So you’re committed to investing in your trade show strategy, doubling down on this area, and eager to drive big results. But how do you ensure you get real ROI on your efforts and the outcomes you’re hoping to achieve? The best trade show advice is to find an exhibit company that can act as your partner and your guide. Here are some questions to ask top exhibition companies so you can narrow down your search and end up with the right firm lighting your way. 

Does The Creative Company Match Your Persona? 

This first question is one you’ll need to figure out for yourself. Savvy marketers today understand the need to have their buyer personas defined, so they know who they’re trying to reach and with what message(s). Based on this, consider whether the folks in each exhibit house you interview align with your persona. They almost certainly won’t match the industry of your target audience, since they’re in the creative field, but what about other criteria? 

Do they fall into the same age and income range? Psychographic characteristics (e.g. personality, values, etc.)? Do they have similar roles and goals? Your lead creative team doesn’t have to be made of identical carbon copies of your buyer personas, but there should absolutely be some overlap and commonalities. If so, they’ll know better than anyone how to speak to – and influence – these key groups. 

What Are Their KPIs? 

During your interview with a trade show firm, ask what key performance indicators (KPIs) they use to measure success. If they’re at all wishy-washy about this or beat around the bush, run. Any creative agency worth its salt will know exactly what KPIs matter in the trade show world, along with how to set benchmarks and take measurements regularly to ensure you’re on the right path. 

Do They Have The Ability Over Time To Hit Your Targets? 

You might have enormous trade show goals – in which case, awesome. As such, you must make sure the firms you’re considering are not only able to execute your vision in the short-term, but are also able to hit your targets in the long-term. For example, are you looking to double your net new customers in a given year, and triple your revenue in the same time frame? Ask them directly if they can get you there. If they say yes, ask how. And then ask for examples of how they’ve done it before with other customers. If they’re able to truly take you to the next level, it should be no problem for a trade show company to answer these questions. 

It’s also important to note, though, that sometimes your internally-defined targets might either be too conservative or too ambitious. A great creative partner will be able to gauge where you fall on the spectrum, based on their experience, and set you straight. They might tell you you’re aiming too low and then help set the bar higher. 

Or, they may be honest and say your goals are way too pie-in-the-sky and then help you adjust them. As long as they can clearly communicate why they feel the way they do, and then work with you to develop aggressive-yet-attainable targets, they likely have your best interests in mind. 

Will They Elevate Your Branding & Get You More Sales?

Finally, how will a firm kick your brand reputation up several notches and play a role in getting you what every business wants – more sales? If they haven’t provided this insight already during your conversations, ask them for it. Do they have ample internal resources to get your booth ready on time and to your specifications, and to invest in your branding? Request case studies to find out exactly how they’ve been able to help businesses similar to your own. 

Also invite them to share how they approach setting an overarching strategy, as well as how they layer on tactics, to help you reach your sales goals. The more specificity, the better. 

If you’re looking for an experienced trade show company partner, we’d love to toss our hat in the ring. Just give us a call to schedule a meeting and learn more about how we can blow your trade show strategy – and outcomes – out of the water.