Friday, November 29, 2013

Before the Show: Set Goals and Measure Success

In order to make the most of your participation in a home show produced by Marketplace Events, its best to have a marketing plan that includes pre-show, on-site, and post-show promotion.  It should be decided what you would like to accomplish during each stage of your campaign.  Create a list of specific goals and objectives and have them in mind before moving on to the execution of your plan.  By having a well defined list of goals and a plan to achieve them, you will be able to evaluate the effectiveness of your plan and will be able to adjust it if needed.  It is the foundation upon which you will measure your overall success.

The most common indicators of success are sales dollars and leads - these are the easiest to measure.  However, although more difficult to measure, other indicators of success should not be ignored.  For example, you may choose to use the show as a recruiting venue and tally the number of interviews you conduct.  In addition, you may use the show to showcase new products and trends by capturing your teams observations on how these are being recognized by the audience.  Either way, your analysis must be tailored to your specific company objectives.

With tight budgets, limited staff, and not enough hours in the day it can be hard to commit to taking part in a show.  After investing your valuable time and money, having good data to back up your success is priceless.  Plus, learning from your mistakes can assist you in making improvements, these lessons are considered to be "little treasures" by our marketing team.  Analyzing your goals and objectives will also help evaluate your long term strategy - there is a reason many companies complete their renewal contracts before the current show ends!  Securing the best booth space, and committing to a new plan a year out from the next event puts them on the path to success.

If you continue to take part simply because you do so every year, it may be time to look at your objectives.  First define your goals, then have specific indicators in regards to your success.  Below are a few examples:

Company awareness - Branding or PR Reach out to show management and let them know about your company and why it is media-worthy. Review the publicity generated in dollar value, readership, etc.
Introduce new product or service Instruct staff to interact with customers and meet daily to discuss public reactions. Consider non-traditional means such as a blog article or social media which can be measured by engagement and the number of viewers.
Generate leads Offer a show promotion or discount. Use a tablet to collect email addresses and decide the desired number you'd like to collect as your daily goal.
Hire new employees Advertise the position available and invite selected applicants to meet you at the event. Finding the right applicant = success.
Market research Consider sponsoring a contest where you include a few specific questions on the entry form. Success can be measured by the number of entries, optins, and answers.
Close sales Invite your current prospects to your booth for an in person meeting and measure success on the final contracted dollar amount of closed sales.
At the end of the show, if you have completed your goals you can summarize your overall success.  At the same time when you sign the renewal contract you will be ready to alter and adapt your plan toward success at future events.

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