Trade shows don’t have to break the bank

August 2, 2013By Behind the Shelf Blog, Brand Marketing

Posted by Amy Kasza

It’s a simple fact: if you spend an arm and a leg to get your consumer healthcare product in front of buyers at a trade event, you will be left off-balance when it comes time to support that product’s success at retail.

How do you wisely spend trade show dollars and maintain a positive bank balance? Follow this one rule: don’t cave to pressure from vendors.

Because booth expenses and show services such as utilities claim the largest percentage of the typical trade show budget, the natural temptation is to cover those expenses first. After all, this is your brand’s future on the line; you don’t want to worry about logistics when you can pay someone else to do it for you.

Resist that temptation with everything you’ve got.cover those expenses first

Trade show attendance is notoriously expensive, and for good reason. Everything has a price tag, from the carpet padding under your feet to the electrical and Internet connections in your booth space. You’ll pay for warehouse storage of your display before the show. You’ll pay a (considerable) fee for someone to move that display to the exhibit hall. Trade show organizers are experts at taking care of the logistics so that you only need to book a plane ticket and a hotel room.

The problem is that you may unwittingly underfund the really important segments of your budget, such as pre-show and post-show promotions. That is tantamount to planning an elaborate party to introduce your product to the world, but neglecting to invite any guests.

A pre-show promotional campaign builds excitement about your brand, weeks or even months before the show. You want retailers to beat a path to your booth, don’t you? Pre-show promotions are the invitation they need to seek you out. Post-show promotions extend a courteous thank-you and a special offer to those who attended your party. In effect, they seal the deal.

It’s a matter of priorities. If you fund your booth space first, there is virtually no limit to the number of convenient add-ons that will be dangled in front of you. So, set aside money to reserve the booth space and nothing more. Then focus your effort on planning knock-out pre- and post-show promotional campaigns.

And if you are concerned about sore feet from a day standing in your booth with unpadded carpeting, invest some of your savings in a pair of comfortable shoe insoles.

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