Use smart goals to increase your return on investment from exhibiting

Discover how you can use smart goals to guarantee results when you exhibit at a local business show, exhibition or tradeshow.

  • Matthew Larcome (B2B Expos UK)
  • Monday 22 June 2015

If you're exhibiting at a business exhibition or tradeshow, one of the ways to guarantee a return on your investment is to set a series of goals and objectives that you'd like to achieve.

Many exhibitors forget to give themselves goals, which means they have nothing to use as a tool to determine if exhibiting was worthwhile. Without setting goals before the event, you will not be able to measure the success of the stand, and figure out properly whether or not you should re-book for the next event.

Sitting down before you exhibit at an exhibition to set your goals is good practice, and we encourage all exhibitors to do it.

Start by deciding on why you have chosen to exhibit in the first place. What was the driving force behind the decision to exhibit? Perhaps you're looking at generating enquiries, raise brand awareness or collect a certain amount of business cards to add to your company database… it doesn't really matter what your own goal is, but make sure you're aware of the reason you booked initially.

Then you need to make your goal smart. You need to make sure your goal is specific, measurable, achievable and realistic, and can be achieved within the amount of time you have.

For example, if your goal is to generate enquiries, to make it specific your goal should read something along the lines of… 'To generate five enquiries for our online cloud service on the day of the exhibition'. This is specific because we've determined how many enquiries we want to generate and what type of enquiry we want.

The next step is to check that the goal can be measured. We know it can be measured easily because at the event you can record who is interested simply by using a notepad and pen. It really is as easy as that. And of course, we can count to make sure the target of five enquiries was achieved.

The final three elements is to ensure your goal is achievable and realistic. If you're exhibiting at one of our events, for instance, and you're exhibiting as part of a small team, you'd easily be able to generate five enquiries if you're working your stand properly! Talk to the organisers of the event you're exhibiting at beforehand to make sure your goal can be achieved.

You also need to make sure that you can achieve your goal in the time frame given. You may wish to change the time element in your goal so that you give yourself enough time. Don't limit your goal to expire on the day of the event though, as most business actually happens after the event has finished.

By setting yourself a goal, you'll be able to see if the event helped you achieve that. If you managed to secure those five enquiries for the online cloud service, for example, you'd recognise that exhibiting worked and you'd be more confident in re-booking for the next events.

Many people don't see a return from their investment in a stand at a business show, simply because they didn't really understand what they were working towards. With a clear and smart goal, you can make sure everything you do at the event is working towards achieving your goals and objectives.

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