Tradeshow Organizers: 5 ways to help us improve Tradeshow ROI


Last week I attended SC08 with our partner, SMC Networks.  Our DNF Security group headed to Vegas, with a portable server in tow at the Global Gaming Expo.  Last week was one of the prime tradeshow weeks, with a million other relevant tech shows happening at the same time (like Storage Decisions).  With the economic uncertainty, travel and marketing budgets are decreasing, and attendance is down so we are all looking for ways to get out there and dig up some new business.  Unfortunately it is getting more and more difficult to justify these large events, when we are all looking for more revenue now.

Here are a few ways to reduce your tradeshow expenditures, and still increase your awareness.

1.  Share exhibit space with your partners. You can exchange co-marketing funds leads or future space at another event.

2.  Use your local channel partners to help you staff your booth. Do you have resellers that are local, or a short drive from the show location?  Send fewer of your employees and offer your best partners the opportunity to work in the booth with you.  They’ll appreciate it, and you can bond in the booth.

3.  Get in on the partner pavillions for your strategic partners. These partner pavilions typically offer a lower cost of entry than standard space, and also help you get into a really high traffic area.  You’ll look well-aligned, and meet more people.

4.  Buy smaller spaces. And find more ways to present yourselves in other booths.  Exhibit with all of your partners, sending representatives in each booth, and your prospects will find you in multiple places!

Tradeshow Organizers, read here:

Dear large tradeshow organizer,

We are looking for ways to exhibit more shows, without killing our budgets.  Please help us out. Here are my requests, to reduce costs and help us with ROI.

  1. Create standard discounted packages with carpet, electrical, lead scanners, vacuuming, etc so we can save money, and make our preparations easier.
  2. Create more ways for us to interact with the attendees pre-show.  Do a mailing to your pre-registered ist on our behalf.  You will be sending out 10 or more mailing before the show.  How about section off your exhibitors into groups of 20 (or whatever depending on the size of the show) and list us in one of your emails.
  3. Give us access to the pre-registered list, as part of our exhibitors fees and not a separate cost.
  4. Create more smaller, lower cost space.  Quick and easy kiosks would be ideal.  You can pack in more exhibitors, and more exhibitors can afford your show.  Create multiple focus areas, on the main floor, near highly trafficked areas with these kiosks, for 10-15 lucky exhibitors.
  5. Make your tradeshow maps (the online ones) easier to use.  I haven’t found one I like yet.  It takes way too many clicks to find a vendor.  And half of the time, when you zoom in enough to read the map and the actual exhibitor, it is really blurry.  I love Mondo Maps for my city.  I wish tradeshows had the same.

Thanks for your help organizers.

And here’s another post on tradeshow behavior.

2 thoughts on “Tradeshow Organizers: 5 ways to help us improve Tradeshow ROI

  1. Another good idea to increase ROI is to set up as many meetings with clients and prospects as possible. Even if they will not be at the event, if they are local, it is worth getting them a pass to the expo to meet (or to just meet them for coffee or dinner). One thing vendors can expect with conferences is plenty of down time while attendees are in sessions. Pre-arranged meetings are great to make downtime productive.

  2. AMEN to all you have said about show orgainzers HELPING exhibitors. Check out my blog

    I’m trying to get show orgainizers to have me speak to their exhibitors and TEACH THEM HOW TO assure that 100% of their leads get followed in which THE ANSWER to trade show cost justification and ROI lies.

    I attended the IAEE (International Association of Exhibitions and Events) conference in Miami 2 weeks ago and s an exhibitor myself (in my previous life) show orgainzerrs are totally dis-connected from their exhibitors and have no clue. All they know is that square-footage is disappearing – and don’t have a clue what to do about it. If you contact me I’ll show you a letter that an exhibitor sent to their show management about me. Keep up the fight. THEY ahve to listen, someday.

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