by Lisa Grimaldi | October 01, 2006

This first of a two-part checklist was compiled with the assistance of Candace Adams, CTSM, CME, CEM, CMP, CMM, founder of “The Booth Mom” Trade Show Consulting (www.BoothMom.com), based in Vista, Calif.

Pre-Show Strategy

  • Research the show’s audited at--tendee and exhibitor demographics and history.
  • Select booth space.
  • Sign space contract and make deposit.
  • Set meeting with sales and marketing departments to determine exhibit strategy and messaging, and to set realistic written goals and objectives for the following:
    * ROI and ROO;
    * Sales leads, revenue and profit;
    * Corporate branding/awareness;
    * Media and press interaction during and after show; and
    * Audience education on new products, technology, product improvements.
  • Create timeline of internal and external deadlines.
  • Determine presentations/demos that will be performed at the booth.
  • Establish the show budget.
  • Determine booth staffing requirements and select staff.
  • Obtain official exhibitor services manual and flag all forms requiring completion; highlight deadlines and up-date timeline.
  • Order show services prior to discount deadlines.
  • Exhibit needs

  • Determine booth needs in regard to the following:
    * Design components;
    * Graphics/signage (copy and art);
    * Products or equipment; and
    * Supplies.
  • Promotion

  • Plan promotional strategy.
  • Evaluate all promotional opportunities (i.e., advertising, direct mail, sponsorships, banners, bus signage, hotel door hangers, giveaways, raffles, hospitality suites, etc.).
  • Determine exhibit staff’s booth uniform, and order logo items.
  • Order sufficient free exhibit hall passes (if there will be a charge for attendees) for purposes of promotional distribution.
  • Submit exhibitor profile for show program.
  • Submit new product announcements for show management promotions.
  • Request a list of registered press.
  • Finalize press releases and plan press briefing, if applicable.
  • Leads and Collateral

  • Determine qualifying information to be obtained from attendees.
  • Produce collateral information to be distributed at show.
  • Order/purchase lead-retrieval system or customized lead forms, if needed.
  • Finalize post-show lead-fulfillment plan (e-mail, letter, brochure, sample, etc.).
  • Determine fulfillment follow-up (database management, appointment setting, etc.).
  • Staffing

  • Communicate strategy, show dates, staff schedule, booth attire, and training information with staff and vendors.
  • Order staff, partner and vendor badges.
  • Submit names for conference registration.
  • Make hotel reservations for staff.
  • Make air/ground travel arrangements.
  • Plan location and content of pre-show staff training session (booth orientation, sales etiquette, etc.).