Measuring your exhibition success

Attending exhibitions can be an expensive and labour intensive business. So PIF has compiled some failsafe measurement tactics to maximise success if you're investing in your own company stand this year.

“Every exhibition is different for every exhibitor” that's according to the UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry. In their report, 'How to Measure Exhibition Success,' they say, “The three most important elements of any exhibition measurement system are goals, goals and goals.

“No single measurement tool will work for everyone ‘off-the-shelf’. Instead, each company needs to develop a simple measurement methodology that’s appropriate to its needs and goals.”

In other words, nail down want you'd like to achieve and stay on task.

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Identify your goals

It sounds remarkably obvious but to understand whether your exhibition spend has been worth it, you need to outline a clear set of goals to benchmark what success will look like to you and your company.

“You might want to use an exhibition to achieve any or all of these goals. But first you need to identify them, make them explicit, and decide how you’re going to measure your success at achieving each one,“ say the UFI.

Make your goals quantifiable

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Exhibition planning is no different to any other form of project management in that quantifiable targets elicit the most effective results. According to the UFI, “Even when it comes to more ‘fuzzy’, qualitative goals, it’s usually possible to find a way to measure success and build that metric into the goal itself.”

For example, instead of striving to 'secure more sales' you should aim for something more tangible like 'meet and exchange business cards with three key byers per day of the exhibition.' Using this measured approach it's far easier to ascertain success and really focusses your time and energy on clear-cut objectives.

Make a comprehensive list of goals

The more focussed your goals become, the more you can set out to achieve. Faced with a list of prioritised and realistic targets you'll be amazed at how effective you can become.

The UFI says, “Don’t just stop at a sales-lead target. Try to capture all of the value you can get from your exhibition activities by listing (and pursuing) as many goals as apply. That’s how you maximise your return on investment - and that’s how you give each exhibition the credit it’s due when it comes time to evaluate and set budgets.”

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Take action after the event

After the event it's important to gauge your short-term gains with an instant debrief (while it's all still fresh in your minds) and draft a top-line report to summarise your results to be shared with the rest of your team.

Remember though that the majority of your success will happen post event. If you've executed your goals effectively, in the coming weeks and months those new contacts and potential buyers should start beating a path to your door. Keep track of them all and cross-reference any new profits against your exhibition spend for a clearer picture of ROI.

The UFI conclude, “Summarise the results achieved against each goal you set. Share the report with key managers from sales, marketing and top management. By the time the next year’s show comes up, you should all have a pretty complete idea of the value of your participation.”

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