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Helpful Hints to Get You Through the 2013 Budget Process

by Gwen Parsons 12. December 2012 23:24

Since business to business exhibitions represent the largest share of the average marketing budget, you’ll need to plan carefully for the shows you want to participate in next year.  Consider these five steps: 

1. Review your 2012 trade show marketing expense categories and make a note of anything you want to do differently in 2013.

2. Compare your 2012 expense categories to those of other companies that exhibit. The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) updates “How the Exhibit Dollar is Spent” annually. This year’s study revealed the following breakdown:


3. Make a list of the line items within each category so no detail slips through the cracks. For example, using the chart above take into account that:

  • Show services includes material handling, installation and dismantling, electrical, furnishings, Internet, A/V, floral, food & beverage, cleaning services, etc.

  • Promotion includes pre-show, on-site and post-show initiatives – advertising, sponsorships, giveaways, collateral, etc.

  • Lead management and measurement includes lead retrieval equipment, post-event follow up activities, tracking, etc.

4. Build your budget by allocating funds to the fixed expenses first such as exhibit space, then add in estimates for variable expenses such as promotion. To be on the safe side, you may want to add five percent to cover general cost increases.

5. Refine your projections. Look for opportunities to reduce operational expenses so you can invest more to promote your products and services! You may be able to shave some spend on items likes these:

  • Pre-order show services vs. on-site

  • Ship to the advance warehouse vs. direct to show site

  • Buy artificial floral arrangements

  • Bring your own cleaning supplies, trash can and sweeper

  • Invest in one display that scales up or down for use in different exhibit spaces

  • Rent a large display in your show city vs. shipping one a long distance

Funnel your savings into other existing categories – such as promotion; or new ones – like staff training and measurement.

What’s your biggest budgeting challenge?




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