Lean Exhibiting: 46 Ways to Get More Bang for Your Tradeshow Buck
By Jefferson Davis, Competitive Edge

When you compare the cost of putting a rep face-to-face with a customer or prospect in the field to the cost at a tradeshow, even in this economy, tradeshows are a still an extremely cost-effective channel. That being said, many exhibit managers are under pressure to do more with less. Below is a collection of 46 cost-savings practices in a checklist format. Cross out the ones you are using, put a checkmark by the ones you plan to use, and plan now to get more bang for your tradeshow buck.

  1. Memberships has its advantages: Join the association
  2. Reuse, refurbish or extend the life of your exhibit
  3. Evaluate renting versus owning your exhibit – you can save a lot here
  4. Replace your exhibit with a lighter weight, easier to set-up and tear down exhibit
  5. Get distribution channel partners to invest in the show with you
  6. Take advantage of all show vendor deadlines and discounts
  7. Negotiate everything
  8. Book travel early
  9. Use the same hotel chain as often as possible - negotiate room night rates
  10. Consolidate freight shipments
  11. Avoid rush charges by planning ahead
  12. Ship to the advance warehouse
  13. Ship small, lightweight, carry in items to the hotel
  14. Store exhibit properties in your most exhibited show city
  15. Negotiate volume shipping/freight contracts – go out to bid
  16. Buy reusable crates
  17. Have freight reweighed before return shipping
  18. Right size your exhibit - a complex topic - call me at 800-700-6174
  19. Evaluate the viability of a virtual product presentation
  20. Send less people – only those who need to be there
  21. Bring your own cleaning supplies
  22. Bring your own trash cans and liners
  23. Bring your own cordless vacuum
  24. Bring your own surge suppressor power strips and flat extension cords
  25. Send less literature – print on demand
  26. Create a roommate lodging program
  27. Dine with pre-set meals
  28. Save money on giveaways by using them properly
  29. Evaluate owning versus renting your lead retrieval system
  30. Be sure all leads are followed up
  31. Audit your post-show bills
  32. Consider selling show leads to dealers and distributors
  33. Measure and report savings and ROI and you may not have to reduce costs after all
  34. Compare renting an exhibit versus shipping an exhibit
  35. Consider buying a used exhibit
  36. Design generic graphics or consider using stock photography
  37. Produce graphics on location
  38. Take inventory and purge
  39. Investigate transportation caravans
  40. Reuse laborers
  41. Use the maximum straight-time hours
  42. Eliminate rigged lighting
  43. Use a portable server
  44. Staff locally or outsource booth staffing
  45. Shared hotel rooms
  46. Use giveaways wisely

Jefferson Davis, president of Competitive Edge is known as the "Tradeshow Turnaround Artist." Since 1991, his consulting and training services have helped clients improve their tradeshow performance and results to the tune of over $500M. Mr. Davis is creator of the NSTA Online Exhibitor Resource Center. He can be reached at 704-814-7355 or jdavis@compedgetraining.com.


To view the NSTA Science Supply Guide, Click Here

To View the NSTA Exhibitor Forms, Click Here

Questions or comments? Email us at bshoemaker@nsta.org or call (703) 312-9228
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