by Eli Logan Longview Texas
Set Goals and Objectives
Your trade show marketing plan needs to list measurable goals and objectives. Depending on your show focus, your plan may not need to contain each of the following areas. Just select the ones that apply to each trade show marketing plan.
Start by explaining what products and services will be showcased or focused on. Have a maximum of three goals in each of the following categories and make sure they are realistic and obtainable. Having too many goals will not only dilute your focus, it virtually guarantees that you will not reach several of them. Keep in mind that post show you will measure your success based on the goals you defined here. Add to these lists based on your company’ specific needs.
Product or Services
If your company has a large number of products and services, you have to select a limited number to focus on. Base your product selection decisions for the show on understanding what attendees are most likely to be attracted to and need for their job functions.
The following is a list of possible goals and objectives. Feel free to modify them or add your own. You may also want to mention in your trade show plan that the goals of this category are based on return on objectives (ROO), the type based on activities accomplished, not based on sales.
- Demonstrate benefits, data, or features
- Promote positive product or service trends
- Cross-promote multiservices or product applications
- Be compared with other vendors or solutions
- Demonstrate improvements in product or service
- Showcase a new product or service
Sales, Marketing, and Market Research
Your goals in this category should go beyond just creating a number of qualified leads, even though this might well be your primary focus. Discuss your objectives with other parts of the company, such as product management or your research and development group, to see if this show can help them with projects they are working on.
- Position the company in the market
- Develop leads for the internal sales team
- Develop leads for partners
- Reach decision makers
- Create customer lists
- Uncover customer attitudes
- Introduce a new approach to the market
- Obtain feedback on a product or service
The networking area is one that will probably have fairly identical goals, at least conceptually, for every show you exhibit at. In most cases, just the numbers and quantities of contacts and activities will change from show to show.
- Meet qualified contacts from the networking plan
- Build business relationships with qualified contacts
In most cases, your public relations focus will be specific to one of the following goals. However, there might be a need to adjust some of these based on the type of publication you are able to meet with.
- Create and project an image
- Highlight new products or services to the media
- Showcase a particular side of the company
End the goals and objectives section of your trade show marketing plan with quantifiable and measurable goals. These will define the key performance indicators to track, allowing you to measure the success of this particular event.
- Reach ___ number of decision makers at the show.
- Create more contacts per salesperson in a short time period; define a goal for the number of meetings held in 30/60/90 days after the show.
- Prearrange ___ number of at-show sales meetings per salesperson.
- Create more sales per salesperson in a short time period; define a goal for the number of sales closed in 30/60/90 days, within 1 year, etc. after the show. (Set realistic goals based on your company’s sales cycle process.)
- Total number of leads collected.
- Total number of qualified leads.
- Purchasing timeframe:
- Within 90 days
- 3 to 6 months
- 7 to 12 months
- Meet with ___ number of media contacts at the show.
- Have ___ number of articles written about the company postshow in targeted publications. (You may choose to have a list of publications.)
- Prearrange ___ number of meetings with media contacts from a predetermined list of industry publications.