Before deciding which event to attend, you need to be clear on why you're attending, what you hope to achieve and how you will know if you have succeeded. Here's our guide to setting objectives when you visit a trade show, exhibition or business event
Many people attend business shows with good intentions, aiming to meet people, do business and generate sales. But often their objectives are too vague, and either non-measurable or unrealistic.
By setting clear objectives, you can maximise your return from the trade shows you attend.
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Types of business exhibition objectives
Broadly, objectives can include the following - you may also have your own bespoke objectives.
Sales objectives may include:
- making new direct sales;
- generating qualified leads;
- building your contact list;
- registering interest in new/future products.
You may want to improve customer relationships by:
- securing repeat business;
- upselling for increased or additional business;
- securing customer agreement to act as references;
- winning back lapsed clients.
Exhibitions and events can help you:
- improve brand awareness;
- change your brand positioning;
- demonstrate your product;
- expand to new markets;
- reach new investors.
If you're launching a new product, look at:
- raising awareness and interest;
- demonstrating prototypes;
- gaining customer opinions and feedback.
Market research activities you can carry out at a business show include:
- carrying out surveys;
- assessing the competition
- setting sales targets and budgets;
- campaign testing.
Business events may provide opportunities for:
- reaching new partners;
- meeting dealers, distributors or agents;
- shoring up support for current agreements/channels.
Depending on the event, you might want to:
- gain coverage;
- raise your media profile
- make new media contacts;
- reinforce existing journalist relations.
Making business event objectives work for you
Once you've set a few objectives for your exhibition or event, it is important to be specific with them. For example, if your aim is to generate sales, you can ask questions like:
- Are we targeting new or existing accounts?
- How many sales are we aiming to make?
- How does the event audience match our target market?
- Are we looking for sales conversions or enquiries at the event?
- What are our timescales?
Setting SMART objectives - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely - will help you identify which events are most likely to help you achieve your aims.