As Exhibitus, our clients and their customers await the return of a world where we safely can gather, we will continue to provide information to assist in planning for future live events by posting blogs on relevant topics.
The Exhibitus team also is available to discuss virtual options designed to connect you to your target audience before we return to the trade show floor. We have the expertise and tools to help you reach goals and demonstrate value of investment in other forms of outreach. Contact us to learn how you can take the value of trade shows to the virtual world while we wait for a time COVID-19 is no longer a critical threat.
Trade shows can be a powerful strategy for businesses to improve visibility within their industry and to increase sales. They also often require a significant investment of both time and dollars.
In order to justify this investment to decision-makers and other stakeholders with your company, it is important to have a planned set of performance measurements that confirm the value received. When choosing an exhibit design firm, in addition to great design expertise, make sure they understand your business and program objectives and have the tools and knowledge to help analyze the execution of custom trade show exhibits with an eye towards continuous improvement.
Especially for custom inline design for trade shows, ensure the following steps are taken to provide the insight necessary to evaluate success.
Start with a Self-Assessment
Before going into any project, including trade shows, it is important to set a foundation based on experience. Any knowledge of strengths and opportunities should be considered, so that the former can be bolstered and the latter properly addressed.
Ideally, these self-assessments will contain data gathered from previous events, including both successes and failures. This initial assessment should be done in an objective manner, as being able to admit past downfalls is the only way to prevent them from occurring again in the future.
A comprehensive self-assessment ensures that forecasting will be tailored to an organization’s needs.
Strategic Planning and Objective Setting
Developing a strategy for each event begins with an understanding of an overall trade show’s expected contribution to the company’s corporate and marketing goals. The strategy for each event will likely differ based on a number of factors such the size of the show, where it is being held, the attendance of the company’s target audience and the products to be promoted.
Objectives should be tailored to the specifics of the trade show. It is also important that objectives are precise and measurable; a goal of “generating more interest” will not be as useful as a goal of increasing booth attendance by 20 percent.
Each objective also should be attainable based on past performance and projections of future improvements. Having these types of goals in place will be critical to both execution and measurement of an event’s success, and overall contribution to a company’s future growth
Here is where the planning is put into action! When a strategy is well-defined, execution plans aimed at reaching the established goals can be developed. Every activity from exhibit design, to targeting, to messaging and in-booth engagement activities can be tailored to support the strategy, making execution critical to overall results.
Measurement and Reporting
Once all is said and done, any collected data needs to be gathered and evaluated in relation to the objectives. Since different areas of interest may have disparate data, these can be tied together as part of the analysis.
For example, measuring new leads may be easily tied to the number of entrants into an electronic system. Something like “customer satisfaction” is not as easy to derive without data to back it up, which is why some choose to utilize visitor exit surveys or to conduct short feedback polls after attendees watch a product demonstration or presentation.
Because objectives have been clearly defined beforehand, there should be measurable, reliable data which will turn into valuable feedback.
After all these measurements are complete, they can be formulated into digestible reports for executives and other stakeholders. Showing value can often be a challenge for marketing teams, so reporting is an important solution. Event reporting provides concrete guidance on areas of success and areas of improvement, in a way that can be backed up with data.
The most important part of these steps is to use the data to positively impact the show program going forward. Once an event is over and results have been gathered into a report, that report should be the baseline for self-assessment on the next project as the cycle begins again.
Creating a feedback loop in this manner allows for growth over time, which can be measured against the past to highlight any changes. By following this process, a program never becomes stagnant and always strives to prove the investment value of exhibiting at a trade show.
Exhibitus has extensive experience in trade shows, making us a great partner in developing your objectives and determining the best way to measure them. We work with clients and companies to develop plans specific to your brand and goals. Contact us today to learn more.