Trade Show Planning Timeline

A successful trade show requires a methodical plan, and a detailed timeline is an effective and efficient way to organize the process. While it's ideal to start about 12 months before the date of the trade show to ensure that you have plenty of time to accommodate for the unexpected, you may not always have that option.

We’ve compiled a general guideline to help get you started. Need a more detailed list? Our team is here to assist you cross all of your ‘t’s and dot all of your ‘I’s before, during, and after the show.

Choose a Strategy: 10-12 Months Before the Show

About a year before the trade show, solidify your sales and marketing strategy and hammer out a budget. During this time period, get a general idea of what your goals are for the upcoming year.

Set Objectives and Needs: 6-10 Months Before the Show

Once your strategy and budget have been given the official go-ahead, it’s time to register for the event(s) and secure your show floor space. Depending on the show, the window for registering will vary, but in general it’s better to sign up as soon as possible so you have more options when selecting your floor space and can take advantage of any early bird special pricing.

Then, you'll want to begin identifying your key objectives for the show and what your plan is to meet those goals. In addition to outlining key messaging points and any presentations or collateral that need to be developed, you'll want to focus heavily on the elements of your booth space. After all, your exhibit is the first thing attendees will see when walking through the exhibit hall. Every aspect should work in your favor to help reach those goals. An experienced trade show exhibit company will be able to listen to your objectives and develop a solution and design unique to your needs.

Begin to Finalize Details: 4-6 Months Before the Show

About six months prior to the show, begin to finalize the details of the event. This encompasses everything from fine tuning your sales message to making the final decisions about your exhibit's layout, design and graphics.

Nail Down Logistic and Materials: 3-4 Months Before the Show

With just three to four months until the trade show, order all the promotional and marketing materials you'll need for the event. Make travel arrangements, if necessary. Meet with your design team to nail down the event logistics in terms of getting any components you are responsible for to the right place at the right time.

Put the Finishing Touches on Everything: 1-3 Months Before the Show

Starting a few months before the trade show, ramp up your pre-show marketing efforts. Touch base with staff to initiate training. Confirm that all elements of your trade show booth and marketing materials are on schedule. Secure installation and break-down services as well as the necessary floor accessories and furniture.

As a full-service trade show exhibit partner, Nimlok NYC works with clients through every phase of planning for trade shows and corporate events. Our goal is to take the guesswork out of coordinating a trade show display so you can focus on making the event a success. Contact us today to see how we can help your company reach its show goals.