Manufacturer Trade Show Costs Analyzed - Spending Millions

Author: Brian Karas, Published on Aug 25, 2016

Ten million dollars plus is spent by manufacturers at every major trade show (e.g., ISC West, ASIS, IFSEC, Essen, etc.)

And the bigger booths routinely spend $200,000+, with the biggest $500,000+.

Where does all that money go?

In this report, we break it down:

  • Booth Costs
  • Carpet, Electrical and Internet costs
  • Setup costs / labor / Teamsters
  • Support Staff costs
  • Giveaways and Sponsorships

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Comments (12)

"An event like this can draw 500 people at a cost per head of $200 for an open bar and appetizers, adding another $100,000 to the cost of doing the show."

Easily. And that's before figuring in the cost of body paint...

Everything is more expensive at a trade show. An Internet connection can range from $1,500 to $10,000 - just for 3 days. And that's typically just 5-10Mb.

This is an interesting article - but stuff we already knew. What I would be more interested in is the ROI for going to a conference. With the internet, direct sales and marketing, word of mouth, etc - is it really even worth it to go to these conferences anymore - given the outrageous expenses?

I have an upcoming post on the ROI side as well.

As a mid-sized manufacturer in this industry, we've already pulled-out of one of the big annual trade shows, but still do the other one. We've found that everything makes a difference, such as the location, time of year and even the show company that's hosting it. At first we were nervous that we'd be conspicuous in our absence, but guess what? Nothing could be further from the truth. Nobody cared! Nor were we ever really concerned what our competitors might say about us! Let's face it, they were never going to speak all that well of us anyway! We put the money to better use and to this day, every one of our constituents and competitors knows that we are a healthy and vibrant enterprise.

Those high-priced impressions that are made at certain industry shows are short lived!

So much for being afraid!

I agree with undisclosed 4.

the only value I have seen in going to these shows is that it is an opportunity to network - not so much in showing products. and a lot of the networking is with people we already know, current customers, or other vendors.

one trick we have found that works really well for us - we rent a meeting room in a nearby hotel, contact the people we want to meet with anyway - since a lot of people will be in the same place at the same time - and hold a series of private meetings or seminars. we don't bother with being on the convention floor. cheaper and much more effective for what we do.

In the last 8 years of going to 5-7 shows a year, I have never left a major show without at least one lead that brought a $250k+ project. I guess I'm paying the bill for all the drunks!

5, so you get 5-7 total $250k+ project leads per year from shows or?

Yes, 5-7 per year. Some are fast, some are slow, but I see anywhere from $1m-$2m a year from trade shows. Biggest deal from a trade show is currently in the works, and its a $6m project.

Very interesting article - good perspective..

From a Manuf perspective its about brand awareness and reinforcement we are in the game ('seen to be seen'). We regularly meet with partners, other vendors, existing partners and customers .

We've never seen lead generation as the reason although I would suggest at least 2-3 'cold to sell' outcomes at a tradeshow.

Its rare to 'ring the bell' at a conference but used to happen up until the 90s.

Its also a great time to make 'friends' (we're an open player) and to see what's out there.

Its rare to 'ring the bell' at a conference but used to happen up until the 90s.

6, thanks for sharing! Can you elaborate on that? Did you close deals on the spot back then?

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