Category Archives: How to budget for a trade show

Exhibition and Tradeshow Review of ROI

Following on from the last blog on Exhibition and and Tradeshow review and follow-up where we reviewed the logistics, sales lead follow-up plus feedback and analysis.  We will now look at reviewing the original objectives to see if the ROI was achieved.

ROI (Return on Investment)

  • Review your ROI by looking at your original objectives for attending the trade show and see if they were met. If this included a sales target it may take some time before you can determine how successful the show was at generating revenue.
  • The two primary reasons for exhibition performance measurement are
  • To justify the investment.
  • To gather information to make your investment more profitable.
  • A good measurement system can help you determine whether you should continue exhibiting at a specific show, and if so to what extent. It can help you identify your exhibit program’s strengths and weaknesses. It can also provide benchmarks for comparing different shows you that have exhibited at, and measure what your exhibition return was for the current year when compared to last year’s show. You can even look at how your marketing budget spent on trade-shows compare to other sales and marketing media. If you’re going to win the game of exhibiting you must have a score keeping process.

There is a very good article by Jefferson Davis of Competitive Edge which is available on the Internet in a number of places including:

http://www.ewea.org/offshore2011/fileadmin/eow2011_documents/exhibition/9_Exhibit_Measurement_Made_Easy_How_to_Measure_Exhibiting_Results_and_Return_on_Investment.pdf

The article outlines six basic measurements that almost every company should be measuring:

  1. Return on Objectives: What specific goals were you pursuing and what progress did you make toward those goals?
  2. Exhibit Budget versus Actual: What was your total exhibiting budget and what did you actually spend?
  3. Post-show Sales Written: How many orders and what was the total value of orders written after the event? Ideally, you should measure post-show sales at the 90 and 180 day points, unless you have a very long sales cycle. Also take into consideration the frequency of the show.
  4. Quantity and Quality of Leads: How many leads did you capture? How many were A – B – C leads? What is the estimated total sales potential of the leads?
  5. Cost per Lead: What was your cost per lead? Divide total number of leads captured by total show investment to determine this number.
  6. Cost per Interaction: What did it cost you to generate a face-to face contact? To determine this number simply multiply your total lead count by 2.4. This will give you a pretty accurate method way of determining your total booth traffic. Then divide total show investment by estimated total booth traffic.

These six basic metrics are by no means all that could and should be measured, but they are a very solid starting point. They will give you a very good picture of whether you are winning the game of exhibiting.

There is one final metric that all exhibitors should attempt to measure – the elusive exhibiting Return on Investment. To determine ROI accurately you must first be able to track at-show and post-sale revenue. Once you have that, simply follow the formula below.

Here is a Return on Investment example:

Total post-show sales from exhibit leads:                250,000€

Less cost of sales or gross margin:                             -190,000€

Equals Gross Exhibit Profit                                         60,000€

Less Exhibiting Costs:                                                    20,000€

Equals Net Exhibit Profit:                                           40,000€

Net Exhibit Profit 40,000€/Exhibit Costs 20,000€ = 200% ROI

Track the trade show organisers analysis of the show number and type of attendees to check whether this might be a show you would like to continue to attend.

You now have the basis for having the analysis and justification for exhibiting and also for participating in future exhibitions.

 

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Tips on Sending out a brief to Exhibition Stand designers for Space Only Booth/Stands and Graphics

Once you have prepared your strategy and objectives for attending an exhibition, completed the trade show Marketing Plan and prepared the budget you will know how much money you have to spend on the exhibition stand and the graphics.

Following on from the last blog we will concentrate on Space only bespoke booths/stands and the related graphics for stands.

Space only hire of floor space is best for making a bigger impression by allowing a bespoke stand to be designed and built to your own specifications. It is very important for your exhibition stand to give the right impression in order to showcase your brand, company and products. Confirm with the stand designer and builder that they will give you full management control from concept to completion. The stand building company can also transport and erect the stand before the exhibition, and then afterwards de-rig and transport the stand back to your company or keep it in storage.

Tips when sending out a brief to a stand designer:

  • Decide if you want to hire the stand for a one-off exhibition or if you have quite a few exhibitions you are attending. You may want to purchase your own stand and reuse it. Make sure that the company can store the stand and refurbish it as required. There will be an additional cost for this with each exhibition but the overall cost should be less than if you were starting from scratch each time.
  • Know your budget for each component of your exhibition project. It is important that the stand designer also keeps within budget that there are no hidden costs.
  • The stand designer needs to understand your company ethos.
  • The designer needs to know what it is you will be exhibiting whether hardware or software, retail items etc.
  • The designer needs to know what you would like included in the available floor area, like a small meeting room, storage, presentation area, demonstration area, reception information desk etc.
  • The designer needs to know your marketing theme, what look and feel you would like at the exhibition, and whether it needs to follow your brand marketing or promotion.
  • The designer needs to have an idea of the graphics you would like and how these will fit onto the stand walls etc.
  • Research the stand designers and decide what designs in the past they have done that you like and whether they have used the materials you are thinking of using for your stand.
  • Get examples of previous successful stands that they have created so you can refer to them in your brief.
  • Make you brief as full as possible including what you want to achieve so that the stand designer and builder can respond as closely to your requirements.
  • Send out briefs to no more than three designers; any more becomes overkill.

