Here at Ion Exhibits, we are enjoying the holiday season while preparing for our clients’ early events in 2018 such as IBS/KBIS, Outdoor Retailer, CES, NRF, SHOT, DistribuTech and NAMM. Looking forward to these big shows in January has inspired me to share some New Year’s Resolutions for event marketers to apply to their trade shows:
Resolution #1: Maximize performance of your event program. A new show cycle is the perfect time to look at all the events for the year and determine if they are performing to expectations. Taking the opportunity to conduct some event portfolio planning can help to determine if you are participating in the right shows with the right level of investment, based on your organization’s annual business goals. Shows change over time, and companies introduce new products, so there may be an opportunity to participate in different events for new markets or try alternate events to reach shifting audiences.
Resolution #2: Understand the business impact of your event program. In order to maximize the performance of your event program, however, first you need to understand its impact on your organization’s objectives. Even for companies who have long sales cycles or who own their markets, their event programs have an impact on the pipeline, CRM activities, brand awareness and perception. These elements can be measured and the results analyzed to determine the event’s success and alignment to company goals. Then the program can be adjusted for better performance, or for a high-performing program, to request additional budget.
Resolution #3: Take a programmatic approach to your trade show schedule. Many companies think of each event as an individual occasion, especially if the events are run by different product or marketing teams, or by different business units. However, for organizations where company branding (not product) is the primary mark upon the trade show graphics, it can be beneficial to coordinate efforts into a programmatic approach. Aside from potential cost savings on the structures, AV equipment, and flooring, implementing a program structure ensures consistent branding across markets and divisions and an opportunity to measure the company’s event performance utilizing the same metrics against the same overall business goals. This method also makes it easy to look across the event landscape and compare results to help drive portfolio planning (mentioned earlier).
With these in mind, we look forward to a year of smarter, more effective, more strategic exhibiting. And to all our clients, suppliers, partners and friends, may 2018 bring increased success and satisfaction!