Getting Executives On Board With Your Trade Show Budget

Getting Executives On Board With Your Trade Show Budget

Delphinians are a seasoned bunch, and many on our team have two or three decades (or more) of trade show budget experience under their belts.

One such expert wryly recalled the joy she felt at her first job out of college when her boss, a senior executive, agreed to her exhibit strategy. The joy, however, was short-lived.

“I love it! Go make it happen!” he told her. “Five thousand should be more than enough to cover it.”

We’ve all been there (though hopefully not five-thousand-dollars there). Getting executives on board with your face-to-face marketing efforts can be daunting. But fear not; execs are people too, and sound logic can sway even the stingiest SVP. Follow the steps below to iron things out with the suits and get your trade show budget approved.

1) Grab your Glasses

Take a long, hard look at your previous efforts and ask yourself if they worked. Which shows or events accomplished what you needed them to? Which ones didn’t, and why?

2) Provide Proof

Be prepared to demonstrate where your proposed trade show budget dollars are going. Failure to plan is planning to — well, you know.

3) Make it Work

Redeploy dollars from one effort to another to stretch their impact. “Last year we spent $15k on X, but this year it would be better-spent at Y. Here’s why.”

4) Expect the Unexpected

The economy ebbs and flows, and a venue change can increase show costs by 150%. Add cushion to your budget to eliminate surprises. Balance for both long-term and short-term results. Be prepared to justify what the results are likely to be and what you’ll need to deliver them. Don’t forget to invest in both market research and your team.

5) Negotiate

Don’t focus solely on the one thing you want most unless you’re certain you have a bulletproof case. Focus on all things equally, and be prepared to part with a few. If you absolutely can’t part with things, build justifiable interdependencies.


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