Let’s face it, exhibiting at Surtex is a significant investment of time, energy and money.
As a marketing communications consultant for the past 30 years, I not only believe in the power of marketing but I’ve seen it generate amazing results over and over again for my clients. You can’t get results however unless you put yourself out there.
Surtex is currently the number one avenue for putting our art out there and reaching manufacturers and retailers who want to buy or license art for their products. This made the decision to exhibit relatively easy – well that and the fact that my current consulting income was ample enough that I could afford to budget and spend the money to exhibit.
For those of you on a more restricted budget, there are other less costly but more time consuming ways to reach manufacturers such researching manufacturers online and cold-calling or obtaining art submission guidelines from their websites. Another well traveled path is to find an agent to represent you.
My Cost to Exhibit at Surtex 2013
If you are pondering exhibiting at Surtex for the first time, I thought it might be helpful to have a “real life” look at one artist’s cost to exhibit. If you are traveling to Surtex from the West Coast or somewhere else in the world, you’ll need to budget more for travel expenses. You can also streamlines expenses by writing your own press kit (I didn’t have time), advertising less, printing fewer materials, etc. However, I don’t recommend that you skimp too much.
So what was the return on my $9,620.14 investment?
I generated 64 leads at the show. Keep in mind that I didn’t sit back and wait for people to come to me, I used some marketing and people skills to attract people to my booth. You can read more about that in Surtex-2013-Rocked!
It’s been 10 days since I returned from Surtex. I’ve entered all the contacts into my database and emailed each of them to thank them for stopping by booth. I am now working on following-up on the individual requests I received for specific types of art and/or mockups. And the truth is, I won’t be able to give you a hard “ROI” (return on investment) number because it’ll probably take months, or even a year or two, to turn enough leads into contracts.
My Dad always said, “Dress like the person who holds the position you want.” Licensors like Tara Reed and Paul Brent have been exhibiting 10 years and 25 years respectively, and they’re still going strong. I’m aiming to “dress” like them!