How to Set Exhibition Objectives that Work
Exhibition and event success is more dependent on setting good objectives than most people realise. A good set of exhibition objectives help to keep the team on track and working towards a common goal. They also help you to analyse what went well, what didn’t and how to improve for the next event.
Utilising the S.M.A.R.T acronym when setting your objectives is a good start. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely and following it will help you to establish more effective objectives.
For an objective to be Specific it needs to state what you want to achieve, e.g. revenue or sales leads. Progress towards your objective should be easily Measurable. Exhibition objectives also need to be Achievable for your business, there’s no point aiming for something that can’t be achieved. Before setting your objective, think about if it is Realistic, is it possible for you to generate £5,000 in revenue during the event? Finally, a realistic time-scale should be given to your objective to ensure it is Timely.
Exhibitions can be costly in terms of both financial, and human resources. Well thought out objectives help you make the most of your investment.
Businesses attend exhibitions for a variety of reasons, so there are a variety of different objectives that can be set. Here are some that you should think about for your event.
- Sales Generation – Sales generation can include selling directly at the event, which is most popular at smaller trade shows. It can also include building a database of potential leads to follow up after the exhibition.
- Market Research – Market research is another common reason for exhibiting as it allows businesses to gauge the public’s perception of their product. When setting market research objectives, you should think about how you will be recording the data on awareness and perceptions of your product or service. We recommend conducting short surveys with visitors to your stand.
- Product Launches – Launching a product at a well-known event or exhibition is a great way to create exposure. You will need to record data on interest and feedback for the product once it has been announced.
- Brand Building – Attending exhibitions and trade shows can be hugely beneficial for building your brand, allowing you to generate awareness of your product, expand into new markets and meet potential new clients or investors. A spreadsheet or database of contacts you meet can be a good way to record this information.
Exhibition SMART Objective Examples
Here are a few examples of SMART exhibition objectives to provide you with inspiration for your next event.
- Improve brand awareness by 10% over the course of the exhibition
Brand awareness can be measured by asking visitors to your exhibition stand to complete a short survey – questions such as “were you aware of our business before this event” can help to gauge changes to your brand awareness.
- Generate £5,000 in sales as a result of the exhibition by a specific date (or during the event)
Sales attributed to leads generated from the event should be added into a spreadsheet or database. Set a specific amount for sales and a date to achieve that by.
- Establish 15 new business leads by the end of the exhibition
New leads should be recorded in a database and categorised by how likely they are to convert into a customer. This can include cold, warm and hot leads, giving an indication of which leads need to be followed up on sooner than others.
- Follow up on all the generated leads by a specific date
Following up on the leads you generate at an exhibition in a timely manner is an important factor in making the most of your event. Therefore setting an objective to follow up on your leads is a great way to ensure this is completed quickly.
- Meet with 5 key decision makers in our industry by the end of the exhibition
As exhibitions are usually focussed on a single industry, they are an excellent place to meet with key decision makers. Try to schedule meetings with people you especially want to meet with before the event, for the best chance at meeting with them.
The Importance of Monitoring and Evaluating Your Objectives
Without monitoring your objectives during the event and evaluating them after, setting the objectives is effectively useless.
Once you’ve set your objectives you should know exactly how you will be measuring them throughout the event. This can include methods such as surveys, databases, CRMs and spreadsheets of your progress.
If you are continually monitoring your objectives throughout the event you can see the progress you are making and adjust your approach to completing the goal accordingly.
Once the event is over it’s time to evaluate your objectives – did you achieve the SMART objectives that you set? If so you can think about setting more ambitious objectives for your next event. If not then you can evaluate why they weren’t achieved and what could be done differently to achieve the objectives next time.
At XL Displays we are experts in custom exhibition stands and portable display equipment such as pop up displays and roller banners. For more advice and more information on preparing for your next event, please contact us or call us on 01733 511030.