Your trade show work isn't over when the expo doors have closed. A team retrospective will ensure you get the most out of your trade show experience, as well as set you up for future success.
This activity will help you analyze your results, get feedback from your team, pinpoint potential problem areas, and improve future exhibition strategies.
It's important to cover the strengths and weaknesses in all areas of the show – from the initial strategy and design phase, all the way down to your on-site demos and the final tear-down of your booth.
Don't wait long after the show has ended. Grab your team for a retrospective meeting and access these eight all-important areas:
1. The Show
You should always evaluate the trade show itself — not just your performance there. If the show is not on par with your goals and expectations, look into better-fitting expo options next time around.
- What was your overall impression?
- Was it a good opportunity for your brand and exhibition goals?
- What would prevent you from exhibiting at this show again?
Take note of what your competitors did at the event and then discuss this at your retrospective.
- What were their key messages/themes?
- What attention-getting activities did they use?
- How did they differentiate themselves from your brand?
This isn't to copy what the competition is doing, but by reflecting on what they did well will help your brand stay competitive and could spark ideas for future shows.
3. Expenses & ROI
This is a big one. Start by referring to your budget and goals that were set for the show. Then take a look at your total expenses, including the exhibition fees, transportation, logistics, display design, staffing costs, and everything in between.
- What were your total expenses?
- Were there any unexpected expenses?
- Did you hit your target metrics and goals?
- What was your overall ROI?
If you hit your goals, think about what can be done to achieve even greater success at the next show. If you didn’t, take the time to determine what can be done to prevent similar shortcomings in the future.
4. Team & Resources
Ask your team for full transparency.
- Did your team have the training and skills to accomplish the show goals?
- Did your team have the physical resources and tools to impress visitors?
- What staffing improvements could be made for future shows?
It's important to take this feedback into account when allocating your next trade show budget.
5. Lead Generation & Attendees
In addition to the quantity, access the quality of the leads you generated. You should also reflect on feedback collected from show attendees throughout the event.
- How did the quality of visitors rate in relation to our needs?
- What type of verbal feedback did you receive about your products, services, or booth?
- Did show attendees ask any questions that were unexpected?
Customer feedback is valuable insight and should be used to shape your future sales and marketing efforts.
Think about your marketing initiatives that took place before the show, as well as during the actual event (such as live streaming for social media, product sampling, or demos.)
- What did you do well in regards to marketing?
- Which of our products or services attracted the most attention or engagement?
- How effective were our demonstrations/presentations?
7. Booth Location & Design
The location of your booth often plays an important factor in your overall success. It can influence the amount of organic traffic to your exhibit, as well as your booth's overall visibility. Now is the time to also reflect on the design and layout, especially if there were any elements that should be improved upon for future shows.
- How effective was our booth's location?
- How effective was our booth's layout?
- How effective was the traffic flow through our exhibit?
It's a good idea to share this information with your exhibit house as well. Our team will always welcome feedback of any kind!
8. Final Thoughts
Wrap up your retrospective discussion with everyone's overall thoughts.
- In what area were we the strongest?
- What was our largest challenge at the show?
- What happened that we did not expect and/or where could we have been better unprepared?
- Any final thoughts or ideas?
In addition to your team's retrospective, consider surveying the leads you generated, as well as any existing customers who attended the show. Ask what they liked about your booth and activities, what they think you can improve on, and what their overall impression was of your brand.