03/29/22 by EE Team

The 4 Main Categories of a Trade Show Planning Checklist

While there are many different areas that are a part of creating a strategy for a trade show, there are four areas that Exhibit Edge focuses on. These areas are the message, the technical approach, booth flow and lead capture, and logistics. Each of these is designed to help provide you with the smoothest trade show planning experience.

1. The Message

2. The Technical Approach

3. Booth Flow and Lead Capture

4. Logistics

How Do You Define a Successful Trade Show?

When beginning your trade show planning checklist, it is important to take a look at your first few steps. When we start, we look at the messaging and how this helps to adhere to the way we define a successful trade show. These are the metrics that a Marketing Manager needs to establish long before the show starts. The entire event centers around this one question. If you look at your exhibit as a selling tool then you will have a hard time measuring your return on investment (ROI). If you look at it as a Marketing tool then those metrics are much easier to define.

Once you know your goal then you can develop a strategy to achieve that goal. When developing trade show planning checklists you should be sure to know your goals. That ties into everything that you do and tie directly with the four major categories mentioned above. Below we’ve listed some things to consider.

Things to Consider

1. Know how big your exhibit space is

2. Know the length of the show

3. Know how many estimated attendees

4. Identify the location of the trade show event

5. Identify the event start and end dates


Here are some other brainstorming questions to consider:

1. How do we sign people up?

2. How many people will we need to man the exhibit?

3. How will we create a draw to the exhibit?

4. What can we do pre-show to advertise?

5. When and how will the exhibit need to ship?

6. Will we video live at the event?

7. Will we have a give-a-way? What will it be?

8. What is our budget?

Trade Show Checklist

Before the Trade Show

  • Start your planning 3-6 months before the show.
  • Create your game plan based on the questions and points listed above.
  • Be aware of the rules and event regulations that may be important for your event.
  • Familiarize yourself with the contractors and companies like Exhibit Edge who can help create a smooth process for you and your team.
  • Compare the event goals with your business goals to see where you are best aligned.
  • Define your goals for the trade show and measuring success.
  • Identify your target audience and how to communicate with them properly.
  • Define your budgets for each area of the trade show like logistics for your fabrication, furniture, visuals, marketing materials, and other things from a warehouse or fulfillment service.
  • Decide how to design your booth. Are you renting a display, building, or a combination of the two?
  • Evaluate how to make your booth memorable.
  • Train your marketing and sales team.
  • Begin your marketing outreach.
  • Ensure any materials that are being shipped are going according to plan.
  • Confirm outbound shipping for your materials after the show is complete.
  • Choose your outbound shipping providers.
  • Create travel plans for your team and yourself.
  • Have a record of all the order confirmations and other information for on-site reference.
  • Schedule team meetings in advance for the event dates and go over the goals with them before the show.

During the Trade Show

  • Check your space to be sure that all of your trade show materials are on-site.
  • Check to see if your trade show labor services are on-site.
  • Check all of your equipment and assets to be sure that everything is up and running properly so there are fewer surprises during the trade show itself.
  • Check the labels on the boxes so breaking the booth area down is easier after the show is over.

Post Trade Show

  • Gather your leads and other information gathered during the show so you can easily find it when needed later on.
  • Break down the booth or check to see that the hired service has arrived and they have begun breaking down the booth.
  • Be sure that everything is labeled properly and will be sent to the correct locations.
  • Check with the service desk for any invoices that need to be addressed before leaving.
  • Send out any survey materials to leads that left information to gain insight into how to improve for future trade shows.
  • Begin a cadence with the new leads within the first week to keep them engaged with your booth.

Each trade show is a little different, but with the help of a professional trade show team, you can be sure to have a smoother show. Exhibit Edge is here to help you accomplish your goals during any of your trade show needs.

Elevate Your Trade Show Experience with Exhibit Edge

Let Exhibit Edge be your partner in creating remarkable trade show exhibits that captivate and engage. With our expertise and your vision, we can craft a space that truly represents your brand and story. Connect with us today and take the first step towards a standout trade show presence!