So, how can you know whether a trade (or consumer, etc.) show is a good investment? How can you make the most of the investment once you’ve committed to exhibit?  We’ll be posting a series of 6 tips that will help you navigate the murky waters of decision-making as relates to exhibiting. Here’s tip #1:

Tip 1. Set your Goals

These are the main questions you ask and answer before you decide to participate in a particular show:

1. What is it you hope to accomplish?
What is the reason for your attendance at this (or any) show?  Do you want to launch a new service? Sell a product? Get your corporate name recognized? Build your database? Increase your prospect database? Define your main goal? Take time to consider and determine the one main goal of your attendance.

Caution: more than 3 goals dilutes focus – and ultimately success – at any event.  Keep it simple!

2. Who is it you are interested in reaching?
Define your demographic clearly.  The more succinctly your market is defined or profiled, the more targeted and effective your message will be.

Generally, for consumers, statistics of location of residence, age, gender, income bracket, etc., are basic starters on profile. For more depth, add lifestyle categories that will help you be more particular targeting (e.g. if you sell auto insurance, your profile might include categories about owning a vehicle, including type of vehicle, number of vehicles in the family, etc.). Other lifestyle categories could include recreational activities and hobbies; children and age ranges of same; vacationing habits; and any descriptors that are relevant to your service or product, or to your ideal client.  For business, industry segment, level of management, size of business by revenue or by number of employees are some of the profile foundation categories.

Ultimately, the depth of the profile is built in on understanding the challenges your prospect faces that your product/service will help overcome. Take the time to develop this profile. It is a critical piece of your success.

3. Where is your audience?
Define the geographic territory. Does the show reach the prospects close to home? Is it easily accessible?

4. When do you expect your message to be delivered?
Define your timeline (eg. 1 year, next week? )

5. Why do you believe a show is the best way to do this?
Clearly define your expectations of a show.

The answers to these questions will help determine the event in which you invest.