Where are you in your planning? Normally we would be looking at the schedule below. It is very brief but you get the point!
3 months before the event the marketing should be in place announcing your participation. Within these 3 months, the Exhibitor kit arrives and someone has to read it and process it. Last tweaks to the booth should also be in the works.
6 months before the event final product choices and ordering should be happening. Finalizing staff and sponsorships are on the check off list to get done. Contracts for auxiliary contractors like shipping and I&D should be signed.
9 months before the event, at the very latest, goals and strategies for attending should be done. Hopefully some of this was thought out as you chose to attend a specific event. At this point for positive results, goals, plans, call them what you like should be mapped out with everything through after the meeting processes.
1 year out, what show or shows are you attending and why? We often throw darts at the wall and pick a show or shows to attend. We do not always think about the why, but just that we should. Some genre’s are packed with endless possibilities of shows to attend. Often, we just go because others expect us to be there. Is that a good why? Maybe, if strong goals are set and met.
We are not normal, yet. Are you rushing to get back to a face to face meeting? Steps can be expedited, but to be successful, goals must be set quickly and realistically. IF you have chosen a show or two to test, where are you in the goal setting and execution? And who is handling the execution? Many companies have let staff go, and now hand off projects to those who are still employed. Are they the right people to handle the program? Thought and money go into attending shows, what are you getting out of it?