6 Money Saving Ideas for Your Trade Show Exhibit


Whether you have an existing trade show exhibit or you are getting ready to plan and design a new one, there is always a need to keep your budget, and ways to save money, in mind. None of us can escape the fiduciary scrutiny that comes along with limited marketing resources.

Often, trade show (and /or special event) participation and preparation is one of the biggest expenditures in a marketing budget. Here are six areas where you should consider “trimming the fat” or at least pondering changes in order to save money.

 1 – Trade Show Booth Space

Be sure you do not have too much booth for what you need to accomplish. Sometimes exhibit space can eat up nearly a third of your total show budget, so plan wisely. Don’t bite off more booth than you can chew. If you do not have a large exhibit and need large areas for product demonstrations, don’t get a huge booth. You do not want your space to look like you ran out of money and cannot furnish the house you bought. Another way to trim space expense is to decide on show attendance early and commit to exhibit space as soon as possible. Most shows have early bird discounts; take advantage of them.

 2 – Trade Show Exhibit Design

Your trade show exhibit design will depend on what size booth space you have rented. If you do multiple shows each year and purchase various booth sizes, you will want to invest in a modular display that can be reconfigured so that you can use it at all your shows. Buying separate exhibit set-ups for various shows can get quite costly. Plan for the year and use, re-use and rearrange display components. An exhibit house with good designers can accommodate for multiple layouts and even give you renderings of what each show layout can look like. You will want to seek out an exhibit supplier that has pop-ups and various modular display selections that provide re-configurability options.

In addition, to find displays that are easy to set up or tool-free. This will save not just money but time and effort for you and your exhibit staff.

 3 – Trade Show Exhibit Transportation

Two things to think about in regards to transporting your exhibit to shows are weight and scheduling. Obviously, the lighter the exhibit and your accoutrements, the less you will pay as trade show transport is a size and weight issue. The other issue at hand is proper planning. Can you do a better job of getting your exhibit to point A then to B and to D without having to send it to C in between each stop?

Map out your show calendars and see if you can save money by shipping directly from show to show instead of shipping back to your office/warehouse in between each one. Some exhibit houses also offer a storage and shipping service – this may actually save you money (not to mention space & hassle) in the long run.

4 – Trade Show Drayage

Drayage is a fee, charged by weight, that you incur basically moving your exhibit from the trade show’s storage to your exhibit space. Investigate and ask questions to see if you might save money doing direct to show shipping instead of shipping your exhibit to the advanced warehouse. Sometimes, direct to site material handling fees are up to 10% less – however there are pros and cons to each method. If you have a smaller display, try to bring it as luggage or ship to the hotel and carry or roll it in yourself. Remember to check each individual show’s guidelines for feasibility.

Another way to save money here is to be intentional about pursuing lightweight display options. Fabric is an excellent lightweight choice and can often reduce overall display weight and free you of cumbersome large rigid graphics. If applicable, invest in sturdy, lightweight cases instead of large wooden crates.

 5 – At Show Installation & Dismantle

Choose an exhibit that is easy to set up and tear down. Ideally if you can, select a display that only requires one or two people to set it up and requires no tools or minimal tool usage.

Shows have union rules about using tools and dealing with electricity, so the less work and tools the better. Hired labor adds up quickly. Your display purchase will impact I & D at every show so choose wisely.  Also if you have sales folks or booth personnel that are not able to set up the booth themselves, shop around for I&D services. It would be best to go with company that provides I & D as an add on service as they will know their exhibit material best and, in the long run, will be able to more quickly set up your booth than generic hired labor.

 6 – Trade Show Swag aka Giveaways

Ask if you really need these items. If you do, can you be more selective in what you give away or to whom you give your swag? Perhaps a non-tangible incentive such as 10% discount on show purchases or a special product as an at-show-only promotion may be just as, if not more, effective as an inexpensive tchotchke that will be tossed in a week. Go with a lower price item and be liberal with handouts or ramp up the value a touch and be more selective – either way find that balance.

Are you looking for display solutions that fit these money saving criteria? Check out Mark Bric ‘s ISOframe Intelligent Exhibiting line of exhibits and displays for answers!  ISOframe features pop-up, modular and custom displays that are tool-free, lightweight, and conveniently ship in durable cases (some of which even have wheels and do double duty as counters). ISOframe also has several fabric and SEG fabric options to give the elegant look of a high end custom without the detrimental weight of a traditional heavy custom display. Start your brainstorming here: www.ISOframeExhibits.com & www.MarkBricDisplay.com

Call 800-742-6275 today and you will save even more money when you receive a free, 3D, full-color rendering of your future exhibit design and a free no obligation quote.

 – By Stacy D. Poole, Marketing Professional at Mark Bric Display Corp.


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