Cutting Trade Show Costs – Part 1

09/05/17 by Brandon

I’d like to elaborate some more on a topic that everyone should master – cutting trade show costs.

When I talk about mastering this topic, I mean that there are certain things that through careful planning, monitoring, and foresight, you can stretch your valuable trade show budget dollars. Exhibit companies like Exhibit Edge provide many of these services and suggestions to their clients. Here, we’re opening up this information to everyone whether you use an exhibit company or not.

Let’s break these ideas up into three categories. They are:

  1. In between trade shows.
  2. To and from trade shows
  3. At the show

So, number 1, in between shows, refers to anytime that the exhibit is sitting in storage waiting to go out again. Two things come to my mind right away. One is the art of purging, and the second is to understand and monitor storage costs and other fees.

So let’s start with purging. There is a reality TV show called “Hoarders” or something like that. Wow, can that be used to describe exhibit storage. Learn to purge. Purging is something that should be done on a regular basis but, in our experience, it is not a priority for many exhibit managers. Old exhibits, pop-ups, broken frames, etc. are still in many clients’ inventories.  By not purging or discarding unused or obsolete exhibit properties you spend more for storage then necessary and can create confusion, especially with older or outdated graphics.

Many exhibit companies provide online exhibit inventory management systems. The one we use at Exhibit Edge is called EdgeLink. These web based systems can provide dimensions and images of your exhibit properties as well as detailed descriptions and groupings so you know what graphics go with what exhibit pieces. The benefit to you is that you can see all your properties on-line and can purge unwanted properties or outdated materials and graphics without a trip to the exhibit company’s facility.

Always see how comprehensive the exhibit company will display the details of your properties. Some will provide photos but not dimensions or weights. Just because an exhibit company says they have an inventory system doesn’t necessarily mean it has a lot of useful features or that they service it well. The more details and descriptions, the better it is for you. If the exhibit company also provides fulfillment services, make sure that they have a system for real time piece counts of literature and giveaways that they can demonstrate to you.

So what is your system for purging?

A business associate that I know from Interstate Van Lines, Mr. Ed Mattern, has a philosophy that he uses to determine how to purge. His rule of thumb is, “If I don’t use it within one year I get rid of it.”  So create your own rule of thumb and be sure to review your exhibit properties at least once a year.

Next week we will look at storage costs and fees and what to ask companies who store your exhibits as other fees may offset lower storage rates.