Welcome to the New Year! If my phone and email are any indication, most people are hitting the ground running in 2015, working hard to make this year a success. Many are prepping for their earlier spring shows and some have already begun their show schedule. Either way, here are four ways to prepare that help assure success:
How can we know what success is unless we first define it? Set goals for each event and set them for your overall campaign. Secondly, make sure that you have a way to measure these goals. Some of the broad goals I hear are ROI, leads and brand impressions. Track them and compare against projections, past events and different events. Do this with your whole campaign to determine which shows/events are most successful for you and which may not be worth it. If you start this for 2015, then 2016 will be much easier to plan and prepare for.
Regardless of the goal, somewhere within it will require getting certain people to your booth and engaged in your brand. You may be rebranding, launching a new product line or just trying to build your brand. Consider that, and try to come up with a promotion that fits your marketing agenda as well as the goals you have set for the show. Also, be sure to do something that will create excitement with your target attendee.
Whether the marketing team, sales team, others or a combination those staffing your booth are likely not doing it as their main job duty. Be sure to have pre and post show meetings with those who are staffing the booth to reiterate the goals, messages and strategy. Make sure the team is on the same page before the show and take their feedback after it is over.
Properly preparing for a trade show or event seems to involve volumes of legalese and countless decisions. Most of the things you run across will be very similar from show to show, but take the time to review it all so not to be caught off guard. Pay special attention if your show has moved to a different city, this can drastically effect union labor rates, alcohol laws and how booths are constructed. Some other common trip ups are international freight and booth design guidelines (for instance peninsulas have less usable space than the same sized island space).
Another tip would be to not go it alone, and utilize your exhibit house, event organizers and show decorators to assist in making sure you are properly prepared. Best of luck in both preparation and execution this year! I look forward to hearing about your successes.