Have you noticed the price of gas?…..

The recent (and drastic) increase in fuel costs have sent ripple effects through the economy, our industry, and your bottom line.  However, trade shows, live events, and other activations are still an effective way of reaching your audience.  Moreover, trade shows still offer the most efficient way of connecting with your potential customers.  The cost of participation in trade shows is still significantly less than traditional field sales activities, and more productive.

Recent evidence from many larger shows, such as MD&M West, NAB, and others have shown that the quality of the attendee is actually higher now than it was prior to the pandemic.  This re-enforces the justification for going to trade shows, even with inflation and increased costs.  Here’ are a few methods to help offset some of those increased costs:

Lighten your load:

Review your current exhibit to see if you can shed a few pounds.  This saves you in 2 areas.  The first is that it reduces the overall cost of shipping to and from a show.  The second (and sometimes more costly) is in Material Handling at show site.  This is the cost of the decorator to unload and move your freight to and from your booth space.  “Drayage” as it’s commonly referred to can be as costly, or more costly, in some cases, depending upon the show.   Some shows, such as NAB, have gone to a flat rate fee structure to help reduce that cost.  We hope to see more shows follow suit.

If you own flooring, leave it home and rent from the show.  You are paying both freight and material handling on this element.  Rental carpet from the show decorator may be more cost-effective, and the carbon footprint for doing this is smaller, and hence better for the environment.

Plan ahead and look at where your shows are taking place:

If you have shows that are not near your home base, or where your exhibit is being stored, ask your exhibit house for options for temporary storage in a central location, to shorten freight routes.  We are currently offering West Coast storage to our clients that primarily exhibit out there.  If you have back to back shows in a specific region, explore the possibility of leaving your exhibit there, temporarily.

Trade show floor
Trade shows have returned in 2022 with a bang.  Audience quality is higher than pre-pandemic levels.  While some costs are up, events are still an effective part of your overall marketing strategy.

Avoid “hidden” Special handling fees:

If you’re shipping things directly to the show hall uncrated or un-skidded (such as giveaways and literature), consider palletizing them .  Nearly all show decorators charge a special handling fee for loose box handling.  If you are considering handing out literature, consider doing it via electronic fulfillment.  Studies show that 80% of all literature handed out at an event never leaves that city (it goes in the trash).  Be mindful of Advance Warehouse and Direct to show delivery dates. If you have a targeted move-in and your freight doesn’t arrive on the assigned date you can also incur added fees.

Review the demo equipment you need in your booth

Shipping heavy machinery may be required if you need to demo production processes, or equipment features.  It’s sometimes hard to consider exhibiting without equipment, but there are ways around it.  Heavy machinery adds to your freight and material handling (and labor) bill.  Consider a 3-D interactive or virtual demo of your equipment.  Here’s an example to a virtual “showroom” that Apogee developed for a client that could not manage to ship all of their industrial printing machines to an event.

Consider using a virtual showcase on touch screens in your booth in lieu of shipping heavy equipment to save costs.

Effective planning in advance of your events can also help you budget for, and anticipate higher operating costs at your live business events.  It’s important to remember that these valuable events still provide a higher ROI than other direct selling activities.  The cost to close a lead on the show floor is still much less than the cost of doing so with a direct field sales call.  Events have and will continue to be one of the most cost-effective part of your overall Marketing strategy.

For more information on effective planning visit our 2022 Planning guide here.