Many of our clients desire to know the best way to evaluate the performance of a trade show. It's an excellent question and one that is answered very simply: business goals. When business goals are established, the performance of your trade show can be evaluated by how these goals were, or were not, attained. A company can put together very basic and helpful goals through a few simple steps, as well as using a helpful acronym: SMART.

The first step is answering a QUESTION. This question is foundational as companies seek to move forward in creating and executing goals: what is the company's purpose for this event? This will set the entire foundation to the goals created. Perhaps the purpose is to increase sales, showcase a service or product, or maybe this is strictly a marketing opportunity. Regardless of what it is, this question is crucial for companies to answer as they seek to establish goals for a trade show.

The next step is RESEARCH.  Let us help you with this. We know the trends and love to talk about ways to implement your ideas improve your current initiative or brainstorm a direction to take your aspiring trade show exhibit. Some specific questions we like to research and show our clients are new ways to communicate your message, service or product and how we can differentiate our clients on the show floor. Throughout this research phase, you will be able to see weaknesses in your current situation that can help identify opportunities for improvement. As you do this, remember that no team or company is perfect. Many clients of ours believe they need to have their goals written before engaging with us; however, we love to help our clients write their goals. 

Lastly, step three is WRITING SMART goals. This acronym is broken down into five key words that are guidelines to use when writing business goals. The key words are Simple & Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. All business goals should encompass these concepts. An example of a goal like this would be, "to increase attendance at trade show booth by 20% over the next year." As you can see, this goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Knowing this goal, we can help you plan for and achieve it by implementing plans and components that attract and drive attendance to your exhibit.

Once the SMART goals are established, be sure to prioritize the preparation and follow-up of each event. Many of our clients' goals are executed in the preparation and follow-up of their trade shows. They set up a social media campaign, send follow-up emails or build a customer contact list – all of which would never be reached if they were not proactive in organizing the bookends of their event.

SMART goals should be evaluated after every trade show, not only to determine if goals were accomplished but also to observe areas of improvement for future events. In the end, goals are foundational and matter greatly to the success of a trade show event. Companies are guaranteed to experience consistent growth as they routinely circle back to goals - goals that are Simple & Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

Have you built goals for your trade show?