Trade show exhibits are incredibly important if you use trade shows as a lead and customer generation tool. A high-quality, effective exhibit is well worth the investment.
But when should you revamp or upgrade your trade show display? And when should you replace it?
The short answer is, “When it starts to not work anymore.” But that’s a hard thing to quantify.
There are a few guidelines for deciding what to do with the exhibit you’ve had for a few years. Generally, people start thinking about refurbishing or replacing their trade show displays after 3-5 years. But, there may be good reasons to do so before then – and then you have to figure out which path, refurbishment or replacement, that you’re going to pursue.
Here are a few guidelines to help you decide.
Assessing the Financial Side of Trade Show Exhibits
Trade show exhibits cost money. They’re investments because you have to pay to get a return. The bigger the return, the better the investment. But it is still an investment, and you need to take that into consideration.
Your trade show booth has value. It will depreciate over time. The current value of your display is whatever you paid for it minus the depreciation, which is something an accountant can help you determine.
If you’re looking to upgrade or refurbish the booth, and the costs are higher than the value, you might as well replace the entire thing and get a newer model. Keep in mind that newer trade shows are usually made from lighter and more durable materials, so their value is effectively higher.
If the costs of refurbishment are below the book value, then it may make sense to hold on to your exhibit and just upgrade it.
Also, there may be additional matters, such as how much it costs to ship and install your display.
Figuring Out Which Path to Take
Of course, it may be hard to determine if the booth needs anything at all. Maybe it’s just fine the way it is and can last a few more years.
That may be the case. But if you’re at a trade show and you’re noticing that other booths look and function better than yours, you may need to take action. You don’t want to fall behind in the trade show exhibit “arms race,” because then you’re losing ground and not standing out.
So, it may make sense to do something. We went over the financial analysis you can conduct, but you also have to see if there are innovations in the field that will help you stand out.
Refurbishment makes sense if the modifications you need are relatively simple and inexpensive (relative being the key word). If your infrastructure is still sturdy and reliable, and the upgrades aren’t extensive, you can get away with revamping what you have.
Replacement makes sense if the modifications you need are extensive. You may want a completely new look that’s more than just cosmetic. Modular trade show displays can help eliminate the need for replacing a display altogether, since you can reconfigure a display to match what you need, but sometimes, it’s best to start from scratch.
How you compare to the competition, ultimately, should be a big determining factor.