In hard economic times one of the first things many companies look at cutting back on is the marketing budget and attending trade shows is often a very first casualty. Trade shows generate billions of dollars in sales every year and rather than cutting this profit making activity from the corporate sales effort there are powerful arguments for actually gearing up with trade shows when the rest of your competition are removing themselves from the arena leaving their prospects and customers to you!
Trade show attendance is not that cheap which is why many companies look at this activity as a prime target for chopping the cost. Marketing managers need to demonstrate attendance is a good investment and the best financial indicator is ROI or Return On Investment. You have two ways of achieving a higher ROI – increase the sales over capital invested or decrease the amount of capital you need to invest – it’s simple on paper not so easy in practice.
Investing in all the kit you need to establish an eye catching display will cost you tens of thousands in some instances but you can equip your display team with a fraction of this by using a pre-owned booth and display equipment. There are a lot of companies who have withdrawn from the market as part of their recessionary cost-cutting measures but all they have done in reality is dump their exhibition equipment onto the market which is saturated with pre-owned gear.
You can source excellent pieces of display equipment for the fraction of the price and even better, when you come to exhibit at a trade show you are going to be one of a diminishing crowd of companies still exhibiting. The low cost of investment now required with second hand equipment will guarantee you achieve a high looking ROI which is going to help you persuade the bean counters that cutting the trade show activities is not a good business decision!
There is nothing you cannot source in the pre-owned market and there is a thriving industry collecting and refurbishing displays; the market is carrying a lot of stock at the moment as a result of many businesses disposing of items but you should take the time to find a specialist who can source and put together a first rate display for you. You may pay a little more for the service but the result you will get will be a highly customized display for your business which nobody will be able to distinguish from being brand new.
Aside from generating a higher ROI, you can also use the following to support your business case in maintaining trade show attendance. Trade shows are frequently viewed as a cost or overhead by financial managers who fail to see the results of the contacts and relationships generated in sales and marketing terms – the truth is, trade shows are a profit center and cutting them from the budget is a sure fire way of leaving the door open to your competition to take your customers and business.
Working a trade show on a budget can be difficult. But with creative marketing and low-cost rentals like plinko boards, a raffle drum promotion, or video game attractions, you can keep cost down and still have a great presence at the trade show. Additionally, you might want to consider event photography — a relatively low-cost and has a great payoff once your guests see pictures of themselves having fun! These are just a few of the many savings-conscious tactics discussed in the article.