 Graphic Tips

Image result for exhibition graphic panels

  • Get a design agency or marketing department to design what you want to say about the brand and incorporate into the graphics.
  • Keep to corporate colours, logo and trademark for your brands.
  • Promote the key brand that you are there to exhibit.
  • Keep graphics simple and visual; too much information looks messy.
  • Remember the audience are walking past and they need to know what your company does or products you sell, as easily as possible.

Tips on Seminar and Exhibition Pop Up Stand and Shell Schemes

Once you have prepared your strategy and objectives for attending an exhibition, completed the trade show Marketing Plan and prepared the budget you will know how much money you have to spend on the exhibition stand and the graphics.

From the outset you should have an idea of what type of exhibition stand you want and what you can afford from your budget. Some exhibitions are part of a conference where you either get a table and chair or can have your own pop up stand.

If you are exhibiting at a trade show you may have a choice of a shell scheme or freestanding space. The size of the shell scheme can vary depending on your budget but they normally have set dimensions. Most purpose-built shell schemes usually have three walls with standard furnishing. Some are corner stands with two walls or a free standing space of a specific size where you can design and build your own bespoke stand. The choice will depend on the type of show, the schemes available, your budget, and what it is you want to showcase on the stand.

Table and Chair, or Pop Up Stand

  • Table and chair. This format can be rather limiting but you can usually use floor-based pop up banners as a back drop or table-based pop up. You can promote your company name, product or message on the pop up.
    There are a variety of pop up banners which come in different width. Single or double sided banners are retractable, easy to carry in a case and are available in a variety of prices to suit your budget. If you are going to be using the banner at a number of events it is probably best to have a more expensive durable one.
  • When paying for a table and chair an electrical connection is normally included along with your company name exhibition entry.
  • One graphic option is to use Foamex display boards which are inexpensive and can be attached to poster boards.
  • Portable Pop Up Stand. If you want something a bit more custom-made then a pop up stand is useful. Again it can be re-used and comes with its own travelling boxes.
  • Varieties of modular exhibition stand with interlocking components can be found online at different prices. They vary in size and can be single or double sided, straight, curved or L shaped. They usually have a magnetic locking system to hold the panels together on tubing which is used for rigidity.
    The company branding and messages can be placed on the banner sides.
  • Digital LCD displays can be used for graphics and, although they are more expensive, it is easier for the content to be revised and refreshed
Tips:
  • Ensure when putting away your stand that you pack the rolled graphics the right way to prevent them from getting scratched.
  • If using spotlights always carry extra bulbs and if exhibiting abroad make sure you have a European socket converter for an English plug!

Shell Schemes

Shell schemes are used at most major conference and event centres as a way of dividing hall space into individual sections or booths. Shell schemes are usually formed by a series of upright aluminium posts braced apart with cross-beams. The shell scheme normally has three sides but you can get a two-sided stand. The size of the shell will depend on the trade show floor plan. Shell schemes normally come with flooring, company name board, lights, basic furniture, and electric power. If more furniture is required you can order these from the trade show organiser.

To make your company stand out from other exhibitors use creative graphics and think of innovative ways to decorate the stand or shell scheme so that you are differentiated from the crowd. Solutions include using free-standing display stands and banners or attaching posters or panels to the walls of the stand using Velcro.

The problem with exhibition shell scheme systems is that the aluminium uprights stand proud of the wall panels. This causes problems when you want to create a large seamless back wall display rather than having a series of posters separated by the aluminium shell scheme uprights.

The Shell-Clad system provides a good solution for those who want to achieve maximum impact by decorating a shell scheme exhibition stand with edge to edge, mural-style wall graphics. It provides a simple yet ingenious way of attaching graphic panels to the shell scheme posts without the need for sticky tape or other messy fixings.

Shell-Clad adapters’ clips simply snap on to the upright pillars of the shell scheme and provide a Velcro-compatible surface onto which graphics can be attached.

Panels for the Shell-Clad system are normally produced in vertical strips using a durable, laminated, rollable material. This means that in most cases your exhibition graphics can be rolled and transported in a single box or storage drum.

Printdesigns is an example of a print company that produces panels for Shell-Clad exhibitions stands. In addition stand standard roll-panels Printdesigns can use materials like Foamex PVC or even dye sublimation printed fabric to create exhibition wall graphics for your stand that look good and are compatible with Shell-Clad adapters.

