The intricate planning for an exhibition will take a momentous amount of effort, but to what end is all this hard work if you can’t define what you have achieved?
Understanding how to measure this success should be a foundation of your planning, and this blog post will give you a guiding hand on where to start.
Why are you here? Always define the answer to this before you even select an exhibition to attend. This aim should be reflected through every decision you make and every step you take to brief your exhibition team;
There are numerous motivations behind attending an exhibition, you just need to make sure this is clearly defined and is a theme that runs through every aspect of your plan and execution.
Now you’ve defined what you want to achieve, how do you set up a framework to deliver this? The answer is to bring together the right exhibition team.
If you want to build the right exhibition team, you need to revisit what you want your exhibition to achieve. If you want to drive brand awareness, who are the best ambassadors for this in your company? If you want to generate sales leads, then you need to think about blending sales and technical expertise within your team. If you know your staff well enough, you should be able to assemble an exhibition team to deliver on any aim.
By developing a clear brief for your team, you can go to an exhibition with the perfect blend of a clear aim and a strong, focussed team. To develop your team’s brief, define their strengths, and tie these into your exhibitions goals.
The next section will look at defining the goals for this brief in more detail….
To ensure you can measure your success against your core aim, the goals for your team members need to be relevant and motivating to each individual. A common goal framework can be found in the SMART system. However a more agile CLEAR system has been developed that will allow your team to perform in the fast-paced environment of an exhibition event.
Collaborative-Create goals that encourage your exhibition team to work closely together in a way that compliments your larger goals. A team that is striving together will be clear to every visitor of your stand.
Limited- Though this word seems to evoke a negative connotation, goals that are limited in both scope and duration will avoid confusion (by avoiding overlap) and create more focus.
Emotional-Again, this word may seem out of place, but if your goals can tap emotionally into your team members passions and enthusiasm, you’ll see much better results. This will be even more prevalent in the specialists within your exhibition team, who have specific subject area they feel most confident with.
Refinable-Though your goals should not be woolly, they should be modifiable dependent on a change in situation. For example you may set your sales team a goal of 5 leads by lunchtime, but what if foot traffic is unexpectedly slow before lunch? You may need to re-assess this goal to reflect that. Allowing these goals to be more fluid avoids a fall in motivation and creates more realistic chances of success.
Measuring exhibition success does not come with one-size-fits-all template. When you are planning your team and their goals, you should also be planning how you are going to measure performance.
This will be a key part of your CLEAR goal development plan, and will incorporate both individual and exhibition success.
Develop some KPI’s that can be assigned to each individual which can in turn be used to measure the success of the exhibition. There should be wider ‘exhibition environment’ factors that feed into this and help you inform the true nature of success. If you can gain access to footfall numbers, as well as a demographic visitor data you can inform your analysis with more meaningful evaluation. Understanding who the visitors were will add a level of clarity when you’re analysing those KPI’s.
Outside of the numbers, ensure you gather qualitative feedback from visitors to get an alternative view on how well you were received.
Once you have trawled through your results and have a fair evaluation of your exhibition, you need to make sure this does not go to waste. Develop an action plan that can be used to inform your next event. Focus around these key areas:
For each of these areas think about what worked well, what didn’t work well, and what improvements you could introduce for the next time.
By ensuring you undertake this post event analysis, you will begin to build a blueprint from which you can build future exhibition success.
Although you have now set your overall exhibition goals and used this to define your exhibition team and set their goals, what are some wider success factors you should always consider?
Though your exhibition will have a more specific and tailored aim, always have the following factors in the back of your mind throughout your planning, execution, and evaluation.
ROI – What will your return on investment be? Although this will not always be directly calculable through sales, you will definitely want to sit down and weigh up the financial implications and any potential profit you could look to gain from it.
Brand reputation and awareness – Every time your company name and logo is in the public eye, your thoughts should be with your reputation. Though this seems extremely obvious, a short term financial target, marketing campaign, or project can become such a huge focus that the long term effects of an exhibition can be often overlooked.
Competitive edge – What are your competitors doing? Will they be at the exhibition alongside you? How the industry marketplace is looking and performing will always be a factor in your business success. It should never be too far from your thoughts when your exhibition plan begins to take shape.
Having these in mind at all times means you will have a wider lens from which to look at your exhibition team success.
Now you have a great starting point, you should be able to get out there and start to build a successful team for a great exhibition. If you’re still feeling a little daunted by the idea of co-ordinating your next exhibition stand, then get in touch with us for a chat.