Part 1 of 4As conferences and trade shows begin to schedule in-person events take these critical steps to assure the best return on your investment of time and money. Then commit enough resources to assure outstanding results. This is the first article in a series that looks at these important steps. 

Step 1. Choose Which Shows to AttendYour staff and budgets are limited. Here’s how to choose shows that best fit your marketing goals. 

  Attendees: Who is your ideal audience? What shows do they attend? How do they make the decision? Answers to these questions will guide your choice of where and how to exhibit. If you have an expensive, specialized product you may need a small, technical and prestigious show that is focused on your industry. If you are selling a mass-marketed product then a show with massive attendance is a better fit. 
  Reputation: What is the track record for this show? How many years has it been held? What information do they have about attendees? Do your competitors exhibit there regularly? That’s a good indication that it has been worth their investment. 
  Relevance: People attend a conference to get answers. Will your exhibit provide those answers? 
  Cost, Location, Dates: Take these into consideration. Will the venue costs fit your budget? Will the location and date attract your ideal audience? How will the location impact your costs? Will the location and date be a perk that will reward your staff for the extra effort? 
  Create Your Own: Some organizations find that the most effective solution is to hold their own conference. You instantly become the expert and can tailor the conference to target your ideal audience and marketing goals. The next article will look at effective early planning for your exhibition.