Let’s be honest, trade shows require a ton of up-front cash. And more than that, they eat up just as much time with planning, paperwork, logistics, creative, and so much more.
But here’s the thing: they can generate a ton of business. Which makes the investment of blood, sweat, and tears absolutely worth it.
To justify this expense, the question you have to ask yourself from the very beginning is: how can I get the most out of my trade show experience?
Here are four questions you can ask to help you measure your trade show success and determine where you can make improvements in the future.
1) What’s the end goal?
Having an end goal feels like a no-brainer. But the reality is . . . most organizations don’t adequately drill down into specifics when they think about goals.
On the surface, it may seem that an ideal goal is something like collecting as many business cards as possible. After all, it’s a numbers game, right? Yet, in today’s highly connected society, collecting business cards is often a huge waste of time.
Start with something specific. Let’s say, for example, you need to generate 100 high-quality leads from the trade show floor. Then, work backwards to identify the steps you need to take to accomplish your goal.
Using this example, if your goal is to generate 100 high-quality leads, you’ll need to define exactly what a high-quality lead looks like for you. Whether they’re sales-qualified leads (SQLs) who are ready to buy within the next couple of weeks or months, or marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) who you can nurture for a while, defining your goal keeps everyone aligned and focused on achieving results.
You’ll need some key indicators to help you here: budget, company size, location, etc. All of these will help you better define a quality lead from everyone else.
When you have an idea about what a high-quality lead looks like, you can project the number of contacts you’ll need to come through your booth to reach your goal of 100. Historical data can be a lifesaver in helping you figure this out.
2) What’s the brand archetype?
Chances are, your brand — its essence, story, and promise — is amazing. But how do your customers feel about it? What do they think?
This matters. Because how your customers and prospects perceive your brand determines whether they will do — or keep doing — business with you. And you want to align the perceptions of your customers and potential customers with your intended brand archetype.
Finding the weak points in alignment between how you’d like to portray your brand and how customers actually perceive it is essential to creating an experience that reinforces your message and desired image throughout the trade show experience.
On the trade show floor, this includes your brand mark, the color palettes and graphics you choose, the layout of your booth, and even the people you choose to represent you on the floor. However, it doesn’t just end there.
Your brand archetype extends beyond the show floor into every aspect of the experience for both your customers and your employees. This includes everything from which hotel you stay at and where you take your favorite customers out to dinner to post-show entertainment.
Does just thinking about all the aspects of planning an on-brand trade show in Las Vegas make you feel a bit overwhelmed? We’ve got your back. Download our new resource: The Ultimate Guide To Planning A Branded Las Vegas Trade Show Experience.
3) Are there goal opportunities beyond revenue?
It’s easy to get caught up with dollar signs in your eyes when you think about goals. But a return on investment (ROI) isn’t just limited to your bottom line. At Steelhead, everything we do is about Exhibiting Happy. This is because we believe joy and happiness contribute to significant ROI.
As you plan your upcoming trade show, ask yourself: what are some other key indicators we should be looking at?
Email sign-ups are one. Social media engagement is a big one. Even someone just asking for follow-up information is something to consider.
All of these are connections that have the potential to build towards a final sale. It’s like a cycle. When they increase, so does your bottom line.
4) Where is everything stored?
When you keep all your goals and tracking in one place, it’s so much easier to determine which of your efforts are successful and where you might need to make some adjustments.
It also just keeps your team all on the same page about what’s important and what you’re trying to accomplish through building a trade show experience.
Read about more success strategies you can use in your next trade show campaign by downloading our resource: 7 Keys To An Irresistible Trade Show Campaign.