CEIR’s 2018 Marketing Spend Decision Report reveals that exhibitors plan to expand their median booth size by 20% this year. Is it time for you to do the same? Consider these six critical factors when determining whether it’s time to increase your footprint.
- Revisit your original goals. An old adage in trade show marketing is to start small, and expand later. If you began with that same mindset but have been working with the same exhibit space for many years, it may be time to return to your original 5- or 10-year plan for your booth space.
- Take stock of your calendar. If you’ve made tweaks to your trade show calendar in recent years (and who hasn’t?) it may be time to assess whether you still have adequate space for each of the shows you attend. Examine the available layouts and costs at each of your key shows, to see if a larger booth is physically or financial practical.
- Brush up on regulations. While each venue or show has different regulations and specs for booth sizes, our guide to U.S. exhibit rules and regulations will give you an idea of how big your creative sandbox can be.
- Size up the competition. Subconsciously, trade show attendees believe your booth size corresponds to your company’s size outside the exhibit hall. A larger booth can thus help them perceive you as a bigger industry player. If your competitor’s booths are the same size or larger than yours, it may be time to up your game.
- Get out the tape measure. There are some tried and true benchmarks for deciding on an ideal display space. Each staff member in attendance warrants an approximate 40-50 square feet of workspace. Tables, chairs, and other exhibit materials typically should take up no more than 50% of the available space. Your number of booth visitors should also be considered; a bustling booth might have 4.5 feet of wiggle room for person, whereas an open, inviting booth typically allows for 10 square feet of elbow room per person.
- Consider your in-booth programming. If you transition from basic product video or literature displays to a more interactive booth experience, your booth space typically will need to grow in tandem. Product demos, in-booth presentations, and private meetings with clients each involve unique considerations with regard to space, layout and furnishings.
With marketing budgets largely remaining flat, any change in your exhibit space will likely involve shifting your existing expense allocations. But with proper attention to trade show ROI calculations, a booth expansion may be a cost-effective way to raise your visibility in the year ahead.