Have you set your marketing event calendar yet? (For our cybersecurity clients, RSA is just around the corner!) These days, with both virtual and in-person events in the mix, you need to be ready to hit the road or fill those seats, as the case may be.

Altima Creative has worked with clients on hundreds of trades hows and sponsored events. This article will explore how planning, setting goals and bundling creative asset development for your events can help you crack the ROI-code — leaving you with stronger brand messaging and better lead results. Let’s see how.

To Go or Not To Go?

Your first decision: is exhibiting worth the expense? American companies are spending about $24 billion per year for trade show booth displays. And trade show exhibiting is one of the costliest marketing investments — what with travel, shipping costs, food and lodging for support staff on top of exhibit fees. That doesn’t even cover your actual booth materials, promotional giveaways, literature, and other costs to entice visitors to your booth (booth entertainment, sweepstakes, refreshments, etc).

Average Exhibiting Cost Breakdown:

  • Booth Space 35%
  • Travel & Lodging 14%
  • Show Services 11%
  • Exhibit Design & Construction 10%
  • Shipping 10%
  • Marketing & Swag 20%

Businesses can spend around $125 per square foot for booth space alone, ranging from $14,000 to $60,000 depending on the size of your booth. Lower-end regional shows may cost as little as $2000 for a booth, but large national shows and extravagant booth designs can run as high as $850,000 (a Samsung 25,000 sq-ft space in 2013!).

So, be sure to do your cost analysis and reassess annually if that strategy should change or not. If the answer is “go” you better make the most of brand-building, product awareness and lead generation while at the show. (Try this ROI calculator from ExhibitDay to estimate your event costs.)

Ways to Crack Exhibit ROI

1. Sponsorships

Some tactics to crack the ROI code include sponsorships instead of exhibiting. This choice can get you exposure to a big audience without the actual booth. Sponsorship levels range widely from a $500 to $100,000 depending on the size of the event and sponsorship engagement.

2. Booth Rental

Another tactic or price decision is to own your own booth (and ship it to your various exhibit venues) or rent a booth on-site. This calculation has to do with how many shows you go to and how the actual costs compare (breakdown of ownership + shipping compared to rental fees).

3. Planning

For those shows you do exhibit at, planning is key. Meet your venue deadlines to avoid late shipping or production fees. Book travel and lodging early. Set solid show goals, tactics and metrics to reach those goals, including pre-show marketing and post-show follow-up. Pre-show campaigns should generally launch 4-6 weeks prior to the event and last 1-3 weeks afterwards. 

Event Marketing Tactics

  • Goals – show-specific, metrics, tracking 
  • Promote – email, direct mail, website, social
  • Exhibit – signage, display, banner-ups, accessories
  • Booth – activities presentation, entertainment, raffle, refreshments
  • Giveaways / Offers – logo gifts, literature, sweepstake items
  • Face-to-Face Events – hospitality, meetings, off-site experiences
  • The Presentation Deck – booth and/or live presentation deck
  • Lead Follow-up – email sequence, collateral, nurture

Maximize Branding and Creative

To keep costs down, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel every show. Brand messaging and scope can be discussed at the beginning of the year as you set your messaging pillars and content calendars. Event branding and messaging is just another extension of your overall branding. Tackling it all at once at the beginning of the year can boost brand strength and cohesiveness.

Think shared assets. Consistent messaging. Cohesive campaign creative. Then rinse and repeat. But pre-planning doesn’t have to mean predictable or cookie-cutter solutions. You want your brand to stand out in a sea of other exhibitors. So unique brand positioning with surprising and imaginative messaging will win the game here.

This approach allows you to utilize creative asset development up-front and then bundle production with shared templates for things like emails, web banners, social media and presentation decks. Assets (like collateral, sell-sheets and ads) promoting your featured products to be used at trade shows can be completed well ahead of time, eliminating some of the last-minute deadline hassles and costs.

All of these bundling and templating strategies will maximize your creativity and branding efforts, saving on resources, time and money. 

Are these Tech Events on your 2023 Calendar?

  • RSA Conference – Apr
  • Secure Miami – May
  • Cisco Live USA – Jun
  • Gartner Security – Jun
  • Black Hat USA – Aug
  • Infosec World – Sep
  • MSSP Alert Live – Oct

For more, visit Events in America or this CioDive Blog post.

Get Creative Help 

Trade show season can put a heavy burden on in-house teams. But, you don’t have to go it alone. Altima Creative is your back-up team of creative thinkers: strategists, art directors, designers, videographers, and copywriters. We work for you.

Our specialties include asset development from presentation decks to datasheets to solution briefs. We help with the design and creative development for any of your brand assets or templates to help you control resources and costs. We can help you with booth design, in-booth or speaking presentation decks, and handout designs. We also can arrange for a video crew to be onsite with you and capture awesome live event footage — perfect for promotional content or B-roll. And we understand the pressure of these demanding deadlines.

This is a perfect time to call-in for back-up. With Altima Creative capability at your fingertips, it’s like pushing an easy button to get things done quickly and cohesively. And our dedication to your success keeps us on-task until you are completely satisfied with the result. 

Bring it on trade show season! With the help from your team here at Altima Creative, you’ve got this covered, because we’ve got your back.

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