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Planning: The Hidden Key to Successful Event Marketing

There are countless information sources both online and off (many produced by Skyline around the globe) outlining what you need to do to be a successful event marketer. Topics range from booth design, promotions, choosing the right booth staff, selecting the right shows, and so on.

I was recently asked what I thought was the key to successful event marketing. My first thought was, “Jeez that is a tough question.” My second was, “This answer is not going to be popular!” In my opinion, the key to successful event marketing is planning. Boring, right? But bear with me, because if you create the plan you can then spend more time on all the fun stuff and do it in a strategic and rewarding fashion!

Keys for planning

Here are some reasons why you need to create a forward plan for ALL of your events for the next 12 months:

1. Consistent Branding & Messaging

Your plan will outline what you want to communicate for each event. You will know what graphics you need on your display and what they will promote and highlight at your events. This will tie in with the promotional materials, uniforms, and entertainment you will use at each event. This will ensure a consistent message and look and feel across your entire show schedule.

2. Efficient & Effective Promotions

You will plan your pre-show, at-show and post-show promotions. This will create the foundation and structure for your event promotion. Meaning, you will simply have a process that you follow for each event. Remember you don’t necessarily need to recreate the wheel for each event but tweak and tailor the promotional strategy to suit individual events.

3. You have a display solution designed to suit your entire 12 month show schedule (or longer)

You have planned for all your shows so you can design a display solution that can be reconfigured to suit all of your booth sizes and spaces. Imagine having one solution that can do it all! How good would that be? The benefits include:

a. A consistent look and feel at all your events
b. No need to organize a new display booth for every event
c. Maximizing your budgets by investing across your entire event schedule
d. You have reduced your non-productive expenditure because you or your exhibit stand supplier have pre-planned your logistics and/or labor
e. You or your exhibit stand supplier will have a system and process built to manage your show forms and bookings, making this task more streamlined and efficient

4. Experienced & Knowledgeable Booth Staff

You plan for what members of your team you will have on your booth for each event. Planning in advance will mean that you can gain commitment from the right people (with the right knowledge and experience) to ensure successful outcomes at each event. Planning for and training the right booth staff is crucial for success.

5. Measurement of your Success is Less of a Burden

You have planned what you need to measure, so you do it for each event which allows you to compare and contrast your results and performance. This will help you assess what events you lock down for your next plan which is easily justified to your management team.

6. You have Buy-In

Your plan has been distributed and approved by stakeholders crucial to success, including management, sales and finance. You have buy-in and everyone knows their goals and what needs to be achieved.

Don’t Wait to Start Planning

You do not need to wait for a new calendar or financial year to start planning – you just need to start. I promise once you do, you will be amazed how executing individual events will become a breeze. Why? Because you have done all the hard work at the start with the plan. As each event comes along you simply follow the plan and make minor adjustments and tweaks as you go along rather than starting from scratch each time.

Enjoy the planning phase and don’t aim for perfection, rather, aim for a good plan that you can evolve and adapt over time. Or in other words aim for progress not perfection – progress can be achieved!


Because a knowledgeable and willing booth staff can make or break your plan for a successful show, make sure they’re trained and ready to represent your brand and company. Read the Better Booth Staffing for Greater Trade Show Results white paper to maximize the impact of your team. Click here for your free copy.

About the Author

Samantha Heyden was the Marketing Manager for Skyline Displays Australia before retiring.

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