One of my favorite parts of creating Trade Show, Conventions and Corporate Exhibit environments is that the design possibilities are unlimited….…to infinity & beyond.  It’s a combination of the 1st game in the NFL season when every fan’s hopes and dreams spring eternal and like a kid in a candy store with an overwhelming colorful overload of sweet treats.  Successful Exhibit Activations demand that you define the following: Why are we exhibiting?  What are our top 3 goals…? Develop new customers, get direct orders at show site, stimulate future sales, Brand exposure, new product introduction or just networking? 

Exhibit environment budgets can range from the low 5 figures well into million $$ productions.  It’s vital that you can define, specify and set targets and benchmarks; look at another way, if you don’t know why you’re in the Booth, how will you draw traffic if you’re just winging it?  When spending hard dollar corporate resources there must be a roadmap so you’re set up for a successful activation.

Skillfully, at Las Vegas Expo Complete Show Services we can navigate your budget parameters.  Everyone has that one thing they spend more money on than they probably should, but knowing what it is and how to manage it is key. When we are an exhibiting company at a Conference, I’m going full throttle with video content, Large Format graphics, full LED walls, branded flooring or a double deck display with conference room.  The design and component focus is driven by the reasons we’re participating at that specific Convention.  Understanding the balance between essential and what will activate your Brand and drive traffic is a finely developed art and one of the areas LVE/CSS excels in.  We’ve learned that staying out ahead of the timelines and planning for the weeks ahead, saves clients’ money.  Simply by adhering to discount deadlines from event contractors (exclusives such as rigging and electrical, General Service Contractor services and exclusives and optional services from ancillary suppliers) will keep costs from exploding budget line items by 30-100%.

Make your money work for you by establishing organized sales environment criteria and requirements for the activation.  Stay focused on delivering that experience. You can save on construction in some areas to put more resources into others.  This is a good time to state that changes cost money.  Once the project is locked in, it’s best to keep the changes to final graphic design and not a complete re-fabrication of fixed exhibit assets.  The terms of payment are fairly industry standard, with a significant down payment along with subsequent 2nd & 3rd payments prior to shipment to the event.  So if you just can’t help changing something material …keep it to within the 1st and 2nd payment time frame so it’s not being rushed on Overtime and really hammering the costs out of budget alignment.   By having some leeway with a dedicated contingency line item it might save a big-ticket component without having to cut too much out of parts of the regular budget.

Decide what your Strategic Sales & Marketing goals are and refer back to them often. It can be easy to spend money when you’re not working toward anything, so having set targets to aim for on an upcoming new activation makes the process that much easier. Budgeting isn’t a cut, copy and paste or whipping up a spreadsheet kind of thing because there are many factors to think about.  The magic is in figuring out what works for you and tailoring the total Budget to your needs.

Remember that when it comes to your budget, it’s important to communicate and discuss your departmental and fiscal responsibilities. The work of your colleagues in all the departments (Sales, Marketing, Production, Operations and Accounting) is vital so that the entire core sales & marketing team is aligned with the goals of the activation

That Trade Show Exhibit Activations work isn’t a striking revelation to any of us at Las Vegas Expo Complete Show Services.  Give us a call or send us an email and we’ll help you achieve success by walking with you step by step and sharing a few fundamental ingredients we’ve picked up along the way about bringing spectacular exhibit environments to life and doing it on Budget.   Don’t just exhibit….Activate!!

Mitch Isaacs, mitch@LVExpo.com VP Marketing, Las Vegas Expo Complete Show Services, 702-248-6200 , www.LVExpo.com

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