completed before an exhibit is ready for the opening of a trade show can derail the best laid plans. With no shortage of reasons to explain why planning and executing trade show exhibits can be complicated, we’ve simplified the causes and narrowed it down to event managers having their hands full. From various tasks with impending deadlines, short-staffed teams and limited budgets, it’s no wonder marketing and event managers can be considered professional multi-taskers.
One way to lighten the burden is to collaborate with a qualified custom exhibit house that can shoulder the “heavy lifting.” Here are some other ways event and marketing managers can ensure a successful trade show program.
Background Show Research is Your Best Friend
If your company has yet to decide on the trade shows they are going to attend, the first task is to implement a show selection process. Start with a critical analysis of each event from the previous year’s show schedule. Understanding both the trade show ROI and Payback Ratio for each event is critical to deciding whether to keep that show on the program schedule or spend your budget elsewhere.
If there is still budget to attend additional shows, research shows that would offer the most opportunity to contribute to corporate objectives. Make sure you understand the projected number of attendees and what percent of attendees would represent companies in your target markets. It is also important to research which competitors typically exhibit at each show, and if the available booth space would place your exhibit where you would draw the level of attention needed for success.
Create A Schedule
According to a report, Current Practice in Project Management, the second most important factor that contributes to a project’s success is a realistic schedule. The overall schedule does not have to be complex and intricate, but rather create a spreadsheet with tasks in chronological order to keep you on track. Project timelines make it easy to break down big tasks into manageable chunks, allowing managers to ensure the exhibit project is progressing at the correct pace.
Work Closely with The Team
It goes without saying, teamwork makes the dream work, and there’s nothing more important than teamwork when it comes to executing your exhibit project plan. Understanding who on your broader team could help with certain on-going tasks, or who would be available to jump in when a project needs more hands, is important. In addition, making sure that you understand what your exhibit house is providing and what falls on your to-do list avoids last minute finger-pointing when a task has been left undone.
Your company’s exhibit should be something everyone is proud of. By involving designers, content developers, sales representatives and product specialists in the conversation during the planning phase, you get the value of different perspectives, as well as buy-in and support of the project.
Once the schedule is developed and everyone is in agreement, it is important for marketing managers to understand and recognize they are responsible for holding each team member accountable, and for checking on each phase of the timeline. A group leader cannot just publish the exhibit timeline and expect every member on their team to follow through. Scheduling recurring internal meetings is a good way for a manager to update their team about upcoming milestones, check-in with individuals as to the status of their assigned tasks, and deal with any potential red flags that may result in production delays. It’s important to remember that in the end, the event manager will be held accountable for keeping the project on track.
Finish the Tasks Early
Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time allotted for them, which is a common issue marketing and event managers face when planning for a trade show.
When setting deadlines, make sure you know the maximum time required to complete a task, but encourage team members to finish earlier if possible. Completing tasks early makes it easier for marketing managers to identify any potential problems and prepare to tackle those issues well before the event deadline.
Moreover, it is important that event and marketing managers understand that the project timeline schedule is not absolute, but rather a checklist to keep the project on track. This is important, as it is key for managers to remain flexible and accommodating towards potential changes in the schedule.
At Exhibitus, we are passionate about creating and designing custom trade show exhibits to help your business stand out on the trade show floor. Contact us today to learn more about the many services we offer to take the stress out of exhibit planning and execution.