Normally the print company will provide both an artwork template and a plan of your stand to make it easy to design graphics and fit them later.

Tips of Exhibitors – How to Budget for an Exhibition

Event_Budget-1Having already prepared your strategy and objectives for attending an exhibition as well as completing the trade show Marketing Plan, you now need to produce a working budget. The budget needs to be flexible and, as a guide, the trade show cost is normally three times the cost of the exhibition space.
Setting the budget is important to ensure you have funds that are sufficient to fulfil the exhibition’s objectives and to make sure that the exhibition is delivered to the right standard. The details of how to set a budget are discussed below.

Budget Checklist and Budget Control

  • Compile a checklist of:
    – Fixed costs which are normally around 60% of the total budget.
    – Variable costs (for example, supplier costs). This is normally around 25% of the budget.
    – Calculate a reasonable contingency of around 15% of other budget costs.
    – Review your costs regularly. It is most important to establish budgetary control of costs at the beginning of the project planning. This will enable you to know where you are with the on-going costs during the build up to the exhibition. You may find you are able to add enhancements to the stand or you may need to cut back on planned expenditure.

Fixed Costs

These costs need to be covered regardless of the number of attendees or size of an exhibition. Dependent on the type of exhibition stand they normally include exhibition floor reservation and associated payments to the exhibition organiser, the stand build, and furniture which probably makes the largest proportion of the costs.

  • Fixed Production Costs – these include:
  • Exhibiting charges due to the organiser for floor space only or a shell scheme, online marketing entry, exhibition brochure promotion, logo, sponsorship, badges, and storage space.
  • Stand build – the design of exhibition stand and associated costs, the set build or refurbishment of a pre-existing stand, flooring carpets, backdrop, furnishings, graphics, banners, and lighting hire and installation.
  • Supplier costs for furnishings, hire of equipment, such as PC or demonstration equipment, products, lead collection, scanner hire, hostess, photography, security etc.
  • Audio Visual – such as screen, projection, video, camera recording, and laser projection.
  • Sound if using for presentation on the stand to include – speakers, microphones of all types, CD player, mixer, cabling, adaptors, music etc.
  • Speaker support – design, image production, animated images, script writing, and training rehearsals.
  • Crew – you may need to allow for the costs of people for design and equipment hire, installation, freight transportation, rigging and de-rigging and all the technicians for any equipment used in the exhibition (as listed above). You may need to allow for per diem allowances for the exhibition crew too.

Fees and Insurance – this includes event management fees if an agency is being used to help with exhibition management or logistics. You may also need to pay for equipment insurance, or event insurance to cover public liability etc.

Invitation process – although the exhibition organisers will be inviting the general public you may still wish to invite your specific clients or potential clients separately. This will be a once only cost and is not dependent on the number of delegates attending. This can include:

  • Invitation design costs.
  • Print costs for direct mail.
  • Brochure.
  • Website setup.
  • Database list of invitees.
  • Telemarketing follow up.
  • Any advertising, posters and promotional costs.
  • Follow up activity to boost attendee response.

Hospitality costs – This can include both on-site hospitality on the stand, such as food and drinks, and off-site hospitality such as a dinner or a party for your clients and prospects during the exhibition.

Meeting room hire –  if required during the exhibition for private meetings with clients. Normally you will have to pay a deposit on the room hire when booking for the event with a sliding scale of payment to be made as you approach the event. Note that some conference centres do not always include the same services as hotels and these can sometimes be an additional charge to the room hire.

Set up Services – this can include supply of electrical facilities, power, waste disposal, cleaning of the stand, Wi-Fi Access and telephone. Always check exactly what services are included and for what period they are offered.

Variable Costs

These are usually the smaller proportion of your budget and will be dependent on the number of staff and attendees that you expect to attend. It is impossible to be absolutely accurate on your variable costs as exhibitions are dynamic events and constantly change. This is why it is important to create a workable budget in the early stages of your planning. Past historical documentation can be valuable when looking at numbers and previous costs. The variable items need to be checked carefully if the budget is to be kept under control.

Variable costs include:

  • Staff food & drink.
  • Refreshment breaks.
  • Accommodation of staff.
  • Travel costs for staff.
  • Training of staff.
  • Stand promotional give-aways.
  • Graphics and print materials.
  • Press packs and promotion.
  • Flowers.
  • Insurance.
  • Client entertainment and dinners.

Contingency Budget

Always build in at least an extra 15 % of variable and non-variable budget costs as a contingency budget for the unexpected, such as additional drinks, crew overtime, additional catering, and unforeseen hire costs etc. You also need to put in here any currency conversion fluctuation that you may need to cover.

Reference: Planning Successful Exhibition Budgets – http://www.tradeshowinstitute.com/downloads/Trade%20Show%20Budgeting.pdf