Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Total Cost of Program

Managing a trade show program of more than one show require broader thinking. Because you are using properties in multiple locations (and for possible different mixes of products and services), you really need to look at cost beyond the cost of each show.

In fact, combining costs across your spectrum of shows allows for economies of scale and, ultimately, savings by sharing. I've always called this approach a Total Cost of Program evaluation.

Start with lining up your shows side by side on the calendar (for the year, January to December or 18- or 24-months out). Be sure to include all the things that contribute to expenses over the year:

  1. Space rental
  2. Exhibit house expenses (pull & prep, load out and in)
  3. Show-specific changes (new graphics)
  4. Show services (electrical, drayage, rentals)
  5. Freight
  6. I&D
  7. Warehousing (for the year)
  8. Supporting contractors
  9. Your travel (if it comes out of your budget)
  10. Repairs and major changes
  11. Capital cost amortization

Total things by row and column with a grand total at the bottom right (if you use an Excel spreadsheet like I do). That grand total is you total cost of program.

Now you can divide this by account numbers or departments or charge off to partners. Or, when reality sets in, find ways to combine shows or services, cut deals on multiple functions with your vendors or other cost cutting measure.

If you want a copy of the spreadsheet I use or have otehr comments, please leave a note in the comments space below and I'll get one to you.


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