OK - right up front you got me. We need to set GOALS for EVERY marcom activity. Trade shows, exhibitions, and conferences are nothing special in this regard.
And, when it comes to goal setting, I say it isn't a GOAL if it isn't put down in writing. There's something very powerful about the very act of touching that pen to the paper, of hitting the key, and seeing your thoughts on display. When we put our GOAL in writing we are exposed for being disorganized, scattered, incoherent, or (hopefully) logical, focused, thorough, inspired, and aligned with the team.
I just returned from SMTAI, one of the most important exhibitions and technical conferences that Indium Corporation participates in in North America. Many GOALS were targeted prior to the show, and we enjoyed many successes at this event. Still, we had the occasional failure. Here is why:
TOO BUSY: There are several really good tactics that we typically employ at exhibitions. I noticed that, a couple of times, we failed to implement them. When I explored, I learned that we were "too busy". Remember, we develop and implement "really good things" because they're really good. We need to be doing them. Allowing ourselves to get "too busy" is such a bush league and lame excuse.
FORGOT: "Oh yeah! Whoops!" Well, there is more than ONE reason to put goals and plans in writing. Often, we need to be reminded. It is NOT a sign of weakness to capture all of these goals and plans in writing. Quite the opposite. If you are like the Indium Corporation team, you are striving to perform well above average. You can't do that by winging things. Lists are really valuable tools.
I am glad to report that we did MANY things quite well, and enjoyed a valuable event (in other words, we made a great investment of our resources). But, to continue capturing value, we always hold a critical review of such events to help us continuously improve.
This has reminded me (again) to ALWAYS set GOALS.