With tough economic conditions throughout 2009, companies large and small made cutbacks in their budgets – especially in areas like marketing for trade shows and exhibitions. But before you make serious decisions about your marketing spend, consider the advantages of a trade show event. Keep in mind that attending tradeshows and exhibitions are excellent for reaching a highly targeted market and generating new leads for your product or service.


In fact, when times are tough, trade shows can be even more important for exhibitors. Not only will some of your competitors skip the big show, but you’ll also find companies are more likely to send only their key decision-makers to the event – meaning your team will spend their time working with the most qualified leads.


Thankfully, there are many ways to keep exhibiting in your budget. By remembering the basics, getting creative with your exhibit and trade show accessories and correctly managing your show time and staff, you can maximize the effectiveness of your trade show budget. Here’s how:

Make the Most of Your Space and Time

  • Should you stay or should you go? If you are debating whether or not to attend a show, first consider reducing the size of your booth space. And if you create a high-impact tradeshow design, you can still have great impact.
  • Get a pre- and post-show plan in place. Whether it’s pre-event advertising letting your targets know where to find you at the show or post-show follow-up with new leads, developing a comprehensive marketing plan for before and after a show will help increase your ROI.
  • Always keep your ROI in mind. By keeping your eye on the goal, you can ensure your marketing dollars are maximizing your results.

Be Efficient with Your Trade Show Display

  • Try a rental trade show exhibit. Rental exhibits offer a reduced cost of ownership, eliminating the cost of storage, maintenance and handling. They also allow you to update the look of your exhibit at each trade show you attend.
  • If you need a custom exhibit, shop smart. Think of innovative ways to repurpose your booth to capitalize on your investment. For example, a custom portable exhibit can reduce ownership and operational costs while allowing for structural changes and scalability. With a 20×20 custom portable island that breaks down into a 10×20 or 10×10 exhibit, you have the flexibility to choose your booth size and configuration for each show. Also, custom exhibit extras like multimedia kiosks can reinforce your branding in your lobby, office or showroom.
  • Update your existing display. If a whole new booth isn’t in the cards this year, rejuvenate your look by adding a few simple elements rather than buying an entirely new portable display booth. One sleek, well-placed trade show accessory, such as flat-panel monitors, counters, shelves and stand-off graphics can help refresh your look for a low price.

Remember the Important Things

  • Focus on one key marketing message. A clear, simple message that supports your objectives will help visitors know who you are and what you do.
  • Make sure your staff is competent and well trained. Getting your trade show booth to the show is only half the battle. In addition, you are also responsible for preparing your booth staff, who sell your product on the show floor. Make sure your staff know your show objectives, are attentive to booth visitors, can qualify leads effectively and are fully trained on your product lines. A well-trained staff will help ensure you have a successful show.


Despite the tough economy, trade shows remain a valuable way to market your products and services. By efficiently utilizing show space and time and making smart decisions with your custom portable displays or rental trade show display, you can trim your costs – without losing out on important trade shows this year.