Monday, January 9, 2012

Does Your Company Exhibit By Hope or By Objectives?

There are basically two ways to exhibit: Exhibit by Objectives or Exhibit by Hope. Renting floor space, sending your booth, equipment, products, literature and staff and hoping things work out is Exhibiting by Hope. This is one of the primary reasons many companies don't reap maximum benefits from trade shows.

Exhibiting by Objectives is the process of identifying your best reasons for exhibiting, converting those reasons to goals, developing plans for execution and measuring results. To begin the Exhibiting by Objectives process, you should start at least six months before show time by asking yourself and other key people "Why are we exhibiting?"

Here is the list of top reasons why companies exhibit. Review this list carefully and select the top three or five reasons your company exhibits at trade shows:
  • Capture leads
  • Introduce new products
  • Create visibility
  • Branding
  • Meet with key customers
  • Generate public relations/press coverage
  • Test market an idea
  • Gain distribution
  • Gain access to "No See" buyers
  • Write orders
  • Demonstrate product capabilities
  • Maintain visibility
  • Image
  • Competitive research
  • Customer/industry research
  • Get customer feedback
  • Meet with distributors/partners
Identifying your reasons is a good start, but to provide the necessary focus, your reasons need to be converted to goals (i.e. specific, measurable, achievable, realistic). Objectives take effort, but the rewards are well worth it. It's the difference between "making expensive appearances" and "making profits."

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To share common sense lessons learned with 40-plus years experience in marketing, sales and as a B2B publisher.