Complete Timeline and Breakdown To A Successful Expo or Trade Show Planning

Have you considered visiting, participating, showcasing, or even hosting a trade show? It takes a lot of preparation and strategic planning, this is why you need an attentive team to back you up when setting up the action plan with achievable milestones. 

Over this article we’ll go over the expo timeline comprising:

  • Twelve Months Prior 
  • Nine Months Prior 
  • Three Months Prior 
  • One Month Prior 
  • Final Week Prior
  • At The Event (D-Day)
  • Post Event 

Understanding where, when, and how you’re approaching any events will help you yield better results whether you’ll looking to network, increase brand awareness increase beta users, or gather more lead/prospect volume. 

Twelve Months Prior 

There are many expos, exhibitions, trade shows, and events that you can choose from when deciding to join, before choosing your pick identify what your purpose is when attending these events. Is it:

> To promote or sell a specific product?

> To gather leads?

> To network?


  1. Which show best fit into your marketing strategy?
  2. What is your budget for the entire show? (Marketing materials promos, booth design, etc.)
  3. Who’s your main prospect? 
  4. Who are you trying to target in the show?
  5. Where are they located?
  6. What drives decision-making for your prospect persona?
  7. What demand can you fulfill for them and are they actively looking for it? 

After you answer all the above-mentioned questions, you’ll be able to determine where you should exhibit and best interoperate with your marketing strategy. 

Research and register for the show, and remember not to choose your show blindly. It’s crucial that you find one that caters to your target audience, fits within your budget, and aligns with your goal(s).

Nine Months Prior

CLARIFY. Having a strategy isn’t enough to nail a trade show or exhibition. You need to be clear with your strategy and clarify what sales messaging you’re looking to promote and make sure you go over this with your colleagues.

  1. How will you present/pitch your product or services to the attendees?
  2. What tactics will you use to collect leads? (Lead Magnet, Quotation, Proposal, etc.)
  3. What materials will you hand out to visitors?
  4. How much space do you have (booth/venue) to work with?
  5. What will your access to electricity, Wi-Fi, and other amenities be like on the day of the event and for deliveries prior?

Remember to read through the contract and exhibitor’s manual. Go over any materials the trade show has provided you, and be sure you understand your rights and responsibilities. These are all important details to know while designing your booth and carrying out the event. 

Lastly, select an exhibit house and design your booth. Provide any requirements for functionality and/or design, such as demo or meeting space, lighting, graphics, flooring, signage, displays, etc.

Three Months Prior

Build the hype. Inform your target audience know where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing. 

Remember the sequence, Pain point, Offer, Benefits, CTA (Call-to-Action).

Decide on your clear message that is in line with your branding/ company culture and your goal for promoting your product/service at that particular event.

This is where a social media and email strategy for existing customers or leads come in handy. Provide content, and information of the expo/trade show, and possibly run paid advertising to invite leads to the show and retarget them through various different marketing channels and/or creatives. 

You can also look at other marketing strategy opportunities for promoting and also, look at leveraging from event and industry to advertise your presence there.

Don’t forget to make travel arrangements. Book the airfare/ ground travel and accommodations requirements. Oftentimes, an expo or trade show venue will provide a hotel/travel promotional offer, you can check with the event organiser to see if you can utilise any promotion for hotels nearby/flights. 


  1. Transport coordination for your exhibits/ demos if you haven’t already done so. 
  2. Check-in with vendors and verify dates/times. 
  3. Check-in with your exhibit vendors and promo suppliers for status updates. 
  4. Verify final delivery dates.

With your exhibits/demos always think of a presentation that will entice visitors to your stall. 

One Month Prior


Select the right staff and train/prepare with and for them so everyone is clear on the message delivery and knows their own responsibility, as well as the strategies and talking points they’ll be expected to use at the booth. 

