Let’s face it…trade shows work. They are an invaluable marketing tool, allows you to keep a pulse on your industry, and gain new clients. That doesn’t mean you should take bad service, huge fees, or be held hostage by your trade show vendor. Like anything else, knowledge is power.
Here are 6 tips on how to save money on your trade-show budget.
The Storage Wars
Trade-show vendors love to charge storage. It’s recurring revenue they can count on in space they already have. But Brands refresh, products are upgraded and teams change. All of a sudden you begin storing items you’ll never use again. While it can look affordable on the outset, many companies end up storing just to store, afraid to throw out an expensive item that they will never use. For example, we acquired a client paying $5,000 annually for a decade for a booth they never used again. That’s $50,000 dollars! Out of site/out of mind can be disastrous.
Take inventory of what you are storing and ask yourself, “Do I really need it?”
Rent vs. Buy
Like most industries, trade-show vendors make higher margins when selling vs. renting. They know everyone likes to have a shiny new toy. But is it necessary? With today’s advancements in the industry, renting can be more affordable than ever. Plus no storage or repair expense. It also makes it easier to match your branding and messaging down the road. Most importantly, there is no large upfront cash outlay and you can negotiate a pay overtime and have the leverage.
Cutting Dray-age Costs
Dray-age is the cost associated with moving your booth and supplies in and out of a venue. Since dray-age is charged by weight, renting/purchasing a booth that is light weight will significantly reduce this cost. Also, considering the weight of your promotional items and producing lightweight foam signage can make your dray-age costs go down.
Store It Where You Need It
Many times storage makes sense, but store where it can save you money. Don’t think you have to store with your trade-show vendor. If you do several shows in the same region, consider storing at a local facility. It will save you on shipping and wear & tear cost.
Signage and graphics is a hefty profit center for trade-show vendors. Technology has dramatically brought down the cost of signage, posters and banners. Eye catching graphics can be bid out to local sign shops for a much lower costs. Even better…send your graphic files to a local sign shop in the city where the show is happening. This way you will save on shipping as well.
Axe the Rigging
Rigging can be one of the most expensive costs associated with a booth and a hefty profit center for the trade-show companies. Consider high columns for branding and lighted displays to grab attention.
And finally our favorite…
Donate And Get the Tax Right off
Non-profits in your community, would love your used booths and furniture. Consider reaching out to local charities who may be interested in accepting your donation for either re-purpose or resale. If you are only using certain items at a show consider, donating to a local community center, and you will save on return shipping as well. With either strategy, you will be helping a community and your organization can benefit for the tax right off. Everybody wins!
With these simple tips, you can get control of your trade-show costs, and put that money back in to other marketing initiatives or your bottom line. Good luck!
Got questions? We can help. Call AMI toll free at 866-337-7799.