How to Create Trade Show Goals That Guide Strategy & Execution

Posted by Tom Hand on Jun 23, 2016 7:30:00 AM in Trade Show Marketing

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Disappointing trade show results are most often rooted in the lack of strategic pre-show planning, goal setting and/or effective post-show follow up. Meaningful and measurable goals are the most important step for improving your trade show results and your goals should guide your decisions at every step.

Trade Show Goal Ideas

  • Capture new prospective customer leads
  • Introduce new products and services to existing customers
  • Close or move existing sales opportunities forward
  • Meet new potential strategic partners
  • Advance relationships with existing strategic partners
  • Commission a research survey
  • Increase your email contact list
  • Gauge market interest for your products or services in a new market

There are some exciting things on this list. Wouldn't it be great to accomplish all of them at your next trade show?

Typically, achieving two to three goals per show is realistic. More than that will dilute your efforts and lead to frustrating results. Success outside of your formal goals is great and will likely happen, but purposefully aiming for more than two or three goals is not suggested.

Your established goals will guide how you approach your efforts before, during and after the show. For example, if your goals are to capture new prospective customer leads, commission a research study and increase your email contact list, your reach before the show needs to be broader. You'll want bold and eye-catching booth graphics. You may need more booth personnel to talk to higher volumes of booth traffic. You'll also want swag to give out at the show. Your follow up will likely need to be in multiple stages to assess the true opportunity within the large number of leads you captured.

On the other hand, if introducing new products and services to existing customers or advancing relationships with strategic partners are your goals, you will want to consider a more intimate booth set up conducive to in-depth conversations. Your booth graphics will speak to people who have some familiarity with your solutions, meeting tables and chairs are likely a good idea and extra thick carpet padding encourages longer booth conversations. Your post-show follow up will be specific and customized depending on the outcome of each conversation.

Setting and Reaching Goals at Your Next Trade Show

To spark some planning ideas, we created the following chart demonstrating how to align goals, goal metrics and planning activities.

Goal Goal Metric Pre-Show At-Show Post-Show
New prospective customer leads

200 leads/booth scans

Emails to your CRM and trade show attendee list from show organizer

Promote swag

Social media campaign

Bold, interesting booth graphics

High-impact swag

Plenty of booth personnel

In-booth presentation or other activity

Social media campaign

Multi-stage follow up

Social media campaign

Meet new potential strategic partners

15 new potential partners

Emails to your CRM and trade show attendee list from show organizer

Social media campaign

Bold, interesting booth graphics

High-impact swag

In-booth presentation or other activity

Social media campaign

Host a cocktail party

Specific and tailored follow up for each potential partner

Social media campaign

Commission a research survey

150 survey completes

Emails to your CRM and trade show attendee list from show organizer

Promote the high-end swag survey that respondents will get

Social media campaign

Bold, interesting booth graphics

High-impact swag

Plenty of booth personnel

In-booth presentation or other activity

Social media campaign

Share the survey results with participants to thank them for participating

Multi-stage follow up

Increase your email contact list

300 new emails

Promote shareable content via your social media channels before show

Create a "spread the word campaign" that rewards attendees for bringing new contacts to your booth

Bold, interesting booth graphics

High-impact swag

Plenty of booth personnel

In-booth presentation or other activity

Social media campaign

Multi-stage follow up to assess true opportunities

Social media campaign

Gauge market interest/get feedback for your products or services for a new market

50 conversations

Emails to trade show attendee list from show organizer promoting your in-booth presentation/activities

Teaser messaging within email campaign

Promote high-impact swag

Social media inviting people to weigh in on the exciting new technology

Bold, interesting booth graphics

High-impact swag

Padded carpeting to encourage longer conversations

Keep contacts up to date on the progress of your technology in the market

Multi-stage follow up

Social media campaign

Close or move existing sales opportunities forward

Move 10 existing opportunities forward

Personal emails from sales team prior to the show to set up meetings

Specific value messaging within your booth graphics

High-impact swag

Meeting tables and chairs

Padded carpet

Cocktail party or dinner

Personal follow up from appropriate members of the sales team

Advance relationships with existing strategic partners

Advance 10 existing relationships

Personal emails from management team prior to the show to set meetings

Specific value messaging within your booth graphics

Meeting tables and chairs

Padded carpet

Cocktail party or dinner

Personal follow up from appropriate members of the management team

Introduce new products and services to existing customers

30 meetings with existing customers

Emails to CRM and trade show list prior to the show to set meetings

"Product unveil" teaser social media campaign

Promote high-impact swag

Booth graphics that focus on new product

In-booth presentations that demo new product

High-impact swag

Meeting tables and chairs

Padded carpet

Cocktail party or dinner

Personal follow up from appropriate members of the sales team

Do you have a trade show goal-setting solution? Struggling to define your trade show goals? Start a conversation in the Comments below. If you need specific help, our experts are on hand to help. Contact us at 888-777-0223 or visit our website: www.aceexhibits.com

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