You’ll want to outline the travel itinerary and go over the timeline for each day of the show to prevent anyone from bailing, missing out, or miscommunicating, Don’t miss out on time zone differences and make sure everyone will have a good internet connecting on/off site.

Outline your follow-up plan:

  1. How are you collating your leads from the event?
  2. How will you follow up with leads you cultivate at the show (email, call, social media connecting with what message, and so on)? In what timeline, who’s responsibility is this?
  3. What will be the measurable results from these tasks?

Last, finalise logistics. Make sure you have a checklist of things you need to bring/setup in the venue and ensure transportation, storage, and setup services are all arranged and confirmed.

With one month left, ensure all promotional materials are checked thoroughly with no typos, mistakes, and/or changes of information. Send your brochures, handouts, and other printed materials to a professional printer for production with an assigned member of staff to follow up and monitor that progress, so your promotional material and its delivery are all in order. 

Final Week Prior


  1. Ensure your lead capturing process, form, or webpage you’ll use to capture leads during the show is set up correctly and that everyone on the team knows how to use it. 
  2. Double-check your exhibits and booth materials. Go over your materials, set up a mock demo table, and make sure you have all the pieces you need. 
  3. Ensure any electrical items are tagged and tested. 
  4. Verify your travel arrangements. Confirm any and all travel details for you, your team, and your exhibits.
  5. Dedicate a staff member to ensure that the representatives have all the necessary information to hand in for the day. 
  6. Create an emergency backup kit. Include duct tape, markers, extension cords, etc.


This is what you’ve been preparing for. Be flexible, cautious, and agile.

  1. Confirm all shipments and staff have arrived 1-2 hours prior to the event.
  2. Take stock of your supplies and booth materials. Make sure everything has arrived unscathed. 
  3. Have a brief meeting with your staff. 
  4. Go over expectations and responsibilities, and reaffirm your sales messages. 
  5. Set up your booth. Make sure you consult the on-site electrician if necessary.

Don’t forget to have fun and network through. Encourage your colleagues, team mates, and staff to also ensure a friendly encounter with everyone. Afterall, their leads are your leads. Expand the network as vast as possible.  


Post event doesn’t mean that your job is done. You have to see to it that all settings, leads, and props are packed up and sent back.  

  • See that your booth and exhibits are torn down, packed up, and loaded in their transport vehicles safely. Request a clear arrival date from the logistic company and keep a clear tracking code. 
  • Make sure all materials are shipped off safely and properly stored. With clear labelling.
  • Hold a show retrospective with your team and document the discussion. Refer to your original goals. 
    • Was it a success? Why or why not? 
    • What would you do differently next time? 
    • What worked well? 
  • Retrieve any leads you’ve captured. 
  • Gather any forms or business cards, and hand them on to the appropriate team members to ensure that they are followed up with reports on i.e. leads, and sales so that results can be measured against the goals set for the show.

And there you have it, the complete timeline, and breakdown of a successful expo or trade show planning, prepared for you exclusively by AR & Associates. If you’re looking to implement a custom plan for your next trade show, please reach out to us by calling or emailing us below. Work with us and we’ll handle the full process for you, hassle-free.


AR & Associates have helped IT, Engineering, Automation, Manufacturing, and Energy companies all across Australia to generate leads, increase brand awareness, maintain reputable PR, as well as increase sales.

We’ve helped with the setup of expos, trade shows, and exhibitions for various companies across Australia and NZ. We focus on helping you spend less time in marketing, and more time serving your customers. Leave the matter to the respective experts. As engineers ourselves, we understand the core values and importance of marketing through trust and reliability. 

We provide a full tailor-made solution that helps you build your company to the next level through digital and on-site marketing. With expertise in organic omnichannel marketing and on-site event or workshop planning, we offer a full turn-key marketing solution that gives you time, space, and freedom to focus on what you do best, which is to run your business. 

Email us here or call us today at (+61) 02 8416 4442 to get more information or book a complimentary marketing consultation or strategy session below.

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