How To Set Goals, and Reach Them, at Your Next Trade Show

Trade show attendance is a lot of work, so of course you want to make sure all that work is worth the effort. Setting goals for what you hope to achieve from your trade show or event experience is a critical way to quantify something that might not be analyzed closely at many businesses.

Trade showGenerally speaking, we all head into event season with the hope of reaching new contacts, leads, and businesses. Those are noble goals, but they may be a bit too vague to act on. For example, your goal should absolutely be to turn heads with your fancy custom trade show visuals – but that’s not something we can quantify unless those who spotted you also came in closer for a chat and a look around.

Choose Your Direction

The first step is to set a broad goal about the direction you’re looking to head in: the target area that interests you most. For most businesses, for example, it’s an easy answer to this question: B2C or B2B? While ideally all types of consumers and trade contacts will come to check out your exhibit, it’s likely that a specific subset of trade show visitor is really the valuable lead you want. Your approach to planning will differ depending on whom you’re hoping to attract.

Get Specific

Marketing personasIn the world of marketing, we talk a lot about personas – sort of an example you create of a target customer you’d like to appeal to with your marketing efforts. This is a great approach for trade show marketing as well, since casting a wide net at a trade show will lead to lots of leads which are useless in the long run. There is, of course, no harm in getting the business cards of visitors who will never actually buy your product or do business with you, but your planning and strategic thinking should point toward those personas that actually benefit you as a business.

Say, for example, that you’re a B2C-type business, looking to reach brand new consumers of your product. What are your typical customers like? Male or female? Single or married? Millennials or baby-boomers? Think of design elements, interactions, gimmicks, giveaways and samples that would appeal to this demographic.

FRolodex of business contactsor B2B businesses, trade shows are often an opportunity to network and build relationships that will ideally lead to money changing hands somewhere down the line. But impressing a B2B event-goer is a different process than wowing a consumer with your product or service, and your strategy should reflect that. What level of B2B contact are you looking for? C-level or middle-management? Does your service offer the most advantage to a certain type of business? What pain points do businesses often have that you can help with? Do your research and think carefully about what you have to offer these types of contacts, and then structure your strategy and your pitch around that.

Set benchmarks for leads, meetings, and contacts, and plan with your staff to achieve them. And of course, get in touch with us about your trade show visuals so you can attract all the right people!

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