Raise your hand if you had to make budget cuts in your business to deal with the unpredictable economy or other financial limitations. Ok, pretty much everyone’s hand is up, right? Still, even if your marketing budget – and therefore your trade show budget – has been slashed doesn’t mean your trade show ROI has to be. In fact, most people get this equation wrong. Reduced budget does not need to equal reduced outcomes. Here’s what you need to know!
Use The Same Success Criteria
Whether you have $10K to spend on a show or $100K, you need to identify your success criteria before you do anything else. In other words, what has to happen at a given event for you to know it was successful?
Different companies prioritize various aspects of their exhibition success. While some seek to capture many high-quality leads, others prioritize making actual sales, booking meetings, or distributing data sheets. Regardless of your preference, it’s critical to set clear criteria for success – and stick to it, even if your budget undergoes some trimming.
Who Instead Of What
Some people balk when I say their success criteria should be the same no matter their budget because they think it’s impossible…they’re wrong!. One way to maximize your results is to be remarkably deliberate l about the people you send to the show. This is an extreme example, but do you think more people would come to a Tesla booth if the exhibit itself was no-holds barred with nondescript staff members wearing Tesla shirts – or if Elon Musk was standing there in an empty booth with no frills and no equipment?
Even if you don’t have a celebrity on your team, the people you send do hold power. You’ll get so much more out of a show if you have engaging folks staff a simple booth than you will if you have bored or timid folks staff a killer booth. It’s surprising how often this detail is overlooked. However, if you take note of it, it can be a game-changer for your trade show ROI. By paying attention to this aspect, you can significantly enhance your success at trade shows. So take the initiative and keep an eye on this detail to experience improved outcomes.
Be In The Fringes
I tell my clients they must do one thing and one thing only to stand out as an exhibitor: live in the fringes. This either means they go all out- get loud, go big and be bold (which usually comes with a larger price tag) or they go in the opposite direction and go minimal- be conservative and clean. Just don’t get lost in the middle of these extremes, which is where 85-90% of exhibitors end up going to die.
If your budget is lean, going the minimal route might work really well in your favor. You can trim down your architecture to tighten up your expenses, while still being really thoughtful about your approach. Consider this scenario: you wish to maximize the visibility of your logo from across the exhibit hall. While a sky sign is a great way to achieve this, it can be an expensive add-on to your display. A more cost-effective solution is to elevate your main tower and strategically place your logo on it. This approach not only reduces your expenses but also guarantees that your logo is visible from a ways away.
When you have to make budget cuts, your trade show results don’t have to suffer. You need to make different, more efficient choices to get to those same results. Luckily, we’re masters of helping our clients do exactly this. Interested in making it happen? Give us a shout!