When should I start planning for a big show?
You wouldn’t start training for an around-the-world vacation two weeks before your first flight. Yet many marketing teams call our marketing agency in a panic only six or eight weeks before a huge show asking for help to start show planning.
Exhibit booth space and team travel to a show is often the most expensive line item in your marketing budget. However, many companies allow enough planning and execution time for the spend to result in a positive ROI.
There is no possible way you can choose a theme, select messaging channels, line up public relations and analyst interviews, and launch successful booth draw campaigns in this short time frame. Companies that exceed show goals start planning the next event before the current one ends, especially at shows where prime booth locations are in demand.
It’s never too early to begin show planning
At many large shows, like HIMSS, Bio, Arab Health, and CPhi, you should start planning for next year’s show before the current show ends. You’ll need to choose your booth space and sign a contract for the following year from the show floor!
Once you have a booth space selected, then you can comfortably start efforts about nine months out from the show unless you are planning a monstrous after party or user group during the convention.
For a show planning guide with detailed monthly tasks, check out “Countdown to HIMSS: The Ultimate Guide to Succeeding at a Massive Trade Show” which details planning steps for a large health technology show. However, the outlined cadence applies to any large conference with exhibitors.