Trade Show Timeline Infographic

Trade Show Time Line for Beginners

6-12 months before show – Reserve Booth Space, Create a Marketing Plan 

  • Register and reserve a booth space with the event sponsor and request full details on exhibit requirements.
  • Develop a trade show marketing plan that uses a mix of promotional methods to reach prospects.
  • Forecast your return on investment.

5-8 months before show – Plan, Budget, Estimate 

  • Pinpoint the part trade shows will serve, as part of your overall marketing and sales strategy.
  • Develop a detailed trade show budget.
  • Determine the literature and marketing materials you will need at the show – and begin design and printing work.

4-6 months before show – Select an Exhibit House, Develop a Sales Message 

  • Determine your exhibit design, lighting, layout and graphics needs.
  • Write your 30 Second Sales Message
  • Launch pre-show marketing initiatives.

3-4 months before show – Schedule, Order, Arrange

  • Make travel arrangements, including airfare, hotel and car rental reservations
  • Order your giveaways and promotional items.
  • Settle on staffing requirements, develop booth schedules, and plan training sessions.

1-3 months before show – Count down

  • Put together follow-up packets to send immediately after show to leads
  • Schedule staff training.
  • Schedule dinners or other meetings to be held at the show with prospects, distributors and/or customers.

1 week before show – This is It! 

  • Complete staff training.
  • Confirm shipping arrival dates for your booth display, promotional items and materials.
  • Double check that all action steps on timeline have been covered.

1-7 days after show – Follow-up Activities

  • Analyze leads, send follow-up packets, and make contact as appropriate.
  • Evaluate success of trade show participation compared with objectives from your trade show plan.
  • Review your budget compared to your actual expenses for the show. Determine your return on investment.

12 Months before next show – Schedule, Make Recommendations, Prepare

  • Make recommendation whether to participate in the same trade show next year.
  • Include suggested changes, enhancements, and other trade show ideas.
  • Schedule exhibit space – it’s your chance for the best!