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Going a New Way: Convincing Management to Try New Trade Show Strategies

Do you think your business’ trade show strategy is in need of an overhaul? Oftentimes, the greatest challenge to a new approach is convincing leadership to abandon their standard way of doing things. If you feel like your exhibit efforts need rethinking, the following steps may help you win your management’s approval.

Match Existing Initiatives

Whether it’s a goal they’ve set for themselves or a strategic initiative being pushed by senior leadership, most managers and directors are tasked with exploring new ideas at the start of each fiscal year. Yet the day-to-day demands of event marketing and staff supervision can often end up putting these plans on the back burner.

Framing an idea within the context of these goals can your concept get approved. Has your supervisor been tasked with breaking into new markets? If so, then now might be a good time to suggest exhibiting at that new expo you’ve been eyeing. Has your boss wanted to better capitalize on the popularity of mobile device charging stations? Now might be the time to bring up your idea of renting one of those new lock-and-charge stations that turn your booth into a secure place for attendees to leave their devices.

The Bandwagon Effect

Spend some time visiting other people’s trade show booths to see what they are doing right, and follow-up on the trends seen at large expos by reading industry blogs. Showing that the competition has been having success with your idea can be a great way to instill a sense of urgency in adopting the approach in-house. You can also present examples of specific companies in allied industries that are using your idea. If you can use an example from an organization your boss already respects…that’s even better.

Prepare Budget & ROI Data

Your idea won’t have a chance at approval if it doesn’t align with existing budget constraints. Determine whether funds are available, and then come up with a plan for measuring results. You can use our Trade Show Calculator for example to estimate the ROI of past events you participated in and use that information to convince leadership to try something new. One way to overcome budget constraints is to partner with another department that may have use for some of the same assets you plan to purchase.  We have seen clients share videos used at a trade show with the Marketing Communication team for use on the website or marketing campaign, as well as clients re-purposing a kiosk for their lobby or event activation.  Present it all in a strategy document that outlines how it can enhance the effectiveness of your trade show exhibits. When combined with a reasonable budget, this may be all of the persuasion you need!

tradeshows timeline sheet calucaltion roi
Trade Show Planning Timeline (PDF)

Download this all-in-one trade show planning timeline to keep track of your trade show deadlines. Our timeline includes exhibit design & build tasks, technology considerations, pre-show promotions, booth staff tasks, lead management and miscellaneous items. Also included is; budget planning information, a booth staff schedule, typical show services deadline list and a budget calculator perfect for trade show veterans and those newer to the industry.

About the Author

Jeanette is originally from the Pasadena, CA area. She attended UC Irvine and then started her career path in the entertainment industry for BMG/RCA Records before moving to Minnesota to work for VEE Corporation, the creators of Sesame Street Live. There she was the National Promotion Director coordinating the touring events throughout North America. Later she was promoted to National Sponsorship Director. In 2001 Jeanette was welcomed into the Skyline family when she started up Skyline Exhibits of Central Ohio. After growing that location into an award-winning company, Jeanette found herself back in California and is now the Managing Director of Skyline Greater LA. Jeanette was recently named as one of the 2017 Enterprising Women of the Year and the SBA Small Business Woman of the Year. She currently serves on the NAWBO National Board in Washington D.C., Columbus Chamber Board of Directors, and is a member of Executive Women International and WELD. She also is the Co-Founder and Director of the Columbus Young Entrepreneur’s Academy and most recently has been selected to the 2016-17 class of the JoAnn Davidson Leadership Institute.

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