Quick, anyone who DOESN’T care about the cost of their trade show and event marketing program – raise your hand!
Well, judging from the stark lack of hands in the air, I’m going to guess that your budget matters. And it should. In a competitive business environment, every dollar counts.
How do you keep those costs in line? Here are some tips I’ve developed over the past 20+ years I’ve been part of this industry:
Drayage is an expense that generally can’t be eliminated – but certainly can be tamed. It’s based on weight, so the use of lighter-weight materials (like metal extrusion and fabric) can help minimize costs. In addition, watch out for overtime handling charges. While the advance to warehouse rate may be a bit higher, you may avoid OT charges on direct to show rates. And that 15%-25% upcharge can truly be a budget-buster.
Also remember that your best defense against drayage is to carefully consider what you are sending to the show. If you aren’t sure whether you need that box of literature, just leave it at home.
For example, lower-grade materials can reduce upfront fabrication expenses. You will probably discover that your booth has a shorter lifespan with more frequent needs for refurbishment. Materials matter.
Or consider digital content. Often, we hear clients say they want their agency to produce the content because they are leveraging existing assets. While they do have content prepared for another medium, it might not necessarily match the aspect ratio needed for your rental LED screens. This leads to the mad-dash overnight to resize or worse recreate the content to the proper specifications – and ultimately increases both cost and frustration level. If you’ve contracted a digital engagement resource, take full advantage of their expertise to ensure your outcome is a success.
Trade show and event marketing can be an expensive business, but honestly – when executed well – no other channel comes close to what we can accomplish. The investment you make today should pay back in business relationships that stand the test of time. Make the most of them!
Nancy Johnson, VP Sales, leads MG’s national team of account executives as they develop and execute face-to-face marketing solutions through exhibits and events. With almost 20 years of industry experience, Nancy has been an integral part of MG’s account team since 2000. She built her skills while serving as account lead on many Fortune 500 clients. Her wisdom and quick wit make her a favorite among MG team members and clients alike.