At the end of each year, we tend to reflect back on the work we’ve completed throughout the last 12 months and determine whether or not that work is deemed successful. While it can be easy to give a general statement of whether or not you feel you’ve performed at a high level over the year, it is not uncommon to realize that we let our goals go by the wayside and started acting without a plan based on our goals – especially when it comes to tradeshow performance.
When I look back and think about the different companies I’ve worked for and reflect on the performance at tradeshows, I realize we often went through the motions without establishing any real goals. Then, when we returned to the office on Monday and had to report on the show… the results were underwhelming. So underwhelming, in fact, that there was often talk about eliminating tradeshows from the marketing strategy all together.
That “solution” would ultimately be a disservice to your B2B operations. (check out this article to learn more about why exhibiting at tradeshows in B2B is still highly viable!)
OK, so why are tradeshows sometimes going wrong when we look back at our goals. There are a handful of reasons, but below are the three main reasons I’ve had personal experience with which created a sense of tradeshow disappointment.
One: the goals are set on only one measurable item (i.e. dollars), vs. a few measures that could exemplify success.
There have been many shows I’ve attended that result in little IMMEDIATE dollar transactions – but that doesn’t mean it was a failure. If the marketing & sales teams had established other goals, we could say it was a success. Other goals cold include:
Ratio of quality conversations over quantity of conversations
Amount of email addresses that were acquired for future email marketing campaigns
Quality of networking opportunities established for the possibility of future partnerships (including business aspects like distribution or new product/service development)
Conversion of leads within 90 days, 6 months, or a year (vs. within a week of the show)
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