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SET GOALS SELECT SPACE By Christine Christman

Plan to Measure The Return on Your Trade Show Investment

© 2015 Christine Chirstman P. 2




How to Set Show Goals


Techniques for Evaluating and Measuring Success


Three Steps to Successful Space Selection


Space Size Calculation


Eight Points to Check Before Signing the Space Contract


Operational Plan


Operational Plan Template

© 2015 Christine Chirstman P. 3



once met a man on an airpane who laughed when I told him I did exhibit staff training.

Trade shows were a joke at his company, he said. They were a lot of fun, but he was sure they never added up to much more. I asked him if they set goals for show participation. If they did, he wasn’t aware of it. Any strategy? No. In fact he said they just stand around in the booth and tell jokes. He echoed a popular myth that goes something like this: “We only attend shows because we would be conspicuous by our absence. We never really get very much out of them. It’s impossible to determine whether shows are doing any good for us at all.” One reason that myth is perpetuated is because many companies neglect to set measurable goals for show participation. However, those companies that do set goals, and measure their performance at shows, also identify and quantify success. Setting goals will give your show program a number of advantages. You will be able to measure that show’s value, compare one show against another more objectively, justify your show participation, and know which shows are dead beats and should no longer be attended.

© 2015 Christine Chirstman P. 4

HOW TO SET GOALS LEARN HOW TO SET REALISTIC, MEASURABLE SHOW GOALS A CRITICAL STEP: QUANTIFYING GOALS Establish one or more goal statements for the show and be sure they can be measured. For example, many companies say they attend shows to keep up their image in the industry. When the show is over, how could they tell whether or not they had succeeded? Companies also say that they attend shows to generate sales leads. But how many leads would it take to make the show worth the investment? The chart on the following page illustrates nine common show goals and ways to quantify the goals to make them measurable.

MAKING GOALS REALISTIC The number of goals you can expect to accomplish at the show is usually determined by the amount of resources available. Begin by brainstorming about what you would like to accomplish, prioritizing your list, and then selecting the goals according to your time, budget, and personnel. For example, if one of your goals is to preview a new product for key customers, you will need personnel and space for those meetings along with the exhibit and staff.

Š 2015 Christine Chirstman P. 5



Generate sales leads

Establish a number of leads that is realistic based on your potentilal audience at the show. Determine how much you will be willing to spend for each lead.

Write orders

Establish a dollar volume expected based on history at the show or purchasing patterns of attendees

Change or enhance image

Define a specific aspect of your image that you want to change (i.e. from poor service to good service, from arrogant t friendly).

Sign new distributors/retailers

Define exactly the number you expect to sign and target specific geographic regions, volumes, or specialties when appropriate

Get press coverage

Target specific magazines and content for the press coverage you would like to receive.

Introduce a new product

Define what you want people to know about hte product.

Gather competitive information

Determine which competitors will be evaluated and what you want to know about each.

Meet existing customers

Why? And Who? Determine in advance who can be met at the show and wht can be accompished that couldn’t be done in the field> (For example you might preview new products).

Support the industry

This indicates a desire to convey support TO someone: the association president? key customers within the industry? Think about what specifically would demonstrate that support and how you can determine whether you accompished it. One way to do this is have a member of your management team present a session on the conference schedule.

Š 2015 Christine Chirstman P. 6

Goal Generate leads

Lead Sales Meeting Process Stations Areas √ √

Write orders

Change Image

Graphics Products

Sign resellers

Press coverage Product intro



√ √

Competitive Info

Meet customers Industry Support

√ √

√ √

This chart illustrates how your goals affect your plans. Each goal that you see will require resources and a strategy to accomplish. If, press coverage is a goal, you will want to consider some promotion to get the press interested, and you will need special personnel in the exhibit to hand press inquiries.

Review the above nine goals along with the considerations to make toward accomplishing each goal. The chart is meant to be adapted to fit your own situation. This chart is designed to get you thinking about the components of the strategy you will use to accomplish those goals.

© 2015 Christine Chirstman P. 7

TECHNIQUES FOR MEASURING SUCCESS A variety of tools have been created by exhibitors to measure their success at accomplishing show goals. Most of these evaluations fall into two categories which can be defined as objective and subjective. Objective forms of evaluation range from simple return on investment measures to sophisticated survey statistics. The simplest measures are the “cost per” measures of performance. For example, cost per lead, cost per sale closed, cost per contact made, cost per column inch of press coverage or other equally creative variations can be calculated from show results. This is less than scientific, but very valuable for comparing show to show.


The success of your program may be measured in direct sales that resulted. But more often, outcomes like leads gathered, and visitors reached are realistic measurements

The most often used figure is cost per lead. Calculate cost per lead by adding your total show costs and dividing by the total number of leads generated at the show. (If my total show budget was $100,000 and we wrote 1,000 leads the cost per lead would be $100.) Depending on how your exhibit personnel expenses are covered, you may or may not want to add them to the total. When using cost per lead figures to compare against others in your industry, or against industry averages, be sure you know whether or not those in the comparison include personnel costs. A bit more sophisticated are the return on investment ratios. To calculate these determine the sales generated from leads gathered at a show and divide this by the total show costs. Calculating return on investment is more complicated because it requires that you have a process in place for tracking trade show leads.

© 2015 Christine Chirstman P. 8

Cost per lead is just one of many measurement tools.

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Set Goals Select Space Sample  

First 8 pages of the eBook for review

Set Goals Select Space Sample  

First 8 pages of the eBook for review