In this article, we’ll explore things to consider when you are asked to plan a trade show or exhibition with fewer resources.
Planning an exhibition is a big undertaking and every organization's budget is different. In an ideal world, most companies would have unlimited resources and a large budget available for them to use to plan a fantastic event. But that’s not always the case. Do more with less has become a global norm and event organizers are being asked to continue on as usual.
Struggling to figure out how to plan a spectacular exhibition with a limited budget and resources? Here’s what you need to do:
Set clear goals and objectives
Every event organizer has a huge mountain of obstacles to overcome when planning a trade show or exhibition. Each organization team size varies, but everyone is charged with the task of planning a successful show. Before the planning period starts, it’s imperative that you set goals and objectives that align with your strategic plan.
Without goals and objectives, you can’t set a budget, choose your venue, determine how you want to present yourself to your target audience. Make sure your goals and objectives are written in a SMART format. SMART goals and objectives are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive.
Draw up a detailed budget
After you set your goals and objectives, it’s time to determine your budget and assess what you have to work with. Every organization marketing budget is different, so be realistic. Additionally, if you’re working with a smaller budget, you need to review every line item with a fine-tooth comb. Draw up a detailed budget and forecast your anticipated ROI.
Make sure your budget includes the following:
- Cost of exhibition space
- Food and beverage minimum
- Marketing materials
- Cost of travel
- Vendor costs
- Payroll for staff
- Exhibition management software
- Pre-event marketing
- Paid advertising budget
- Lead generation services
- Production costs
Don’t be afraid to negotiate
When it comes to finalizing vendor contracts, don’t be afraid to negotiate on the terms and agreements.
If you have an honest conversation with a vendor about your limited resources, you might be able to bargain and look at lower-cost options. Sometimes it’s better to be upfront about your situation than to get a no response later on.
Enlist contractors for support
When it comes to sourcing staff to help with production needs, there are multiple avenues you can take.
Consider using internal staff or a team of hired personnel to help pull off a successful event. Hiring outside independent contractors is a considerable cost and time savings.
Invest in an exhibition management software
Organizing an exhibition of any size is a huge undertaking and time-consuming. Having an exhibition management software could be your saving grace, help reduce a lot of the manual workload and streamline the planning processes.
An exhibition management software can help with registration, booth management, lead retrieval, and pricing strategy. These are all things that often take hours to complete. An exhibition management software will reduce the amount of time spent on backend tasks.
Utilize the resources you already have available
Sometime when getting into the weeds of planning an event, you forget that you have resources available with no to little cost. Remember to tap into volunteers, your staff, partners, and the resources the venue offers to make your exhibition experience run smoothly.
Negotiate trades for advertisements or sponsorships in lieu of or to offset payment of services
Sponsorships help offset costs while generating free publicity for the sponsor and the show. Set your sponsorship packages to include paying for line items in your budget. For example, you can have a food and technology sponsor to help offset payments for services.
Even with a small budget and limited resources, you can plan a spectacular trade show and exhibition. Implementing a few of the recommendations made above can help determine the success of your event. At the end of the day, it’s about making the most use with the resources you have available.