Setting objectives for exhibitions and measuring your success


Exhibition attendance is a great way to raise brand awareness and draw new business but to justify your expenditure it is crucial that you define goals for the show, so you can then measure your success against them.

Ensure that your goals are “SMART”:

  • Specific – target a particular area for improvement
  • Measurable – quantify how you will evaluate your progress
  • Assignable – who will do it
  • Realistic – what can realistically be achieved, given available resources
  • Time-bound – when the result can be achieved

Until your objectives are quantifiable, you will not be able to measure your success. For example, instead of having a target to “attract new leads”, you should aim for something well defined, such as: “make twenty quality leads per day”.

By setting specific goals and measuring their successes, you can then compare the results of different exhibitions or events against each other. This can allow you to make well-informed decisions about future exhibition attendance. It also enables you to make comparisons with other methods of marketing the business.

There are four main reasons for measuring the results of exhibition attendance:

  • To justify your investment – Every item in your marketing budget needs to show a return on investment and exhibition attendance is no exception.
  • To select the best events for you – Not all events are alike.
  • To improve your marketing activities – What you do before, during and after each event can matter as much as which exhibitions you are attending. Measuring allows you to improve your team’s strategies and performance.
  • To maintain focus of your goals – What gets measured gets done. If you want your team to focus on something in particular, tell them you are measuring results and they will do it.

Here are some examples of where to get started with analysing the success of your exhibition:

  • Return on objectives – What were you targeting and what progress did you make towards your goals?
  • Exhibition budget vs actual spend.
  • Post-show sales – How many orders did you receive? What was the sterling amount of orders?
  • Quantity and quality of leads – How many leads did you capture? Rate them from A-B. What is the estimated sales potential of the leads?
  • Cost per lead – Divide the total number of captured leads by the total show spend.

Of course, these activities are certainly not all that could and should be measured. You may wish to also document outcomes such as how many articles were written about you in industry magazines as a result of exhibiting at the show. But these are a good starting point and you should always record your post-show results so you have material to refer back to.


By following the advice in this article, you should get a good idea of how well you’re doing in the exhibition game.

Global Displays Ltd are exhibition experts, having been at the forefront of exhibition stand design and construction for over thirty years. We develop enduring relationships with our clients by providing them with excellent customer service and creating value for them every time.

To find out how we can help you, give us a call on +44 (0)1905 797978 or email [email protected]