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Exhibiting at a trade show can be an incredibly effective marketing effort. Or, it can be like throwing money into a black hole with no return on your investment.

We’re here to help you avoid the black hole.

Businesses and organizations have been relying on us to set them up for trade show success for decades. At Firespring, we know what it takes to make a first—and lasting—impression. From designing the right display for your brand to creating compelling graphics, takeaways and promo products, we’ve walked hundreds of clients through the process of getting from point A to the exhibit hall floor.

The Ultimate Trade Show Checklist

We want to help you feel confident that you have everything ready for the show. As you get closer to your show date, remember that Firespring is here to assist. Even if you are only a few weeks away, we can print fliers and maybe even get some quick-turn giveaways sent out. Now let’s start checking boxes!

12+ Months Out

  • Determine how trade shows will support your overall sales and marketing strategy.
  • Establish a budget, which could include a new display and graphics.
  • Research and identify which trade shows you will attend.
  • Request information from event managers including past attendee counts and exhibitor participation.

9–12 Months Before Show

  • Set specific objectives for your show, like number of product sales and generated leads.
  • Identify your space requirements and what type of exhibit/display you will need.
  • Register and reserve your space with the event sponsor.
  • Develop a trade show marketing plan: pre-show, at-show and post-show.

6–9 Months Before Show

  • Develop a powerful sales message that can be understood in 30 seconds or less.
  • Begin design work on upgrading your existing display/graphics or make arrangements to purchase new.
  • Research promotional items that will best fit your brand and marketing message and draw people to your booth space.
  • Determine what literature and marketing materials will be needed at the show.

3–6 Months Before Show

  • Order promotional materials including giveaways, literature, etc.
  • Continue working on your exhibit design, booth needs and marketing materials.
  • Determine delivery dates from your vendors.
  • Choose staff members who are most qualified to manage your booth, then prepare booth schedules and develop training sessions if needed.
  • Determine the shipping requirements of your exhibit and materials to the show warehouse or site.
  • Make travel and hotel arrangements.
  • Launch pre-show marketing campaigns.

1–3 Months Before Show

  • Plan your follow-up marketing to attendees.
  • Update your website to ensure consistency with the show message and details.
  • Continue with pre-show marketing.
  • Finalize and confirm all travel arrangements.
  • Confirm ship date for exhibit and all show materials.
  • Arrange meetings with prospects, distributors and other customers while at the show.

1 Week Before Show

  • Check the staff schedule to ensure all are prepared.
  • Confirm arrival of exhibit and materials with freight carriers.
  • Review checklist to ensure completion of all details.
  • Complete staff training and confirm all show logistics.
  • Finalize your show follow-up plan so you can quickly capitalize on leads immediately following the show.

Follow-up Activities

  • Study leads, send follow-up materials and make contact as appropriate.
  • Determine the success of the show with colleagues.
  • Review budget to determine actual expense of the show.
  • Discuss with colleagues the feasibility of attending this show next year. Make sure to include any changes, enhancements and other ideas to make next year’s show better.

If you’re heading to a trade show and need some last-minute supplies or materials,
we have your back! Just give us a holler at 402.437.0000 and ask for me, Janet Wurtz, or email janet.wurtz@firespring.com.


Start your trade show project today