It’s been claimed that planning for the future in the present is the best method to foresee the future. Exhibitors can achieve just that by following a trade show schedule.

When it comes to starting to organize for a trade show, there is a lot to remember, and your to-do list can feel unending at times. That’s why we’ve put together a handy timeline that will walk you through a year of successful trade show planning.

Stick to this timeline to make a big impact at your next event and avoid common planning problems.

12 Months From Now

Start 12 months before a trade exhibition for a relaxing task schedule and a stress-free preparation procedure. This long period allows you to create a dynamic exhibit, choose the proper collection, and set goals.

Here are various things to think about when you start planning.

Is going to a trade show in line with your company’s objectives?

Your trade show timeline should start with determining whether or not exhibiting is in your best interests, as well as whether or not attending an industry event fits into your entire marketing strategy for the year.
The first step in determining whether a certain event is a good fit for your company is to define a clear purpose or goal.

Here are a few common objectives that you can attain by exhibiting at a trade show:

Increase brand exposure in a new or existing market
To produce leads and revenue, connect with customers.
Make connections with industry insiders, investors, and potential business partners.
Look out for what other companies in your industry are doing to stay competitive.
After you’ve determined your aim, the following step is to choose a show that aligns with your overall marketing goals.

Choose the appropriate show to attend.

Requesting show data from events you’re interested in attending is one of the most effective ways of deciding which show to follow. Attendee counts, demographic data, typical booth space costs, travel charges, and a list of competitors who attended can all help you decide if the show is good for you. From there, you may compare different concerts to discover which one provides the greatest value for the least money, as well as whether the venue and dates are suitable for your team.

If your organization has previously attended trade fairs, review the results to see which ones provided the best return on investment and how you may improve on your prior strategy.

Finally, once you’ve decided on a trade fair, remember establishing reminders for critical deadlines. Look into early bird registration discounts to save money on a booth space and exhibition fees.

9 Months Have Passed

It’s time to set concrete trade show goals and objectives after deciding that your firm should exhibit and selecting a show that will benefit your brand. You’ll need to meet with your team around the 9-month mark of the trade show timetable to identify realistic and attainable trade show goals, trade show booth requirements, and a firm budget estimate.

Goals & Objectives

It’s crucial to sit down and layout the desired outcome for your trade show or event as soon as you start organizing. Goals may shift based on the performance or current marketing objectives, such as a product launch or a promotional campaign.

To measure trade show results analytically, it’s also necessary to define success. Ensure your team is aware of these success metrics so that everyone is on the same page. It’s time to start working on the details when the goals and objectives have been clearly stated.

Exhibit Planning & Design

It’s time to begin planning your trade show exhibit around the 9-month mark on your schedule.

When it comes to planning and creating a trade show exhibit, the first step is to find out how much space you’ll need to achieve your goals and objectives. Following that, it’s critical to design with your dreams in mind.

For example, if you’re releasing a new product, establishing the ideal product display should be a top focus. Knowledge-based resources should be easily available if the goal is to improve brand awareness.

Consider the following popular show layouts:

Island exhibits face the aisle on all four sides, offering spectators full access.
Inline exhibitions are linear and frequently include adjustable features that make them ideal for numerous shows.
After you’ve determined your exhibit’s dimensional requirements, the next step is to decide which visuals and design elements will fit within your area. Exhibitors with prior experience should consider whether their current trade show exhibit will suffice or whether they will need to rent or purchase a new asset.

Make sure to think outside the box when brainstorming exhibit ideas, such as eye-catching product displays or a thrilling virtual reality experience.

Budgeting for Success

Your trade show budget will decide much of what you can and cannot achieve, so establishing a good budget or a close approximation early in your trade show schedule is critical. It should be easier to calculate an overall budget for your event now that you’ve established your aims and understand your trade show booth requirements.

Costs of trade shows are broken down as follows:

30% of the exhibit space is available for use.
a 20% discount on show services
Exhibit Design is worth 10% of the total.
10% discount on shipping and drayage
5% for promotional materials
Staffing and travel for the booth – 20%
Miscellaneous Expenses – 5%

6 Months From Now

Once you’ve reached the 6-month point on your trade show schedule, it’s time to start planning your event’s marketing strategy. You’ll have plenty of time to develop the pre-event excitement necessary for trade show success if you plan your advertising, direct mail, email marketing, promotional goods, and freebies over six months.

Advertising, social media, direct mail, and email marketing are all forms of marketing.

Regardless of your trade show goals, drawing visitors to your booth is critical. To attract visitors to your booth, you’ll need to make your presence known to the rest of the world.

Around 6 months, you should decide which outlets will assist you in getting the most people and starting placing ads in them. Attendees can be attracted to your display space by advertising on industry websites and in industry publications.

To improve reach and excitement for your event, create a buzz on social media in the weeks leading up to it.

Giveaways & Promotions

Promotions and prizes are common approaches to attract visitors to an exhibit area. Promotions and freebies are planned based on your budget and event marketing objectives.

Giving free product samples and conducting in-booth demos is a sure-fire technique to draw a crowd if you want to create product awareness. Contests and in-booth prizes such as pencils, notebooks, or sweets work great for generating leads. To obtain their giveaway, have participants fill out a lead form.

Contests are also a terrific way to get people enthusiastic about your business and reward loyal consumers with cool swag.

3 Months From Now

It would help if you sorted out all the important details by the end of the third month. Before you can fix sail for your event, though, you must complete several lesser duties. The last few weeks of your trade show schedule should be spent organizing key details, such as travel and accommodations, training your booth employees, and booking dinners and networking meetings with clients and prospects.

Complete the event’s details

Last-minute details can be a pain, so develop a plan to confirm actual dates with vendors and event coordinators ahead of time. Make sure you double-check amenities like wifi and electricity at the venue. Confirm shipment logistics, move-in dates, and set-up specifics with your installation and dismantling service, as well as drayage.

After you’ve taken care of this information, you should be good to go!

Educating Your Employees

Because a well-trained booth staff is the most valuable asset an event marketer can have, it’s critical to make sure your team is briefed and ready for the event. Rehearse sales pitches, train employees on items, talk about the branded messaging your company wants to convey, and make a list of objectives and procedures for your team to follow. Starting this procedure three months in advance allows your team to train and become comfortable in their new duties.

Accommodations and travel

It might be challenging if you don’t make sure you have all of your ducks in a row before going to a trade fair. Try to obtain a deal on airfare and hotel rooms if possible. Creating reservations at least 3 months in advance provides you an advantage in acquiring lodging and airfare packages, as well as removing one of the more stressful aspects of event planning from your plate.


It’s all about networking and making relationships at face-to-face marketing events. Consider sending invitations to present clients attending your event to help your organization network more effectively. These invitations could be for a consultation or a supper to show your thanks for your continuous partnership. You can also contact the people you’re courting. Extending invitations to prospects may assist in closing the business or sweetening the deal. Invites should be sent out around 30 days before the event. This offers your invitees enough time to answer confidently, as well as giving you time to make dinner reservations or design a customized packet for consultations.