Taming the Beast: Managing a Massive Trade Show Schedule

Ford’s heavy presence at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show
in Las Vegas was bolstered by a comprehensive media relations
effort that ultimately earned 4.5 million broadcast views during the
event.  Photo courtesy of Hill+Knowlton Strategies

No doubt the rise of the Web and interactive technologies are key drivers of the success of trade shows. The Trade Show News Network reports a trade show attendance increase of 3% for 2012 compared with 2011, meaning that communicators see the importance of pressing the flesh at events.

Ensuring that executives get in front of targeted media is critical. Scheduling on-site media appointments for clients exhibiting at key industry trade shows is nothing new to an agency, of course. However, when your appointments start to reach the 200-plus mark, it’s time to take hold of the situation. 

Here are a few tips from Emily Rosen, senior account executive, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, on managing a massive trade-show schedule:

  1. Create a Grid: Managing the schedules of 10 or more executives, plus many other SMEs, can get confusing. Stay organized with a detailed schedule that includes travel times, meetings and scheduled press interviews.

  2. Print it: A schedule that is several pages wide is fine for the computer, but isn’t helpful when you need a hard copy. When creating the schedule, be concise and mindful of page sizes so that you can easily print and refer to it onsite.

  3. Customize “pocket” schedules: In addition to maintaining a master schedule, make customized agendas that your execs can put in their pockets and refer to throughout the event.

  4. Keep a list of cell numbers: You’ll have to change the master schedule several times. Keep a separate list of reporters’ cell phone numbers so you can easily reach them during the show.

PR News subscribers can learn more about how Hill+Knowlton Strategies ramped up media efforts at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in: Case Study: Hill+Knowlton Strategies Drives Ford Motor Company’s Massive CES Campaign for Auto Technology Dominance.