Trade Show Savings Guide: Part 1

As we’ve previously touched on, trade show participation is a necessary effort that will greatly contribute to your public relations and sales marketing efforts. Did you know that 88% of attendees have not been visible to your company before the show and 72% of attendees’ buying decisions are influenced by your participation? * It’s obvious that partaking in trade shows is greatly beneficial to your business, but what’s not so great is the cost of participation. We have had several clients question whether they should participate in an upcoming trade event due to a tight budget. The answer is (usually) yes! A tight budget shouldn’t restrain your business from participating in an industry trade event, and it doesn’t have to.

Part 1: Registration

Are you taking advantage of those early bird discounts? For most events, the longer you take to sign up, the higher the cost of participation is going to be. Save yourself a couple hundred dollars by signing up for the trade show as early as possible. But, early bird discounts aren’t the only way to cut costs on event registration. If you get creative, there are several ways you might be able to shave off some additional dollars. Is it your first time attending the show? Play up your lack of knowledge on specific show details. Even with utilizing every savings trick in the book, trade show participation is still one of the pricier marketing ventures. Exhibiting in a show you’ve never participated before can be a risk. Expressing your concern to trade show organizers may grant you an additional discount. While it won’t be much, maybe 5-10%, those are dollars that can be better spent elsewhere.  Another one-time strategy works well for businesses that had not anticipated participating in the trade show. Trade show coordinators want your attendance.  Every year that you do attend makes for a better chance that you will participate in the future. Years that you skip make it a little harder to expect that confirmation. If your company really did not plan to attend the show and therefore doesn’t have a budget set for it, relay this to the show coordinators. Oftentimes they will be willing to accommodate the request. Be wise though, if you’re consistently not implementing a budget for the show, evidently the show is not worth your dollars and you should find one that is.

If the aforementioned circumstances do not apply to your situation, another strategy to try is offer up a trade. In exchange for omitting the registration fee, offer your services as a speaker or participation in a panel discussion. This allows your organization the best of both worlds. In addition to having a discounted trade show participation, by having a leader in your company partake in a speaking gig, your organization becomes even more visible to the participants and media at the event. For a better chance of a successful trade offer, be sure that the content you’re offering is not product specific and can benefit a majority of the attendees.

I hope this information will help to save your business on spending in the next trade show. Be on the lookout for parts two and three; I’ll be sharing even more tips on reducing trade show costs. Looking for an agency partner to help with all your trade show needs? Give us a call, we have a team of experts ready to help.

* According to Three Marketiers Trade Show Stats and Benefits