September 30, 2015 | Laura Baines
You’ve completed step 1, you have your stand space booked at the go-to event for your industry. Step 2, you create an engaging and exciting exhibition stand and step 3, you have a willing team ready to man it. But do you really know what aim you are at the show to achieve? How successful is your exhibition team going to be at delivering it? The best place to start? ‘Begin with the end in mind’ (Stephen R. Covey)
‘At a minimum, a clear statement of purpose and vision should underpin every event’
(Events Management, 2011, G. Bowdin et. al.)
Know what you are at an event to achieve. It might be as simple as to generate revenue from the show, either during or post-show, or more complex; to increase brand awareness of the benefits of your latest product range amongst your target audience. Whatever the aim is, be clear, concise and communicate to the entire exhibition team.
Once you’ve outlined your event aim, use it to give your exhibition team a purpose. A purpose statement should answer the question; why do we exist as a team? For example, if your event aim is to generate revenue at the show, your team’s purpose is to sell products or services from your stand.
Now you’ve established an event aim, and given your team purpose, it is vital to set goals with which you can measure the success of your team, and therefore whether you achieved your initial aim. These goals should be SMART; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
Multiple goals should be set and agreed with your team to ensure every aspect of your team’s success is measured. Let’s look at this in more detail:
S for Specific. Make sure goals aren’t generalised or overlap with others.
M for Measurable. Quantify each specific goal so you have a metric for measurement. E.g Sell x number of products, or speak to x number of visitors
A for Achievable. Look back at previous events you’ve attended and event statistics to decide a benchmark figure to compare your goals to, then set goals with achievable increases in results.
R for Relevant. Make sure every goal always has the team’s purpose and the event’s aim in mind. For example, measuring how many retweets your exhibition related posts achieve on Twitter is only relevant if you are at a show to increase brand awareness.
T for Time-bound. Every goal set needs a deadline, otherwise how will you know when to measure success. If you want to sell x number of products, do you want your team to achieve this in the first hour of the show, the first day, or across the whole 3 day event?
To help you set your SMART goals, it’s important to consider the following:
Will your goals help you deliver a suitable return on your investment?
Can you meet all your goals within the timeframe of the show?
Do your goals cover the full scope of your event aim?
How will you measure the quality of your team’s work?
Will your goals deliver visitor or customer satisfaction?
Are your team happy with the goals they’ve been set?
Will each goal help personal and professional development of each individual team member?
Once you’ve outlined your event goals in-line with the above factors, you’re ready to measure the success of your team.
It’s important to measure the success of your team during the show and at steady intervals after the show has finished, in order to understand the real long-term benefits of your team’s hard work.
To measure your team’s success, compare the results of each goal with the benchmarks you initially set, and where possible, from previous events you’ve attended. Did you achieve your goals, and within the time frame expected?
Also, don’t forget qualitative feedback. Ask your team directly what they thought worked well at the show and what didn’t, ask visitors at the show whether they were satisfied with their dealings with your stand staff, and consider any feedback received on your social media channels regarding the event.
And lastly, make sure you learn from the results. Pull out all the insights relevant to your initial aim. For example, did you achieve increased revenue? If so, by how much? Make sure the right people see the most relevant results; the managing director will most likely want to see cold hard numbers of ROI and revenue generated, while those on your team may be more interested in comments and feedback from visitors. Finally, at your next event, do more of what you did well and improve on what didn’t work as you’d hoped.
Now, you should be able to answer the question, ‘How successful is your exhibition team?’
For more hints and tips, why not try the exhibiting advice pages on our website.